Liverpool scoring NINE goals in their last two trips to Porto means NOTHING, says boss Jurgen Klopp as he warns stars against complacency ahead of latest trip to Portugal
- Liverpool travel to Porto this week for the latest round of the Champions League
- Jurgen Klopp has enjoyed rich success there with the Reds in recent years
- They won 5-0 in February 2018 and 4-1 in April 2019 both at Estadio Do Dragao
Jurgen Klopp has warned his players to forget past conquests and brace themselves for a searching examination as they return to one of their lucky stadiums.
Porto has been a happy hunting ground for Klopp, who oversaw 5-0 and 4-1 victories at the Estadio Do Dragao in February 2018 and April 2019 respectively. Both those triumphs propelled Liverpool onto appearances in the Champions League final.
Liverpool have played Porto eight times in total in Europe – the first, in 2001, was a stepping stone to the UEFA Cup final – and they are yet to be beaten by the Portuguese giants but Klopp is not being lulled into a false sense that his team will again be so dominant.
Jurgen Klopp (left) has played down any suggestions Liverpool will have it easy against Porto
Fabinho and his team-mates have been warned against complacency on the Portugal trip
They may have made a promising start to the campaign but the three goals Liverpool conceded at Brentford on Saturday were enough to provide a reminder they are far from perfect and Klopp is demanding a performance of maximum intensity in Portugal.
‘It’s not an advantage at all that we won the last two games there – absolutely not,’ said Klopp.
‘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.
Liverpool won 5-0 in Porto back in February 2018 before winning 4-1 there in April 2019
PORTO (4-4-2): Diogo Costa; Corona, Pepe, Marcano, Zaidu; Otávio, Grujic, Uribe, Luis Díaz; Toni Martínez, Taremi
LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Konate, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Milner; Salah, Jota, Mane
‘That doesn’t make our job easier for sure, but it’s not about that. We don’t think about the last two games we played there. We think about this one. They have different options and we have to be ready for that but we don’t have a lot of time.’
Klopp usually conducts a rigorous day-of-game training session for his players, during which he goes through team shape and works on set pieces, but he is not sure that will be possible on this occasion so Monday was spent at their Kirkby base trying to iron out faults that were evident at Brentford.
Jordan Henderson, Liverpool’s captain, insisted the team as a whole were culpable for the three goals that were conceded in London, not just the back four, and Klopp noted that improvements can be made all over to tighten his team up.
‘It’s not that much of a concern (conceding three goals) because I don’t think you should make these things bigger than they are,’ said Klopp, who also revealed that he has added Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson and Alisson Becker to Liverpool’s leadership group. The trio will provide back up to Henderson, vice-captain James Milner and Virgil van Dijk.
‘But we have to show a reaction. That’s for sure. It’s really tricky to win a football game when you are not defending on your highest level.
‘That’s what we didn’t do. 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.
The style of outspoken Porto boss Sergio Conceicao has been described as ‘direct’ by Klopp
‘Porto is a different team obviously and will play a different style but they will go direct as well.’
They will go direct and they will go with determination, as Diogo Jota – a former Porto player – also made clear.
It is almost a year to the day since he scored his first Liverpool goal and he’s become an important player for Klopp since his £43million switch from Wolves.
Jota, like his manager, was diplomatic about Sergio Conceciao’s team but the reality is that if Liverpool click – for all the warnings – they should preserve their unbeaten start in the Champions League, ahead of the double-header against Atletico Madrid.
‘I follow Porto also and I know those two results weren’t good,’ said Jota.
‘They didn’t show the real difference the teams. Usually playing at the Dragao is never easy for away teams. I know that if we let ourselves go there and think about those results then we will be struggling.’
Diogo Jota, a former Porto player, warned Liverpool will struggle if they take it easy on this trip