• Experienced centre-back returned to training at Olival yesterday after recovering from a thigh injury.
  • Marcano: "I'm ready so now it's up to the coach to decide who plays".
  • Porto top scorer Aboubakar is a major doubt for the first leg, while Danilo and Felipe are definitely out.

In-form FC Porto have received a timely injury boost ahead of the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Liverpool on Wednesday night (14 February) after experienced defender Ivan Marcano declared himself fit for the match at the Estadio do Dragao.

A regular fixture in Sergio Conceicao's defence, the versatile Spanish centre-back has not played since the Taca da Liga semi-final defeat to Sporting CP on 24 January due to a thigh problem, missing the goalless draw with Moreirense and subsequent wins over Braga, Sporting and Chaves.

Diego Antonio Reyes has deputised alongside Felipe in Marcano's absence, but the 30-year-old insists he is ready for Porto's first European knockout clash with Liverpool since the quarter-finals of the 2000-01 Uefa Cup after returning to training at Olival.

"I'm ready [after a knock] so now it's up to the coach to decide who plays," he told reporters at a pre-match press conference, as relayed by Uefa's official website.

"I am physically OK. At no point did I think about not playing this game; I was always hopeful [of regaining my fitness and being ready]."

Marcano's return to fitness comes at a good time for Porto, who will be without the suspended Felipe against Liverpool after the Brazilian defender was sent off following an altercation with Rachid Ghezzal during the 5-2 Group G thrashing of AS Monaco in December. Andre Andre has also been dealing with an injury of late.

Conceicao confirmed, per Reuters, that defensive midfielder Danilo would not be fit for the first leg as he continues to nurse a calf problem suffered in that aforementioned penalty shootout defeat to rivals Sporting.

Perhaps most significantly, he also admitted that it was "unlikely" that Vincent Aboubakar will be available to face Jurgen Klopp's side. The Cameroon forward currently stands as Porto's leading scorer having notched 26 goals in just 33 appearances across all competitions so far this term, although he missed Sunday's [12 February] 4-0 Primeira Liga demolition of Chaves with an unidentified muscle issue.

While Marcano was back training without limitations yesterday, Porto confirmed via their official website that Danilo continued to receive treatment and that Aboubakar was restricted to conditioning training and gym work.

Liverpool, meanwhile, will assess the fitness of defenders Joe Gomez (knee) and Ragnar Klavan (thigh) before the game in Portugal. Emre Can is suspended as the result of his booking in the 7-0 thrashing of Spartak Moscow, while Nathaniel Clyne has travelled but will not feature as he continues his recovery from a long-term back injury.

Loris Karius is set to continue ahead of Simon Mignolet between the posts and Virgil van Dijk should make his debut in Europe's elite club competition for the Reds.

Ivan Marcano
Ivan Marcano joined manager Sergio Conceicao at a press conference on the eve of Porto's meeting with Liverpool Getty Images