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PORTO manager Sergio Conceicao believes that Liverpool can win the Champions League this season.
After an uneventful 0-0 draw in the second leg at Anfield last night, the home side progressed thanks to their first leg domination that earned them a 5-0 win in Porto.
“Liverpool are definitely one of the teams that can win the Champions League this year,” said Conceicao.
“They’re a really strong team and everyone knows that. Independently, perhaps, from the match that we saw this evening, I really think they’re one of the teams that can win it this year.”
The former Portugal international was happy that his side were able to show more spirit in the second leg and secure a clean sheet.
“After the first result, in a match which didn’t go our way, we wanted to give a better image of our club,” he said. “I was very proud of the players and the performance they put in for Porto tonight.”
Liverpool had chances through Sadio Mane, James Milner, and Danny Ings, but didn’t do enough to win the game on the night.
An Ings header late in the game brought an excellent save from Iker Casillas, who rolled back the years in front of the Kop.
The ex-Real Madrid man was appreciated by the home fans and the Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who spoke to the Spanish stopper after the game.
Klopp was pleased to have the opportunity to give game time to some fringe players, with Adam Lallana getting his first full run out since returning from injury.
“For Adam it was very important to play 90 minutes,” said the German.
“You could see he got more and more used to it, more rhythm again. Now we can prepare for the Manchester [United] game. I’m looking forward to it.”
This dead rubber against Porto was difficult in its own way, as Klopp had to balance the need for rest with the desire to keep the players hungry and their minds on winning.
“Tonight was a big challenge for us in terms of preparation, different to other games of course, and I think the boys did really well,” summarised Klopp.
Liverpool will travel to Old Trafford on Saturday for an entirely different test. They’ll be looking take the place of their local rivals in the table as a win would see them move into second place behind runaway leaders Manchester City.
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