Liverpool hoping for repeat of last season as they face Porto

Having won 5-0 in Portugal last season, Liverpool go into the quarter-finals with confidence.

Lightning rarely strikes twice in football but Liverpool will be hoping for a reprise this week when they play Porto in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Last season, Liverpool won in the league at Southampton - as they did on Friday - and then thumped Porto 5-0 in the first leg of their last-16 clash, a tie they won comfortably on the way to the final.
Having won so easily in Portugal in the first leg 12 months ago, Juergen Klopp’s side will be at home for the first leg on Tuesday, knowing a fast start may again be crucial if they are to have the chance to match, or maybe even better, last season’s achievements.
Confidence is high at Anfield, not least after Mohamed Salah broke his two-month scoring duck with a brilliant second goal in Friday’s 3-1 at Southampton, a victory which took Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League.
With his tail up, the Egyptian is likely to be as big a threat as ever against Porto, not that Klopp ever lost his own confidence in the striker.
"He always stayed calm to deal with the situation," Klopp said after the Southampton game. "It’s only around us that it (the goal drought) was a big thing, we don’t really care about it. But it’s a nice moment for the first goal after a while, a really good moment."
Klopp described his side as "mentality monsters" after yet another come-from-behind victory Friday, having also scored late in their previous two Premier League wins, over Tottenham and Fulham.
As full back Andy Robertson is suspended for the first leg, Klopp will have to shuffle his defensive pack, with James Milner likely to step into a role he has filled in times of emergency in the past.
Milner and captain Jordan Henderson made a big impact at Southampton when they came off the bench in the second half and both could start at Anfield.
"The runs in behind where Milly [James Milner] and Hendo were pumped up really helped us," Klopp said.
Henderson, who scored his side’s third goal on Friday from an unusually-attacking position in midfield, may well revert to a deeper role against Porto, but Klopp said his versatility is invaluable.
"When I came in and thought first about the team, Hendo was a box-to-box player," he said. "We made him a No 6 and that’s good. It’s helped him a lot to play in different positions.
"I told him already that (playing more advanced at Southampton) doesn’t mean he will never play as a number six again. He thinks it makes sense, and that’s absolutely true. We play different systems."
With Joe Gomez pushing for a recall after injury and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain close to a return after a year out, Klopp has plenty of options at his disposal, a luxury he intends to enjoy.
"We have to recover and then we will make the line-up for Porto," he said. "We will try everything. It’s at Anfield, it’s a quarter-final, it’s a big one for us. We are not Real Madrid who have won it the last three times. We like the competition and we will try everything to win the game.
"This is our second year in the Champions League, not year number 12 or whatever."


Monday, April 8th 2019
By Simon Cambers,

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