Eight Champions League matches will be played on Tuesday evening with two games coming from Groups A through to D. There are some compelling fixtures on the programme, including Man City at PSG and AC Milan v Atletico Madrid but the tie that caught the attention of our football writers is Porto v Liverpool. This fixture from Group B is scheduled for a 20:00 GMT kickoff and will be played in front of a large crowd in attendance, boosted by the millions watching the live TV coverage worldwide.
With both teams planning to progress to the knockout stages of this competition but knowing they share a pool with AC Milan and Atletico Madrid, the pressure is on. Porto must make home advantage count during this Group B campaign if they are to stand any chance of defying the odds and securing Champions League football in the new year. Liverpool fans hope to see the Reds win this match, top the group, and lift the trophy again.
The stats sheet shows these teams have met eight times previously, but Liverpool has never suffered a defeat in that time. The head-to-head scores show five wins for the Reds against three draws. The most recent produced a 4-1 win for Liverpool at this venue in 2019 when Mane, Salah, Firmino and van Dijk were on the scoresheet. Will we see a repeat performance, or can Porto make history by bagging their first win over Liverpool?
Porto open with a draw
Porto understands getting out of this group won’t be easy. They will have to be at their best throughout the campaign and will also require a generous helping of luck along the way. Group B appears to be the most competitive of this season’s Champions League, with some of the biggest teams from England, Spain and Italy in the running. Porto is capable of competing for the major places, but to give themselves the best chance of making it through to the next round, they will have to make their home stadium a fortress. That starts with this match against Liverpool.
The home team got off to a strong start when taking a point from their opening match against Atletico Madrid, the current champions of Spanish football. Despite many pundits writing them off before a ball had been kicked, Porto went to Madrid and battled hard, securing a share of the spoils and pulling off a bit of an upset along the way. They took a point from that game but also earned the respect of the other teams in the pool. Porto certainly won’t be viewed as a soft touch in the six games.
That match finished goalless thanks to a stubborn display from Porto, who refused to roll over and concede the points simply because their opponents carry a big reputation. They finished that match with ten men after Mbemba was shown a red card, but it came too late in the day to change the score, with the referee sending him off deep into stoppage time. Porto matched their opponents for fight and talent in the middle of the park.
Liverpool looking to stay top
Liverpool would have been hoping for a slightly easier group than the one they have been handed. Champions rarely have to hit top gear this early in the competition, but the Reds must be at their best if they are to live up to expectations and win the pool. Jurgen Klopp’s former winners of this trophy are more than good enough to achieve that, of course, and they hit the front early with a win in their opening match. That helped set the pace and gave the Premier League club a solid foundation on which to launch their challenge. They are the only Group B team with a win on the board, meaning Liverpool are already two points clear of Atletico Madrid and Porto, three better than AC Milan.
They opened with a stunning 3-2 win at Anfield over AC Milan on matchday one in what was a real treat for the fans and neutrals watching live on television. Liverpool took the lead in that match thanks to an own goal from Tomori, who bundled the ball into his net inside the opening 10 minutes of play. Salah and Henderson were on target in the second half to help their employers win the points, but they were pushed all the way to the finish line. Rebic and Diaz scored two goals in two minutes to give Milan a 2-1 lead going into the break.
Liverpool enters this match on a strong run of form, and followers of the stats will be interested to learn that the reds have scored exactly three goals in each of their previous five games played this month. That includes an entertaining 3-3 draw with Brentford in London on Saturday when an uncharacteristically shaky defence cost them three points. Klopp will be happy with his team’s goalscoring exploits but will want his defence to return to form as soon as possible. A strong defence will be key to any success they have against Porto.
Porto v Liverpool predictions
Porto knows the size of the task that awaits them here as they aim to topple the group leaders and move top of the pool. That’s easier said than done, of course, and with the Liverpool attacking showing such strong form, the locals must defend well. They will be backed by a vocal support and will rate their chances of getting something out of this match. A share of the spoils wouldn’t be a poor result for Porto at this stage.
Liverpool knows exactly what is expected of them. They must continue to create chances and score goals, but fans were bitterly disappointed at dropping two points in the title race at the weekend. The defence was to blame that day, but the players are experienced enough and talented enough to put that behind them and get back to business. Liverpool may be the away team, but their fans will expect victory on the road, and if they are at their best, they should be good enough to claim it.
Champions League odds
Porto is priced at 4.8 with 22bet to win this match, or backers of the away win will find Liverpool at 1.69 for the victory. A draw can be taken at 3.92.
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