Jürgen Klopp has said Liverpool must be wary of a Porto team seeking to avenge recent routs in the Champions League when they return to the Estádio do Dragão
Klopp’s team have scored nine goals on their last two visits to the Portuguese club and their 5-0 win in 2018 remains Porto’s heaviest home defeat in European competition. Liverpool, who have never lost in eight meetings with Porto, recorded another emphatic away victory in the quarter-finals the following season, winning 4-1 en route to lifting the trophy for a sixth time.
Sérgio Conceição was in charge of Porto for both defeats but has overseen an eight-game unbeaten start to this season, including three home wins without conceding a goal. Klopp says recent history between the clubs works only in favour of Porto and will fuel their desire to settle a score against the Premier League leaders.
The Liverpool manager, who remains without the injured Thiago Alcântara while Trent Alexander-Arnold also did not travel with the rest of the squad, said: “Porto always changed a bit but it’s still the same manager and it’s not an advantage at all that we won the last two games there. Absolutely not. You only have to put yourself in the position of the opponent and the first thing you would want to do is make sure a similar thing doesn’t happen again. That doesn’t make our
job easier for sure. For them it is another reason to be motivated on the highest level but it doesn’t change the situation.
“We don’t think about the last two games we played there. We think about this one. They qualify year in, year out for the Champions League and they are always first or second in the Portuguese League. That is a top team and that is what we are preparing for. Not the team we beat in the past.”
Diogo Jota, who spent a season on loan at Porto from Atlético Madrid in 2016-17, believes his former club may be scarred by recent encounters with Liverpool but there can be no complacency among Klopp’s players. The Portugal international said: “I still follow Porto and I know those results were not good for them and they didn’t show the real difference between the teams. I know how difficult it is for an away team at Estádio do Dragão and I have told my teammates about this difficulty. If we go there thinking about these past results, then we will struggle.”
Liverpool worked on team shape for the game at their training base in Kirkby on Monday rather than in Porto on matchday as Klopp is concerned about details being leaked to his opponents. “Porto have different options and we have to be ready for that but we don’t have a lot of time to prepare. Yesterday was recovery, today was second recovery and tomorrow we cannot really train there because all the people in Porto are still Portuguese so, even if we train at Boavista, the information will get out. We cannot do shape tomorrow morning so we have to do everything today in a live version.”
Klopp said Liverpool need to improve defensively throughout the team to maintain their hold over Porto, having conceded three times at Brentford on Saturday. The Liverpool manager added: “The common opinion is it’s only about the last line but we had a problem in general with our defending. That’s why Brentford caused us problems and it wasn’t good. Porto is a different team obviously and will play a different style but they will go direct as well and go for second balls as well. We have to improve in that department but now is not the moment to be concerned. We spoke about it and we know we cannot do it like that. I think we have sorted it but we have to show it tomorrow.”