Porto v Liverpool preview: Jurgen Klopp names 25-man squad but Emre Can suspended
Last Updated: 14/02/18 7:00pm
Liverpool will look to bring home an advantage from the first leg of their Champions League last 16 clash against Porto on Wednesday night.
The Reds travel to Portugal having closed the gap on second-placed Manchester United to two points in the Premier League by beating Southampton 2-0 at St. Mary's.
Liverpool manager 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.
Emre Can joins the travelling party despite being suspended for the first leg, and the Merseyside club will travel to Spain after the match for some warm-weather training.
As the squad departed John Lennon Airport on Tuesday afternoon, Klopp said: "It is normal we take a bigger squad to a European game because we have three days away at least.
"With training, a lot of things can happen - it's always like this and that's the main reason. There are three or four players here more than we would have usually.
"The other reason is we will go afterwards and use the time we have now - unfortunately, due to being out of the FA Cup - for proper training in different surroundings.
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"It'll be four really intense sessions and then we will come back to England and have a full week to prepare for the West Ham game and the rest of the season. It's really good the club gave us the opportunity to do it."
Porto are 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.
But insisting 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."
Klopp will be without the suspended Can and long-term absentee Nathaniel Clyne, while Joe Gomez (knee) is a doubt but Ragnar Klavan has been declared fit following a thigh injury.
Record signing Virgil van Dijk is set for his first appearance in the competition for the club 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 weapon for Wednesday's match against Liverpool in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Cameroon forward Vincent Aboubakar has a lingering muscle injury and remains doubtful for the first leg at Estadio do Dragao.
Other Porto players nursing injuries include Marcano, Danilo and Andre Andre.
- Liverpool are unbeaten against Porto, having played them four times in all competitions (W2 D2). Their 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.
- 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 Vincent 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).
I'm not surprised Liverpool are favourites here. I know it was Benfica who were shocking in the group stages, but I think the standards have definitely dropped with Portuguese sides in general and there's not much between the top sides in their league right now.
Liverpool are, alongside Man City, the best counter-attacking team in the Premier League and I think Porto will be fairly timid going into this tie, knowing the threat Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino pose on the break.
They might look to make it a physical game to stop those breaks, but they won't have come up against an attack like this, having benefited from a relatively favourable group.
Salah has obviously been fantastic but I'm a big fan of Firmino and his work rate and his link-up play are different class. He's not quite Luis Suarez, but he's not far off.
Charlie predicts: 1-2 and Firmino to score first (30/1 with Sky Bet)
Liverpool are Sky Bet's 5/4 favourites to establish a first-leg lead, with Porto priced at 2/1 while the draw is a 5/2 chance. Jurgen Klopp's men head into the tie as 14/1 sixth favourites to win the Champions League, while their hosts up against odds of 100/1.