Georginio Wijnaldum reflected on Liverpool’s pairing with FC Porto in the Champions League quarter-finals and outlined why he believes it’ll prove a ‘different’ tie to the meeting last term.
The Reds overcame the Portuguese champions en route to reaching the final in Kiev in 2017-18 at the last-16 stage, winning the first leg emphatically by scoring five times without reply at the Estadio do Dragao.
A goalless draw at Anfield in the return confirmed Jürgen Klopp’s side progression into the last eight – and while Wijnaldum feels their performance away from home was one of their finest of the campaign, he contends the complexion of the contest will be much changed this time around.
He told Liverpoolfc.com: “They are a good team, we played them last season and this season it will be difficult and different to last. We will analyse them and see how we have to play against them.
“The first game we played against them last season was a really good game. The first goal we were a little bit lucky, but after that we had a lot of confidence and played a really good game, scoring five goals. It was really good, one of the best we played last season.
“It has an advantage for both teams because they know what they can expect from us and we know what we can expect from them.
“It is going to be more difficult than last season because they know how we play and our threats, but every game is different. For them and for us. Both teams have to adapt to the situation.
“We can be a threat for everyone – but everyone can be a threat for us. If we don’t give 100 per cent or not focused we can be beaten, but if we are focused and give 100 per cent we can beat anybody.”
Liverpool will host Porto at Anfield on Tuesday April 9 before the return in Portugal on Wednesday April 17.
The Reds are one of four Premier League representatives in the last eight of this season’s tournament – and Wijnaldum believes that is testament to the strength of England’s top division.
“Especially this year, you can see the competition is really tough in the league,” said the No.5.
“If you look at the teams that are playing to win the league this year, it is a big competition. In the middle of the league is a big competition and the teams fighting against relegation are in a big competition.
“Every game, you will play against a team who will fight for something so that makes it more competitive. I think it’s the best league in the world now, the Premier League.”