UEFA Champions League – Porto-Liverpool – Porto look for first Liverpool success
FC Porto have never beaten Liverpool FC in four previous attempts but boast more recent UEFA Champions League knockout experience as the teams renew acquaintance in the round of 16 first leg at the Estádio do Dragão.
• While the Portuguese side have recorded two draws and two defeats in their four games against the Merseyside club, they are in the round of 16 for the second year in a row and made the most recent of their five UEFA Champions League quarter-final appearances in 2014/15. Liverpool, by contrast, were last in this stage in 2008/09 – although they did go on to the last eight in that season.
• Porto progressed to the 2017/18 knockout rounds by finishing second in Group G, while Liverpool remained unbeaten (W3 D3) in winning Group E.
• This is one of only two round of 16 ties this season to feature two former European champions: Chelsea FC’s meeting with FC Barcelona is the other.
• There have been four previous matches between the teams, all in the 21st century. Their first encounters came in the quarter-finals of Liverpool’s victorious 2000/01 UEFA Cup campaign; Gérard Houllier’s side drew the first leg 0-0 in Portugal before first-half goals from Danny Murphy and Michael Owen secured a 2-0 second-leg, and aggregate, victory at Anfield
• The other matches came in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League group stage. Dirk Kuyt’s 17th-minute goal earned Liverpool a 1-1 matchday one draw at Jesualdo Ferreira’s Porto, who had gone in front through Lucho González’s eighth-minute penalty. The visitors played the majority of the second half with ten men following Jermaine Pennant’s 58th-minute red card.
• The teams at the Estádio do Dragão on 18 September 2007 were:
Porto: Nuno, Bosingwa, João Paulo, Bruno Alves, Fucile, Lucho, Assunção, Meireles (Mariano González 64), Sektioui (Farías 64), Lisandro, Quaresma.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeola, Hyypiä, Carragher, Finnan, Mascherano, Gerrard, Pennant, Babel (Crouch 85), Kuyt, Torres (Voronin 76).
• At Anfield, Lisandro (33) cancelled out Fernando Torres’ 19th-minute opener for Rafael Benítez’s Liverpool, before late goals from Torres again (78), Steven Gerrard (84pen) and Peter Crouch (87) gave the home team the points. Porto and Liverpool both went through to the last 16, the Portuguese side winning the section.
• Porto’s record in the round of 16 is W3 L6, and they have won only one of their last four ties. In 2016/17, they bowed out at this stage against eventual runners-up Juventus (0-2 home, 0-1 away).
• Their overall home record against English clubs is W8 D6 L3. Their last game against Premier League visitors brought a 5-0 win against already-qualified group winners Leicester City FC on matchday six last season.
• Porto picked up six points at home in this season’s group stage. The Portuguese side suffered a 3-1 loss against Beşiktaş JK on matchday one, but recovered to beat RB Leipzig by the same scoreline in their second home game before sealing second place in Group G with a 5-2 matchday six defeat of AS Monaco FC.
• Porto have won only four of their last ten home matches in European competition, also losing four.
• Porto had lost their previous three UEFA Champions League fixtures, home and away, before winning at Monaco on matchday two; they have now won three of their last eight matches in the competition.
• Last season was the third time in the last six campaigns that Porto had progressed from their group. This is the first time they have reached the round of 16 two seasons in a row since getting into the knockouts every year between 2006/07 and 2009/10.
• Porto’s record in two-legged ties with English clubs is W3 L7. They have lost the last four, most recently 6-1 on aggregate to Manchester City FC in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League round of 32 (1-2 home, 0-4 away). They have not beaten English opposition in a knockout tie since José Mourinho’s side eliminated Manchester United FC in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League round of 16 (2-1 home, 1-1 away) en route to lifting the trophy.
• Liverpool have not reached the round of 16 in nine years, their most recent tie a 5-0 win against Real Madrid CF in the 2008/09 competition (1-0 away, 4-0 home). That left them with the overall record of W4 L1 at this stage; the sole defeat came at the hands of Portuguese opponents as holders in 2005/06, SL Benfica winning 1-0 at home and 2-0 away.
• That Benfica reverse is Liverpool’s only loss at home to Portuguese visitors (W6 D2).
• Liverpool’s most recent trip to Portugal brought a 1-0 loss at SC Braga in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg. That was also the aggregate score, giving Liverpool the record W5 L2 in two-legged contests against Portuguese sides.
• The Reds have the record W2 D3 L4 in Portugal; they won on each of their first two visits but have triumphed in none of their last seven trips.
• Liverpool were 7-0 winners at NK Maribor on matchday three, their club record European away victory. They have nevertheless won just three of their last 16 away games (D8 L5), having drawn 1-1 at FC Spartak Moskva in their first Group E away match and let slip a 3-0 half-time lead to draw 3-3 at Sevilla FC. Before triumphing at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in their play-off first leg, the Merseysiders’ last away success had been a 1-0 UEFA Europa League group stage win at FC Rubin Kazan on 5 November 2015.
Coach and player links
• Iker Casillas was in the Real Madrid team beaten by Liverpool at this stage of the 2008/09 competition. He did get the better of the Reds in the 2014/15 group stage, appearing in Madrid’s 3-0 win at Anfield and 1-0 success in Spain.
• Mohamed Salah’s AS Roma were knocked out of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League by Porto, losing 4-1 on aggregate defeat in the play-offs (1-1 away, 0-3 home).
• Maxi Pereira played in Benfica’s 2-1 home win against Liverpool in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League quarter-finals first leg. He was an unused substitute in the return, a 4-1 Liverpool victory.
• Ricardo Pereira and Sérgio Oliveira were in the Portugal team that beat Emre Can’s Germany 5-0 in the 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship semi-final; Ricardo scored the second goal.
• Lazar Marković spent 2013/14 at Benfica, with the record W2 D1 L2 against Porto. He spent the first half of 2016/17 at Sporting.
• Has played in Portugal:
Lazar Marković (SL Benfica 2013/14, Sporting Clube de Portugal 2016/17)
• Has played in England:
Miguel Layún (Watford FC 2015)
• International team-mates:
Iker Casillas & Alberto Moreno (Spain)
Óliver Torres & Alberto Moreno (Spain Under-21s)
• James Milner scored in England’s 2-2 draw against hosts Portugal in the 2003 UEFA European Under-17 Championship semi-final. Portugal won 3-2 on penalties and went on to lift the trophy.