Liverpool expect Porto to be highly motivated for Wednesday’s Champions League group stage meeting and will not take their opponents lightly despite having qualified for the last 16, manager Juergen Klopp said on Tuesday.
Liverpool, seven points ahead of second-placed Porto in Group B, were comfortable 5-1 winners in the away fixture in September, with Klopp saying the Portuguese outfit would be eager to avenge that heavy defeat.
“The last game was really unlucky for them. They were without their centre back pairing, had an injury early on and we scored at the wrong times for them and right times for us,” Klopp told reporters.
“We know our opponent will be motivated on the highest level for two main reasons. One, we won there in a way that they didn’t like… and on the other hand if they win they have the final game of the group against Atletico Madrid.”
Atletico trail Porto by a point and face AC Milan, who sit bottom with one point, in Wednesday’s other Group B clash.
Klopp said midfielder Jordan Henderson and left back Andy Robertson were both available to start following their recent return from injury, but added he would decide on their participation closer to the game.
“We always respect the competition and but we have to think about ourselves, our schedule and the situation of our players first,” said the German.
“Hendo we’ll see, yesterday maybe he wasn’t 100per cent, he could play and do pretty much everything… Robbo’s similar, both are okay and ready to start, but with the schedule coming up, we have to make decisions.”
Porto’s visit to Anfield is the first of four matches in 11 days for Liverpool, with Premier League games against Southampton, Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers to follow.
(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shrivathsa Sridhar)