At The Anfield Talk, we thought it would be a good idea to get the low-down on Liverpool’s Champions League opponents, Porto with our own Adam (@Adam_LFC_96) talking to Porto fan, Brandon (@MagicMoutinho)
How are Porto doing this season?
This has been a great year (so far) for Porto. First place at the moment with a game in hand, well should be said a half in hand as our game against Estoril was postponed at HT due to stadium issues. Scoring 46 goals and only suffering 9 is also a big achievement for a team who people didn’t really think would be as good this year as we were last year.
How have Porto performed in the Champions League so far?
The draw placed us in a hard group stage with the likes of Red Bull Leipzig, Besiktas and French Champions Monaco. Didn’t start off well losing at home to Besiktas but the team put in a phenomenal performance in Monaco that kick started a great second place finish.
How much have Porto progressed since the last time they faced Liverpool?
Last time we played Liverpool, I believe, was in 2007 when we lost 4-1 to your side and your team was extremely strong while our team was strong as well but at that moment, ‘Pool was in magnificent place. Since those days, as a club, we have had some really great years and some bad ones including us haven’t won a trophy in the past 4 years. I think that overshadows what and who we truly are. This team is different from the rest of the former teams including the team in 07 so I’m expecting a great match between the two sides.
Who are the main threats for Porto?
The main threat of Porto has to be “BAM”. Most people reading this unless you watch the Portuguese league probably don’t know what that means but it stands for our attacking trio of “Brahimi, Aboubakar, Marega” which are without a doubt our biggest threats. Brahimi can do it all from his incredible dribbling to his playmaking creating chances out of nothing. Aboubakar, who is definitely the player who most will know, is one of the most unpredictable strikers in the world. The man can come at you with pace and 1v1. Don’t let that fool you, his touch and technique can almost make him unguessable. Marega is a one way show. He is big, fast and strong. He can make incredible runs that no man will be able to catch him and out muscle you to the ball and go right through you. They are an excellent trio and we are blessed to have them!
What was the reaction from the Porto fans when they found out it was Liverpool they’d be playing?
In all honesty, I was extremely content as were the rest of Porto fans. We felt that our team would be able to exploit your weaknesses. We also thought that your team was the easiest of them all. That is yet to be shown but we feel that at the moment…
What have you made of Liverpool under Jürgen Klopp so far?
I think the perfect word to describe your team under Klopp has to be inconsistent. Sometimes you guys look high flying then other times you look lackluster. Now I don’t watch Liverpool week to week so I wouldn’t be able to tell you where those problems start with but it’s some thing that needs to be addressed. If not, Liverpool could continue to struggle in all competitions.
The player you’re most concerned about hurting Porto?
Mane. Has to be the pacey winger because of the fact he is going against an inexperienced right back in Ricardo Pereira. Even though Ricardo has proven himself to be one of the best young right backs in the world at the moment, he struggles when it comes to 1v1 battles and positioning which Mane is so good at exploiting. So if it has to be anyone, Mane is definitely my choice.
Weaknesses you can exploit in Liverpool’s side?
Midfield. Our midfield, in my opinion, is far superior than yours. If we can dominate the midfield and control the game, we will win these two legs.
Do you believe Porto have any weaknesses Liverpool can exploit?
Counter attacks. If Porto are caught in a counter attack against Mane, Salah or Bobby, we could be in trouble. We have to stay focused and on task for the entire match or your team could hurt us in more ways than one!
Your overall thoughts on how the first leg will go?
First leg at the Dragão will be interesting. Porto likes surprising big teams at our stadium as we did against Bayern couple years back. I think Porto will win and the score will be 2-0. Goals coming from Marega and Marcano! Sorry Liverpool fans, you guys are still great!
Thank you to Brandon for this great insight. Stay tuned to The Anfield Talk for all of your match-day coverage.