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FC Porto (A) - CL, Tue 28th Sep 2021 (8:00pm)

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A familiar foe in Europe marks our first away game in this season's Champions League. We've played them twice in recent seasons, and met them in Europe twice in the first decade of the new millennium. Like Milan, they aren't the same force they were 15 to 20 years ago, but like Milan they can pose a threat that cannot be taken lightly. What do we need then?

 

Power. Accuracy. Urgency. Luck. Organisation. Flair. Unwavering faith. Tactical nous. Resilience. Elegance.

 

I don't ask for much.

 

We played them in the quarter finals during our CL winning run of 2018/19, but it's the Round of 16 tie from a year earlier in February 2018 that I want to recollect. Porto were predicted to be a very tough task for anybody, especially in their own stadium where they had a very very good record. It was a big ask for us to take something away from the Dragao and then finish the job at Anfield. Apart from a sticky few minutes early on, the game turned into a rout that nobody saw coming. We went full Red (Orange) Arrows, with a Sadio hat-trick added to with a goal apiece for Bobby and Mo to complete a 5-0 shelling and kill the tie off completely. Mo's effort was just an immense bit of ball control on his head in a tight space. He was a complete goal machine in 2017/18 and it's funny because for the first half of the season, his conversion rate from all the excellent chances he found himself with seemed to be about 50%. He'd come away from games having scored a brace when he could easily have had 4. We dismantled Porto so comprehensively that the second leg was a mere formality. We'd go on to face City in the quarters.

 

 

The box office in mid-February 2018 was headed by the MCU's latest cinematic superhero movie. It's one that came in a little bit under the radar even though Marvel Studios had introduced the character a couple of years earlier in Captain America: Civil War, but it and he became a cultural phenomenon, not least in sub-Saharan Africa. The fictional nation of Wakanda, the young leader T'Challa ascending the throne to lead his people, and a cohesive, impressive and entertaining film that made Black Panther one of the best of the genre. A career-making turn for the late, great Chadwick Boseman who overcame monumental personal health issues to take on the role. It's sad he's not around anymore, but he has left one hell of a legacy. As I said above, you cannot underestimate just how much the character has resonated throughout much of Africa. They have a hero of their own, someone who they can relate to, someone who can inspire, and something to aspire to.

 

 

Our team has its very own African superheroes, and they are more than capable of doing exactly what they did to Porto 3 years ago. They might be older now, and one of them has been very erratic recently, but they are still a danger the Portuguese side will undoubtedly be wary of. They'll also be wary of the goal threat posed by one of their countrymen. I wouldn't expect us to hand out a similar thrashing, nor would I underestimate Porto, but I would say that if we do all the right things and play to the standards we are capable of, we can get outof Portugal with a 100% record in the group going into the double-header with our European bête noire Atlético Madrid. Just get it done.

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Alisson; Trent, Matip, Gomez, Robertson; Fabinho, Milner, Keita; Minamino, Mane, Firmino

 

Tell the front three that the third forward spot for the City game is up for grabs. 

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50 minutes ago, Creator Supreme said:

We're shit, we'll lose, 3-0 to Porto.

Wipe the sand out your vadge 

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I think the fact we've given them a couple of hidings at their ground in recent years will make it really tough. Because of that the fans and players will be more up for it than normal

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Putting petrol aside for a minute, the Uk number 1 single at the time of the above mentioned game was this R Kelly rip off from Val Doonican wannabe Stormzy. The man who was the inspiration for the obscure Crowded House b-side, Weather With You. Filmed in Alderley Edge, Stormzy (Real name Jane Flanagan) invited local school kids to attend with the promise of a buffet and some free publicity. Police shut the event down after just 18 minutes when a sausage roll hit Andy Peters who was reporting for Channel 6 News from the adjacent car-park. Nobody actually knows what happened to Pt. 1 

 

 

 

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Win this and we're essentially through. 

 

Would only need to pick up 4 points from the final 4 games. Nice position to be in, before playing Atletico.

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9 hours ago, aRdja said:

Naby is training with the team in the latest training photos.

 

So playing with 10 men tonight. Bold strategy. 

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I think we'll see a lot of the fringe players in this one...

 

-----------------Allison-----------------------

Trent----Konate------Gomez-----Tsimikas

------------------Milner---------------------

--------Ox-----------------Keita------------

--Salah-------Firmino----------Origi-------

 

....to make sure he can bring all the big guns on Sunday.... In that case Mo shouldn't start, but I'm guessing he'll do so no matter what, both to win us the game and because he never gets injured anyway. Firmino also gets a start, I'm guessing to check if he's fully up to speed.

 

On Sunday it'll most likely be;

 

----------------Allison--------------------

---Trent---Matip----VvD-----Robbo--

--------------Fabinho------------------

-----Henderson----------Curtis-------

Salah---------Firmino---------Mane

 

With Jota being a bit unlucky to miss out. I still think Klopp will play his trusted three whenever the onus is on us to be at our absolute best pressing-wise. That was probably the idea on Saturday as well, that our front press was too loose, and Brentford had no trouble finding gaps all over the field. Bobby is much more effective from the front though, and I suspect he'll have a pivotal role to play on Sunday.

 

 

One game at a time as Klopp and the players always tell us... not really, though, you have to plan for Man City...

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Are you sure Klopp will rotate so many players mate ? Agree with you about Bobby for Sunday, it makes sense, but that would mean Joys starts tonite, wouldn’t it ?

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3 hours ago, Arnaud said:

Are you sure Klopp will rotate so many players mate ? Agree with you about Bobby for Sunday, it makes sense, but that would mean Joys starts tonite, wouldn’t it ?

No, not sure at all! Just think City is the one game where we need to take the opposition into account as they play differently to any other team on the planet. Hence having our best 11 at pressing rested and ready is important.

 

Dont't think Firmino will play the full game under any circumstance, but he might have to prove his fitness due to his prolonged absence. 60 mins today and 75 on Sunday perhaps?

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2 hours ago, Harry's Lad said:

Illness I heard. Don't know what though.

Seems strange - he was 'ill' for Palace and club made a point of saying it was 'not covid related'..came back and now is reportedly ill again.

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