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The draw against Porto is probably the best-case scenario for Liverpool, all things considered, the tie will see the Reds go up against the Portuguese giants in February, playing the second leg at home since Jurgen Klopp’s side finished top of their group after the 7-0 thrashing of Spartak Moscow. Some fans would have preferred to take on FC Basel, but here I’ll make my case for Porto being the best possible result as far as we’re concerned.

The first legs for the round of 16 will take place on February 13th & 14th and the following week on February 20th & 21st, with the second legs falling on March 6th & 7th, and again the following week on March 13th & 14th.

The tie against Porto will be no easy task, make no mistakes, although they’ve failed to win their own league for the past four years, they present the sort of perfect warm-up for Liverpool, it’s the practice the boys need to justify us meeting a bigger side in the next round.


Avoiding big boys and non-events.

For first things, we’ve thankfully missed out on the big boys. Although we’re here now, we’ve made it to the last 16 for the first time far too long, and it’s time to rub shoulders with the likes of Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid side, maybe just not yet, if we can manage it. Although as many people have pointed out, Liverpool’s ‘fab’ front four can take on any side right now, the rest of our team certainly can’t.

As for missing out on Basel, we’ve avoided what was a non-event at best, and a major embarrassment at worst. We haven’t come to the Champions League knock-out stages to take on Basel, it would have been a nice tie, and one I would have quite happily taken; however, it wasn’t the tie the Red’s needed at this point.

Porto finished runners up in their own group to an impressive Besiktas side, beating the likes of Monaco 8-2 over two ties, and edging RB Leipzig to second place. It will be the first meeting between the two sides for 10 years, the last meeting coming in 2007, as we shared a group, winning 4-1 at Anfield, and drawing 1-1 in Portugal. Liverpool also faced Porto in the fifth round of the then UEFA Cup back in 2001, drawing 0-0 away and winning the second leg 2-0 at home.

The boss has his say.

The boss had his say post draw, he seemed more than happy with the tie, and took some other positives from playing in Portugal:

“It’s just good that we now know it…It was clear it would be a strong side. Porto are a strong side, first in the Portuguese league and always good…This year again they’re a difficult side to play. They came through in a difficult group; they kept Leipzig – a really good side in Germany – behind them. It will be interesting…It’s good that we have the first game at Porto, the weather is better there in February!”

Owen Hargreaves also had his say, two-time winner of the Champions League turned BT Sport pundit, has claimed that Liverpool have the easiest draw of all the English teams, when asked if Liverpool had the ‘kindest draw’ he said:

“Yeah, I mean, Porto are always going to be top of the Portuguese league pretty much…Going forward [Liverpool are] as good as anyone to watch…But defensively some of those issues are still there.”

Looking elsewhere, and forwards.

As for the other English teams in the draw, the draw was not so kind, Pocchetino’s Spurs side drew Juventus, a tough ask for the North Londoners. Chelsea face an almost impossible task against Barcelona, Manchester United have a tricky tie against Sevilla, and Manchester City are the mismatch of the tie, taking on Basel.

Now it’s time for Liverpool to focus on the coming game, as Liverpool host West Brom, and newly appointed Alan Pardew, hoping to kick on from his mixed start as baggies boss. The match will take place on Wednesday with an 8pm kick-off. The Reds will be hoping for a return to form, having stuttered to a draw last time out in the Merseyside derby, Firmino and Coutinho expected to return to the starting line-up, with Jurgen Klopp continuing with his rotation policy. Let’s hope for 3 points, and a centre-half in January!


Article by Jamie Keogh




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