Liverpool survived a crazy 3-3 thraw with Brentford on Saturday to preserve their unbeaten start to the season, and they’re actually without a loss in 17 competitive outings since a first-leg defeat in their quarter-final against Real Madrid last term.
That includes victories in 11 of 13 since the start of May, as nine of those came by a minimum two-goal margin.
Porto are also enjoying a significant unbeaten run since losing a first-leg quarter-final clash against eventual champions Chelsea.
They’ve since won 13 of 18 matches and although three of the past six have ended in stalemates, this did include away clashes with potential title challengers Sporting Lisbon and Atletico Madrid in this competition.
With an improving AC Milan also included in Group B, there are no easy games in this pool and no team can afford to hand out rest to key players. However, with Virgil van Dijk needing to be careful after such a long injury lay-off, he might get the night off as he did in Liverpool’s opening clash with Milan, where they looked far from secure defensively in the 3-2 win.
The hosts are in a similar boat with veteran Pepe a doubt for this clash, so they too may be lacking key leadership.
The problem is compounded by Chancel Mbemba’s sending off against Atletico Madrid two weeks ago, with Ivan Mercano and Fabio Cardoso the likely partnership to deputize for the first-choice pairing.
Both Teams To Score
Jurgen Klopp also has to think ahead to the weekend where there’s a crucial encounter at Anfield with Man City. Although there won’t be any wholesale changes, Roberto Firmino may get an opportunity after getting 22 minutes at the weekend on his return from injury.
These two have met four times since 2017/18, with Liverpool winning three and drawing the other, including 5-0 on 4-1 triumphs at the Estadio Do Dragao.
They’re unlikely to experience quite so much joy going forwards, especially with Porto winning their past seven on home turf now, but it’s hardly as though the Reds are struggling for output having netted exactly three times in each of their past five outings now.
Still, given Porto have also scored at least three times in five of their last six at home, as well as the likely omission of van Dijk at the back for Liverpool, both teams should end up on the scoreboard here.
BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
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