Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 8/13
Having not reached the last eight since 2009, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side will be looking to gain a vital advantage as they travel to the Estádio do Dragão to meet Porto in the first leg of their round of 16 Champions League playoff.
For the hosts on Wednesday night, Sergio Conceicao’s Porto side will be looking maintain their fine recent run of form. Currently sat top of the Primeira Liga table, Porto hold a two-point buffer over second place Benfica and are a side who have now only lost one of their last 24 matchups, winning 19 of those games along the way. Coming off the back of a 4-0 win last weekend, the Dragons will be looking to drag their recent domestic form into Wednesday night. Although Porto may have stumbled at the start of the Champions League group campaign, the Portuguese league leaders bounced back from a home defeat to Besiktas to win three out of their final four European matches. finishing as the top scorers in Group G, Porto’s late push secured them second spot.
Porto look likely to be without leading marksman Vincent Aboubakar who has been struggling with injury and missed Sunday’s game. Danilo Pereira, Ivan Marcano and Andre Andre are all injured as well, whilst Felipe will miss the game after his red card in the final group stage game against Monaco.
As for Liverpool, the Reds have bounced immediately back after suffering a shock 3-2 home defeat to West Brom in their FA Cup third-round matchup. Currently unbeaten in their last three matches, Jurgen Klopp’s side will be traveling to Portugal coming off the back of a draw against Tottenham and last weekend’s 2-0 win over Southampton. As for their Champions League form, after scoring 23 goals in six games Liverpool finished top of Group E without losing a single match during qualifying. Although they may have topped the group by three points, the Reds only managed to pick up one European away win and also suffered two second-half collapses against Sevilla, Klopp will be desperate to improve on his sides recent defensive issues as they level of opposition begins to improve.
Emre Can will miss the game due to suspension as well, and Klopp will be without Joe Gomez, Ragnar Klavan and Nathaniel Clyne through injury.
Key Factors to Consider
- Liverpool did not lose a single matchup in their Group E qualifying matches (W3, D3)
- Porto have now won their last eight home matches and are unbeaten in their last 15 (W13, D2).
- Roberto Firmino is the Champions League second highest scorer with six goals in six appearances.
- The Reds have not made the last eight of the Champions League since 2009.
- FC Porto have failed to find the back of the net in just two of their competitive home games this season.
While Liverpool have shown they are devastatingly ruthless in the final third, the Reds have suffered defensive issues in both their domestic and European campaigns. Averaging four goals per game in their six qualifying matches, Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino is the second top scorer in the competition this year. However, a Liverpool defense that have thrown two commanding half-time leads should be wary of their opponents on Wednesday night. Porto have now won their last eight consecutive home appearance.
Verdict: Both teams to score
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