Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp is not planning widespread changes to his Liverpool side for their second meeting against Porto OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images


  • Reds hold a significant lead in last-16 tie after winning the first leg 5-0 in Portugal.
  • Return fixture takes place on 6 March, four days before Liverpool visit Manchester United in the Premier League.
  • Klopp insists he will not rest players and plans to field a strong side in both matches.

Jurgen Klopp looks set to resist the urge to rest his most important players for the second leg of Liverpool's Champions League last-16 tie against FC Porto next week, despite the club's enormous first-leg advantage and the fact that the fixture precedes the small matter of a north-west derby clash with Manchester United.

Liverpool welcome the Primeira Liga leaders to Anfield next Tuesday [6 March] boasting a commanding 5-0 lead after a hat-trick from Sadio Mane and further goals from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah helped secure their joint-largest knockout victory in Europe's elite club competition at the Estadio do Dragao earlier this month to put one foot firmly in the quarter-finals.

Klopp has not previously been shy to rotate his squad at times this season in order to keep players fresh amid periods of heavy fixture congestion and prevent them from playing three times a week, and that second meeting with Porto may have presented an obvious opportunity for certain key performers to take the night off ahead of the trip to Old Trafford four days later.

Third-place Liverpool, who host Newcastle United in the Premier League this weekend, temporarily leapfrogged Jose Mourinho's team with a 4-1 drubbing of West Ham United on Saturday [24 February] and that forthcoming derby could be important in deciding who finishes as runners-up behind dominant leaders Manchester City.

However, Klopp insists he is planning to field a strong XI against both Porto and United but did describe criticism of Arsenal's team selection for their shock pre-Carabao Cup final Europa League last-32 second-leg defeat to Swedish minnows Ostersunds FK last week as unwarranted.

"Another week now for Newcastle, then Porto and United in one week," he was quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo. "All the people before the Porto game will tell me, 'Now you can rest him, him and him'.

"Arsenal for example, that's so unfair. They were through in the tie and had a final on Sunday yet I only hear after the game things like, 'wow that was embarrassing against a Swedish team'. But they are through in the tie and played a final on Sunday.

"That's the situation. We play Man United, we will not rest anybody. We will play a strong side against Porto and a strong side against United."

Free-scoring Liverpool should welcome back Georginio Wijnaldum and Danny Ings for a busy March schedule that also includes top-flight meetings with Crystal Palace and Watford after both players missed the win over West Ham through illness. Long-term absentee Nathaniel Clyne completed 90 minutes for Neil Critchley's Under-23s in their 4-0 Premier League 2 defeat of Stoke City on Sunday [25 February].

It was the England right-back's first appearance since the pre-season opener against Tranmere Rovers in July, since when he has been hampered by a serious back injury. He previously accompanied his teammates to Porto and then Marbella, where Liverpool held a four-day warm-weather training camp earlier this month.