Mourinho reveals the Darkhorse in the Champions League

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Former Porto manager Jose Mourinho believes his former club Porto can pull off a shock against Liverpool in the Champions League. Jose Mourinho won the UEFA Champions League in 2004 as he led Porto to beat AS Monaco in the final at Germany. He went on to establish himself as one of the best managers in the world after that. 

Liverpool are in the quarter finals of the Champions League for the second consecutive season and they are still involved in a fierce title race with Manchester City. Many football fans and pundits believe Liverpool landed the easiest quarter-final opponent, especially after winning 5-0 at the Estadio do Dragao in the last 16 of last season’s competition.

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Sadio Mane struck a superb hat-trick to help Liverpool put one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals with a comprehensive 5-0 victory over Porto last season. Salah and Firminho helped put the tie to bed ahead of the second leg to set up a quarter final tie with Manchester City. 

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Liverpool were able to rotate their side in the second leg after running riot in Porto, with Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino all scoring. However, Porto have been more resilient at the Dragon’s den this season. The Portuguese outfit pulled off a spirited comeback against Serie A giants; AS Roma in the last round.

But Mourinho is confident that their rematch will be significantly different, not least because Liverpool are currently in the midst of a fierce Premier League title battle with Manchester City. Liverpool have a tricky match against Chelsea sandwiched between the two legs against Porto as well as a trip to St Mary’s this weekend to contend with.

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“Porto have a chance to win and go through,’ said Mourinho at the ANTF Forum this week, as reported by A Bola. ‘Compared with last season, I think Sergio Conceicao will ask himself questions about what happened in order to do something different this time around.”

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“The tie is open and what happened last year, I believe, can play for Porto in both games. ‘Liverpool have absolutely fantastic individual quality, but they are disputing the league title which means that they will not rest players in the previous game or between the two games.”

All six of the matches between the teams have come in the 21st century. Their first came in the quarter-finals of Liverpool’s victorious 2000/01 UEFA Cup campaign; Gérard Houllier’s side drew the first leg 0-0 in Portugal before first-half goals from Danny Murphy and Michael Owen secured a 2-0 second-leg, and aggregate, victory at Anfield.

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A 2-0 second-leg loss to Benfica in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League round of 16 (0-3 aggregate) is Liverpool’s only defeat at home to Portuguese visitors (W6 D3). Their last two games against Liga clubs at Anfield have finished scoreless.

Liverpool had won five successive home UEFA Champions League fixtures, beating Paris Saint-Germain (3-2), Crvena zvezda (4-0) and, decisively, Napoli (1-0) in this season’s group stage, before drawing 0-0 against Bayern in the round of 16 first leg. They are unbeaten in 20 European home matches (W14 D6), since a 3-0 loss to Real Madrid on 22 October 2014

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