Porto vs Liverpool Preview: Reds looking to take important result back to Anfield in first-leg Champions League tie

Liverpool will be hoping to bring home an advantage from the first leg of their Champions League last 16 clash against Porto on Wednesday night at the Estádio do Dragão stadium

Porto vs Liverpool Preview: Reds looking to take important result back to Anfield in first-leg Champions League tie
Liverpool get on the plane for Porto (Getty images - Andrew Powell)

Liverpool travel to Portugal ff the back of an important 2-0 win against Southampton to close the gap on second-placed Manchester United to two points in the Premier League. 

German boss Jurgen Klopp has decided to take a 25-man squad, believing that a four-day training camp after the game - due to Liverpool not being involved the FA Cup - will be beneficial even for those who are unavailable.

Having been eliminated from the FA Cup last month and being that they are unlikely to win the Premier League, the tournament is the Reds' only realistic hope of winning silverware this season.

Klopp has failed to bring a trophy back to Merseyside despite being defeated in two finals. However, a good run in the Champions League would show signs of progress since the former Dortmund boss joined the Reds back in 2016. 

Dangerous attack

While they may be considered outsiders for the main prize,  Klopp's men boast a forward line that has scored 23 goals in the group stage — second only to Paris Saint-Germain — and they are not to be trifled with.

Porto go into the tie unbeaten in their last 23 matches in all competitions, and only lost once at home - 3-1 against Besiktas in the group stage of the Champions League.

Reds midfielder Emre Can joins the travelling squad despite being suspended for the first leg, and the Merseyside club will travel to Spain after the match for some warm-weather training.

However, Klopp insisted his players are determined to bring a positive result back to Anfield, Klopp later told reporters: "We know Anfield is a place where the crowd can make the difference and that's what we will want to use in the second game but for that we need a result in the first game.

"We will fight for everything tomorrow. We are thinking about a result that will give us a good chance in the second game but it will be hard work."

Team News

Liverpool will be without the suspended Can and long-term injured Nathaniel Clyne, while Joe Gomez (knee) is a doubt but Ragnar Klavan has been declared fit following a thigh injury.

The world's most expensive defender Virgil van Dijk is set for his first appearance in the competition for the club since he joined in January and goalkeeper Loris Karius is set to keep his place in goal.

Porto's high-scoring attack could be missing its biggest threat up top for Wednesday's match against Liverpool in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Cameroon forward Vincent Aboubakar has a muscle injury and remains doubtful for the first leg.

Other Porto players nursing injuries include Marcano, Danilo and Andre Andre and will all likely miss the first leg.

Recent form (all competitions)

Porto: WWWDLW

Liverpool: WLLWDW

Latest Result

Chaves 0-4 Porto

Southampton 0-2 Liverpool

Match Facts 

The Reds are unbeaten against Porto, having played them four times in all competitions (W2 D2). Their only two encounters in Portugal both ended in draws.

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 under Jose Mourinho.

Liverpool were one of four teams to remain unbeaten in this season's Champions League group stages, alongside Barcelona, Besiktas and Tottenham.

Only PSG (25) scored more goals than Liverpool (23) in this season's Champions League group stages.

Porto scored more goals from set-pieces (8) than any other team in this season's Champions League group stages.

Porto's Aboubakar has scored five goals and delivered two assists in this season's Champions League (5 games), already the most prolific campaign of his career.

In his first six Champions League games, Roberto Firmino has scored six goals and delivered three assists. Also, no player was directly involved in more goals than Firmino away from home in this season's group stages (4 goals, 2 assists).

Referee

Daniele Orsato (Italy)