The Liverpool fans are feeling confident in the Transfer Tavern ahead of their last-sixteen clash with Porto at the Estadio Do Dragao this evening.
Jurgen Klopp takes his side to Portugal tonight for the first leg of their clash with Porto in the knockout stages of the Champions League. The resident Kopites propping up our bar believe that their side should have enough quality to overcome the challenge of Porto, but Liverpool could be in for a tougher tie than anticipated on the basis of their opponents form so far this season.
Porto are currently unbeaten in Liga Nos after 21 matches and they sit at the summit of the table by 2 points over their bitter-rivals Benfica. The Dragoes have been especially impressive at home where they have won 10 out of their 11 fixtures in the league, so there is no doubt Liverpool will need to be at their very best to record a positive result tonight.
Klopp has established a reputation as something of a tinkerman this season due to the consistency in which he changes the personnel in his starting line-up from game to game, so it’s always difficult to predict exactly how Liverpool will line-up. However, on the evidence of Liverpool’s recent performances, Klopp would be wise to drop Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (valued at £27 million by Transfermarkt) this evening.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has endured a mixed season since his move from Arsenal last summer, and his lack of consistency has become a point of frustration for the Liverpool supporters. Chamberlain scored a magnificent goal and provided an assist for Roberto Firmino During Liverpool’s 4-3 victory over Manchester City at the beginning of January, and his performance was deservedly hailed by supporters and pundits alike.
However, Chamberlain has gone off the boil since that memorable day and struggled to impress either at the centre of midfield or out wide, and his failure to produce his best form last Sunday against Southampton should force Klopp to favour Jordan Henderson in midfield for their clash with Porto tonight.
Time is running out for Oxlade-Chamberlain to convince Gareth Southgate that he should be starting in Russia next summer, but unless he can consistently reach the level he demonstrated against Man City last month then he will struggle to be selected for Jurgen Klopp’s starting eleven, never mind the England national team.