The first two entrants into the UEFA Champions League’s quarterfinals will be anointed early Tuesday evening, though drama has been stripped from both.
In the case of Porto‘s trip to Liverpool, it’s been torn almost completely off the bone. The Reds scored five times in Portugal, and would need to fold in wild fashion at Anfield in order to give the tie any intrigue.
Liverpool scores loads of goals, so to consider Porto could push for a minimum five away goals without adequate Reds response is bonkers… but could provide for some fun.
Jurgen Klopp is not going to flip his lineup despite a weekend date with Manchester United which will determine who lives the following week in second place.
“We could [rotate], but I’m not sure I will do it because it could be misunderstood,” Klopp said. “I really want to show respect. I want to show respect to the opponent, to the tournament, and I want to have the best line-up possible and the best line-up which makes sense to win the game, because that’s why we are here.
“We are unbeaten so far in the Champions League this season and I would love to stay unbeaten as long as possible. That would help a lot.”
The match kicks off at 2:45 p.m. ET Tuesday, as does Real Madrid‘s visit to Neymar-less Paris Saint-Germain.
Real has a 3-1 lead after coming back from Adrien Rabiot’s opener to haul a two-goal lead into Parc des Princes.
Marco Asensio had a pair of assists and Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in the first leg, and Real is laser-focused on the Champions League given their substandard season in Spain.
PSG will have a lot of talent for the second leg, but won’t have presumed Ballon d’Or finalist Neymar. He’s out for multiple months after suffering a leg injury against Marseille.
Dani Alves says he thinks the key is home field, via PSG’s site:
“I think the important thing is to work in the best possible conditions. The club is the key: the club, the supporters and us, the players. It’s all one. We need to be all connected and then we can try and reach our goals. Then it also depends on what we do on the pitch. A fantastic atmosphere inside the stadium isn’t enough if we don’t do the job on the pitch. But a great atmosphere can be the difference in our favour. I repeat: we need to be up to the standard of our fans and their expectations.”
PSG would need a less dramatic reversal of fortunes than the megawatt comeback Barcelona pulled at the Camp Nou last season, and the Parisian side will be well aware of that possibility.