Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Prediction: Porto vs Liverpool

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 3/4

Bookmaker: Bet365

Although Liverpool’s focus will return to the European matters this week, Jurgen Klopp’s side would be excused for having one-eye on the weekend’s Premier League trip to Cardiff City.

Porto

Starting with the hosts, while Porto may have suffered a 2-0 loss at Anfield last week, the Portuguese giants did hold their own for large spells and the mood in their camp should be on a high. Putting three past Portimonense last weekend and with only their goal difference seeing Benfica stand between Sérgio Conceição’s sides 29th Primeira crown, the Blue and Whites will also be boosted by their recent record at the Estádio Do Dragão, particularly in Europe. Booking their spot in the quarter-finals with a 3-1 win over Italian outfit Roma last month, they are the only remaining side in the Champions League to have won 100% of their home games in the competition this season. Sadly for Porto, Wednesday’s hosts do have some unpleasant memories when hosting Liverpool on home soil. When the two sides met in the last 16 last season, Conceição’s side’s side slumped to a very disappointing 5-0 defeat. If Azuis e brancos are to overcome the deficit then they will be looking for forward Moussa Marega to carry on his bright record in the tournament. The 28-year-old has scored in all four of FC Porto’s home Champions League matches this season.

Team News

Porto will be boosted by the return of two players from suspension, with defender Pepe and midfielder Hector Herrera available again after sitting out at Anfield.

Liverpool

As for the visitors, coming off the back of a 2-0 win over Chelsea last weekend and reclaiming their spot at the top of the Premier League, the mood in Jurgen Klopp’s camp will also be on a high. Now winning their last seven matches across all competitions and many on Merseyside dreaming of a historic double-winning season, the former Borussia Dortmund coach will be most impressed by the performances of his side in the final third. Scoring two or more goals in each of their seven victories, one man to watch on Wednesday could be the red-hot, Sadio Mane. Finding the net against Chelsea on Sunday, the Senegal international has nine in his last 10 and also grabbed a brace in the Reds’ 3-1 win away at Bayern Munich last month. Despite picking up a famous victory at the Allianz last month, Klopp’s side have famously struggled on their Champions League outings away from Anfield. Despite reaching the final of last year’s tournament, Liverpool have lost five of their last six European matches on the road and have not recorded an away clean sheet since March 2018.

Team News

Defender Dejan Lovren and midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were both left out of Liverpool’s squad to face Porto after missing training on Tuesday.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is closing in on a return to senior football after a year out with a knee injury.

Meanwhile, Jordan Henderson has traveled after being forced off in the win over Chelsea with an ankle problem.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Liverpool have never lost a European match against Porto in seven previous encounters (W4 D3 L0), keeping three successive clean sheets against them.
  • Porto suffered their heaviest home defeat in European competition against Liverpool in last season’s Champions League, with the Reds winning 5-0 in a last 16 tie.
  • Since the start of last season, Liverpool have won three of their four away Champions League knockout games, only losing to Roma in last season’s semi-final (4-2).
  • Since the start of the 2017-18 tournament, Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino has both scored and assisted in five different Champions League matches, more than any other player in this time.
  • Moussa Marega has scored in all four of FC Porto’s home Champions League matches this season.

Conclusion

While Liverpool will travel to Porto with a commanding 2-0 advantage, Porto are certainly not a side that should be overlooked. With it likely that Jurgen Klopp’s side could have one eye on their Premier League outing later in the week, coupled with their recent struggles on the road in Europe, we’re backing chances at both ends on Wednesday night.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 3/4

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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