Looking ahead to tomorrow night’s Champions League round of 16 second leg fixture against Porto at Anfield, you can’t help but feel confident. The Reds go into the game with a 5-0 lead thanks to goals from Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane in Portugal.
We have the goal advantage but we also have the home advantage tomorrow. Porto will be coming here and feeling a bit worried and deflated thinking that they have to try and overturn a 5-0 lead but also face Anfield on a European night which is difficult for any team.
I was hoping that Jürgen Klopp would field a mixture of both first team and second team players just to give a few players a rest but during his press conference today he mentioned that he will be fielding a strong side. On one hand, I was hoping to rest a few players because we have such a large lead and with us playing Manchester United on Saturday but thinking about it, it shows how serious he is taking this competition and he may want to field a strong eleven to grab a few goals and put the game to bed so he can take some crucial players off with maybe 30 minutes to go so they are ready for the weekend.
The Reds could have been handed another boost ahead of tomorrow’s game as it looks like a few key players are missing for Porto either through injury or just that they haven’t travelled. The visitors will be without in-form Alex Telles, Moussa Marega and Tiquinho Soares whilst key midfielder Danilo is also set to miss out.
Porto have won their last four league games and Soares has bagged seven goals and two assists, Marega with four goals and one assist, and Telles with 1 goal and 5 assists in those games so with them all missing surely the Reds should be in for a comfortable game.
It would be nice to hand a few minutes to players like Lallana, Solanke, Ings and Gomez who have been out of favour recently due to either being injured or just not being first choice, it is also time for them to prove why they should be playing. Adam Lallana is a great player but only when he is playing frequently and in the right position, I would play him in that number 10 role tomorrow where he can create chances and also get in on goal himself. Gomez is in a similar position, Trent Alexander-Arnold is playing right-back at the minute due to Gomez being injured for the last couple of games but I would maybe try partnering him up with Van Dijk in central defence just to see how he handles it and also get him some crucial minutes. And finally I think it would be best to rest Firmino in tomorrows game just with the amount of minutes he has played recently and because we have Manchester Utd at the weekend but to also give Dominic Solanke or Danny Ings a run out and try and get themselves on the scoresheet to get their confidence up.
My starting XI for tomorrow’s game would be:
Karius, TAA, Gomez, Van Dijk, Moreno, Henderson, Milner, Lallana, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Mane
Article by Lauren Black
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