The Liverpool fans in the Transfer Tavern are feeling extremely confident ahead of their clash against FC Porto at Anfield this evening.
Jurgen Klopp’s side welcome Porto to Liverpool tonight for the second-leg fixture of their last-sixteen tie which was all but decided in the first-leg three weeks ago. The reverse fixture was widely predicted to be a close affair at the Estadio Do Dragao, but Liverpool’s deadly front-three of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino tormented their opponents defensive line as The Reds recorded an emphatic 5-0 away victory. Liverpool’s success in Portugal served to illuminate their credentials to lift the 6th Champions League trophy in the clubs history this season, although sterner tests undoubtedly lie ahead in the later rounds of the competition.
Plenty of individual performances were hailed in the media in the aftermath of the first-leg, particularly that of Fimrino who was in emphatic form at the spearhead of Liverpool’s attack. The Brazilian international capped his performance with a goal and an assist, but Klopp should drop him for tonight’s fixture despite his success last time out.
It would take one of, if not the greatest comeback in the history of European football for Porto to turn the tie on its head this evening, so Klopp should use the opportunity to rest some of his key players ahead of a defining period in the clubs season. With that being said, Dominic Solanke (valued at £7.2 million by Transfermarkt) should be brought in to replace Firmino this evening.
Solanke arrived at the club from Chelsea last summer on a free transfer, but he has struggled for first-team opportunities since arriving on Merseyside. The one-time capped England international has made 16 appearances in the Premier League, albeit, only 3 of those were from the outset. Meanwhile in the Champions League, Solanke has completed just 14 minutes of football in 7 fixtures.
Evidently, Solanke has hardly been given much of an opportunity to showcase his talents this season, and without the adequate first-team experience, the 20-year-old will struggle to reach his full potential. Considering the tie is all but over, Klopp would be foolish not to hand Solanke a rare opportunity to impress from the outset tonight and allow Firmino to rest his legs on the subsistutes bench.