Having already routed FC Porto 5-0 during the away leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie, all Liverpool had to do tonight at Anfield was simply show up and go through the motions. The result was a banal and tedious goalless draw, but that’s all that was required, with the primary goal just making sure no one got hurt.
Liverpool next play at arch-rival Manchester United on Saturday, and tonight’s outing gave manager Jurgen Klopp a chance to keep his side somewhat refreshed for the blockbuster fixture of the weekend. Klopp was happy with what his side has accomplished thus far, but is of course not yet satisfied, as they have an eye on advancing further through Europe.
In the meantime, the Reds will prepare for their upcoming trip to Old Trafford, and Klopp made five changes to his starting XI for the Porto contest this evening, one in which the ultimate outcome was long decided. His most valuable defender (Virgil van Dijk), and forward (Mohamed Salah) played only substitute minutes.
Captain Jordan Henderson was set back by a dead leg, but told media after the game that he’ll be good to go this weekend.
“It’s very, very important and now we can prepare for the Manchester game. I’m looking forward to it,” Klopp said.
“It’s normal that we think the possibility of injuries, but that can happen all the time. It was clear if it’s possible that we give him (leading scorer and Golden Boot award candidate Mo Salah) the last 20.
“If it was 15 then he has to train again tomorrow. I told him if he runs a lot then he doesn’t have to train tomorrow. I thought he was quite lively.”
Klopp was also able to give Adam Lallana a full 90 minutes, something the midfielder greatly needed to further proceed his convalescence.
Odds via OddsChecker: Man United 19/11, Draw 22/9, Liverpool 9/5
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.