Liverpool face the tricky task of overcoming Porto in the last 16 of the Champions League, starting with Wednesday night’s first leg in Portugal.
The side haven’t been past this stage since the 08-09 season when they reached the quarter-finals of the competition before losing 7-5 on aggregate to Chelsea over two epic legs.
But the Merseyside club topped Group E with an unbeaten record and are the second top scorers in the Champions League this campaign, behind PSG.
Liverpool’s opponents came second in Group F, behind surprise package Besiktas, and are unbeaten in 21 Portuguese Primeira Liga games so far this season.
They also boast a good home record against English opposition having only lost three of 16 – although those three defeats did come in their last four clashes.
What time does it start?
Porto vs Liverpool kicks off at 7.45pm on Wednesday night at the Estádio do Dragão.
Where can I watch it?
The match will be shown live on BT Sport 2 from 7pm. Highlights will be shown at 10.45pm on ITV 1, Wednesday night.
It’s a big game for…
Virgil Van Dijk. The £75m centre back was meant to be the final piece of the puzzle for Liverpool in their pursuit of defensive solidarity but it hasn’t quite proved that way just yet.
But, the Dutchman performed amicably at the weekend, despite the torrent of abuse thrown his way upon his return to St Mary’s as Liverpool cruised to a 2-0 victory at Southampton
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- 4van Dijk
Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino wants to make Porto “suffer” in their Champions League last-16 first-leg tie.
Wednesday’s game at the Estadio do Dragao will be Liverpool’s first match in the knockout stages of the competition since 2008-09.
They topped their group scoring 23 goals, a record for an English club and a total surpassed only by Paris St-Germain’s tally of 25.
Reds goalkeeper Loris Karius will keep his place ahead of Simon Mignolet,
“I don’t know if Porto are going to be afraid but we are going to make their life difficult and make them suffer,” said Firmino, who has scored 20 goals in all competitions, including six in the Champions League.
Midfielder Emre Can is suspended for the tie, defender Joe Gomez has travelled with the squad after missing the last two matches with a knee injury while £75m record-signing Virgil van Dijk is set for his first appearance in the competition for the club.
Klopp insists his side can compete with the continent’s elite, having beaten “Europe’s strongest football team” Manchester City 4-3 in the Premier League in January.
“I know it already, we can compete with them, I don’t have to look at them, “Klopp added.
“Now we have to show that we are not only part of the competition, we are quite ambitious. That is how it is and we have to take it seriously.”
- Liverpool are unbeaten against Porto, having played them four times in all competitions (Won two, drawn two). Their two encounters in Portugal both ended in draws.
- Their only previous encounter in the knockout stages of a European competition was in 2000-01 in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals. Liverpool won 2-0 on aggregate and went on to lift the trophy later that season.
- Porto have lost their last three Champions League knockout games.
- Porto have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2009/10. They haven’t progressed past the quarter-finals since they lifted the trophy in 2004.
- Liverpool were one of four teams to remain unbeaten in this season’s Champions League group stages, alongside Barcelona, Besiktas and Tottenham.
- Porto scored more goals from set-piece (eight) than any other team in this season’s Champions League group stages.
- Only PSG’s Parc des Princes stadium (16) produced more goals than Porto’s Dragao (15) in this season’s Champions League group stages.
- Porto’s Vincent Aboubakar has scored five goals and delivered two assists in this season’s Champions League – the most prolific campaign of his career.
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