Much has been made of Liverpool getting the ‘easiest’ draw as the competition enters the quarter final stage, but Liverpool would be foolish to write off the Portuguese giants.
Goals on the forecast
Only one side has outscored Liverpool domestically, the same can be said of FC Porto as both these sides step away from a neck and neck title race to clash on the European stage.
Porto have scored an average of just over two goals per game in the Portuguese Primeira this season; meanwhile Liverpool have helped themselves to an average of 2.33 goals in the Premier League and both have shown their goal scoring capabilities in Europe as well.
Porto’s last six Champions League games have seen over 2.5 goals, their last round fixtures against Roma were absolutely thrilling as they finally prevailed in extra time of the second leg in Portugal. Liverpool also left qualification until the second leg as they produced that stunning performance away at Bayern Munich that has led them to here, where they’ll need be aiming to become only the second side to be victorious of Porto in Europe this season.
Both sides are more than capable of scoring goals as a result of their excellent attacks. Liverpool need no introduction, and with Mo Salah getting back on the scoresheet the timing is perfect for them to kick up a gear. The wonderful front three for The Reds have 55 goals in all competitions this season with both Mane and Salah breaking the 20 goal mark so far; Mane was instrumental in the last round and he loves a goal at Anfield, he’s priced at 2.1 to be on target here.
Most will probably know less about what Porto have on offer, but they’re a quality side with some real danger men. Francisco Soares is their top scorer in the league with 13 goals, the Brazilian is well rounded technically and physically and can operate in a number of areas. He’s the shortest odds for a goal from the visitors at 3.75 anytime. For Porto in Europe though it has been all about Moussa Marega, he has six so far in their Champions League campaign and is a real handful. The Mali international isn’t exceptional technically but he is a brute of a striker; fast, incredibly strong and good in the air, he’s sure to catch the eye across the two legs.
Liverpool edge it in quality
There is no doubt that Porto are stronger than many are making them out to be and I feel there has been some disrespect to them in terms of having them labelled as an easy draw. Especially given that they went unbeaten in the group stage and then knocked out Roma in the last round. The underdogs face some squad issues as their captain Alex Telles pushes to be fit for the trip to England, he’s one of their most influential players and could be massive loss. They’re also without Pepe at centre half, the former Real Madrid hot head is suspended, of course, so he’s sadly unavailable for a yellow card bet. Hector Herrera is also unavailable which could leave Porto a bit light in midfield which is where Liverpool could gain ground and dominate, especially with Danilo Pereira being just one booking away from a suspension.
Jordan Henderson will start in midfield after a superb substitute appearance against Southampton, with James Milner moving to left back to cover the suspended Andy Robertson but aside from that The Reds will be at full strength and I think they have just too much quality, especially going forward. If Porto are left without Telles as well as Pepe I fear for them at the back as they don’t have an ample replacement who can stop Salah or Mane.
Over 2.5 goals @ 1.6
Both teams to score and Liverpool to win @ 2.88
Sadio Mane to score anytime @ 2.1
Porto over 20 booking points @ 2.1