This Thursday and Wednesday, the Champions League returns to the Elite Eight stage, where things really started last year. We saw Manchester City and Barcelona’s heavy favors upset and wonder at last minute heroic and controversial events, including the Bernabeu penalty for Real Madrid, which sent Gigi Buffon to Juve keeper to be white-hot before the referee used another colour-red-to dispatch him. Brace yourself: once more the stage is set. Here’s all you must know, from the superheroes and the lads who decide the bonds.
Liverpool vs. Porto
WHEN: Tuesday 4/9, 3 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. GMT
THE BACKSTORY: Liverpool came to the last year, when they lost to the Real Madrid and reloaded for their free flowing attack with Alisson, the middle-field, with a love for Fabinho and Naby Keita. Liverpool is involved in a title chase in the Prime Minister’s League with Manchester City, but in Anfield the European Cup remains special, which is a trophy they have won five times. Porto is also involved domestically in a narrow title race, but it was sailed through the group stages and in the round of the 16came from behind to knock Roma. Teams from Sergio Conceicao are unbelievable and make mistakes rarely. Furthermore, after Liverpool beat them 5-0 at home a year ago, they have no lack of motivation.
HOW THEY MATCH UP: The attack from Liverpool is a little less octaneous in nature than last year, but Jurgen Klopp has gained the kind of defensive strength that helps to fight. It is good for a team that even if they are out of play, loves to punish errors. STAR TOWATCH: Mohamed Salah. Mohamed Salah. It’s a year off, relative to last season, but most players can’t dream more than that off year. WASTER PORTO’S STAR: Eder Militao. Real Madrid has already snapped up the much-hyped youngster for the coming season and will continue to be busy in the attack in Liverpool.
Tent Alexandre-Arnold: X FACTOR FOR LIVERPOOL. Against packaging defences, it’s critical to stretch any opponent from the right side and balls into the box. X CASILATE FATTOR: Iker Casillas. The Spanish guard has plenty of experience in the Champions League and is capable of staying at Anfield unfazed. Porto’s got a shot if he can push the old magic and get back untouched. NEED TO LIVERPOOL… Be patient and don’t get the counter caught out. After five straight European defeats, their weak win in Bayern, their First League Award, suggests that they needn’t hit this straight away.
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