In-form Liverpool travel to play Porto, who will have to work hard to contain the dangerous duo of Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino. The Egyptian is a good bet to score while Overs should land, says Jamie Pacheco...
"But it’s hard to ignore Mo Salah. He’s now on 30 goals for the season, has scored in each of his last four games and has eight goals from his last seven games. He’s 6/4 and that’s too good a price to leave alone."
Porto v Liverpool
Wednesday February 14 19:45
Live on BT Sport Extra
Sergio in full control
In Sergio Conceicao Porto may finally have found a manager who could stick around for a while. Prior to him taking charge, Porto were changing coaches pretty much every season with the board simply not tolerating having a man in charge who wasn't winning the domestic title or at least making the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Conceicao is Porto through and through. This is where he kicked off a successful career as a player before moving onto Serie A and his headstrong, argumentative, no-nonsense personality is just what the fans like. In terms of results, he's talked the talk but also walked the walk: Porto are top of the league and did well to finish as runners-up in their tough Champions League group, finishing behind Besiktas but ahead of Monaco and RB Leipzig.
Defender Felipe misses out through suspension.
Salah and Firmino making up for Coutinho exit
Bar a horrible week in late January where they lost 1-0 at Swansea in the league and 3-2 at home to West Brom in the Cup, the Reds have been pretty good of late. They secured bragging rights over rivals Everton in the FA Cup and are the only side to have beaten Manchester City in the league.
It's all the more remarkable given that they're doing it all without the services of the man who was arguably their best player. But since Philippe Coutinho left for Barcelona, Roberto Firmino and Mohammad Salah have taken on the extra responsibility caused by the Brazilian's exit and combined well to score plenty of goals between them. They need a little more from Sadio Mane right now, though.
The writing seems be on the wall regarding Emre Can, though. He looks destined to move on to Juventus in the summer on a free and will be a big loss to them next season. But he'll miss this match too. He's also suspended.
The draw appeals
If Porto instinctively look big at [3.2], think again. They've failed to beat Liverpool in each of the last four times they've played them and have lost each of their last three Champions League knockout games, according to Opta.
Given their ability to get wins on the road and how they've been playing of late, Liverpool don't look too bad a price at [2.4]. But then again, the Estadio do Dragao can be an intimidating place and Liverpool don't actually have to win. As the biggest of the three prices, the draw at [3.6] is the one that makes the most appeal.
Overs the way to go
[1.92] is a good price on over 2.5 goals. Only the Parque des Princes (16) witnessed more goals than Porto's Dragao (15) in the group stages.
Yes, Liverpool's game against Southampton only had two but for the most part Liverpool games are high-scoring. Prior to that 2-0 win, 11 of their last 12 games in all competitions had at least three goals in them. Additionally, six of last season's eight Champions League last 16 first leg games had over 2.5 goals, another good omen for backing overs.
You can get [2.12] on under 2.5 goals if you choose to ignore all these stats that suggest goals could be on the cards. We won't be doing that.
Firmino was Liverpool's go-to man in the group stages, scoring six goals and providing three assists. He's 15/8 to get a goal on Wednesday night. Porto's main man was Vincent Aboubakar, who scored five. Somewhat bizarrely, given Liverpool ae favourites to win the game, him and Moussa Marega are the favourites in the to score market at 7/4.
But it's hard to ignore Mo Salah. He's now on 30 goals for the season, has scored in each of his last four games and has eight goals from his last seven games. He's 6/4 and that's too good a price to leave alone.
If you're looking for slightly bigger prices, consider that no team scored more goals from set-pieces in the Group stages than Porto. So consider the big men who like to get forward at corners and free-kicks..
Danilo (10/1), Alex Telles (25/1) and Ivan Marcano (14/1) all scored from set-pieces during the group stages and could be worth a second look.