Liverpool were unbeaten in all competitions the last time they had a game in the Champions League. Since then, they’ve only lost to West Ham but made up for it in an incredible performance that saw the side score four goals against Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal.
The Reds remain unbeaten and at the very top of the tree in their Champions League group, with the maximum 12 points and seven points clear of second-place Porto, who coincidentally are their opponents on Wednesday evening.
This unbeaten run in Europe has put Liverpool through to the last sixteen, and for this reason, we expect a much different side to the starting eleven we saw against Arsenal on Saturday evening.
Jurgen Klopp confirmed in his press conference that we would see changes in tonight’s game;
“We always respect the competition but we have to think about ourselves, our schedule and the situation of our players first,”
With that in mind, here is Football Fancast’s predicted XI for Liverpool vs Porto…
With seven changes to the starting line up, we predict that Liverpool will bring in many players that we only see in domestic cup tournaments, but Klopp will leave an element of first-team experience in each line of play, with Joel Matip, James Milner and Diogo Jota all starting.
The changes will see fan favourites like Sadio Mane, Virgil Van Dijk and Mo Salah axed from the line up, in an attempt to give them a rest before an important Premier League game against Southampton at the weekend, where Klopp’s side will look for an opportunity to close the gap on Chelsea and Manchester City.
Taki Minamino will take the place of Mane, and will be hoping to have further impact on Liverpool’s season after he scored the fourth goal of the game against Arsenal at the weekend.
We expect to see some young players get minutes as well this evening, with Ibrahima Konate, 19-year-old Tyler Morton and Neco Williams predicted to join the side. All three will be hoping to make an impact to impress their German coach in the game.
Klopp will certainly not go into this game with the mentality of allowing a loss, so it is likely we could see him strengthen the side with more experienced players like Trent Alexander Arnold or Jordan Henderson in the second half, but only if the starting team is getting eaten alive by a Porto side who are in need of a win to push Atletico Madrid and AC Milan further away from qualification.