Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is expected to make a number of changes for the clash with Porto
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is expected to make a number of changes for the clash with Porto

Liverpool are through to the Champions League knockout phase with two games to spare, meaning Jurgen Klopp can rotate his side for the visit of Porto.

They are also guaranteed to top group B regardless of what happens in their remaining games.

Placed in the so-called group of death alongside Atletico Madrid, Porto and AC Milan, Liverpool have made light work of progressing by recording four wins from four.

We have examined five players who could be given a chance on the big stage against Porto tonight.

Takumi Minamino

Japan international Takumi Minamino has been underwhelming for Liverpool since arriving from RB Salzburg in January 2020, scoring just eight times.

He spent the second half of last season on loan at Southampton after tumbling down the pecking order, impressing with two strikes in 10 outings.

This season, Minamino has caught the eye in limited appearances after scoring three goals in two Carabao Cup games and netting off the bench against Arsenal on Saturday.

Speaking after his strike against the Gunners, Klopp heaped praise on the 26-year-old.

Takumi Minamino impressed on loan at Southampton, scoring twice for the Saints
Takumi Minamino impressed on loan at Southampton, scoring twice for the Saints

He said: "You can’t imagine how happy I am with Taki. He's in an incredible moment and today he was actually our solution for four positions, I think.

"Five positions actually because he could have played both eight positions and all three upfront. He’s in a really good moment and you see that."

Caoimhin Kelleher

Ireland have two really promising goalkeepers in Caoimhin Kelleher and Gavin Bazunu. The problem is they play for clubs where world-class keepers Alisson and Ederson are the main men between the posts.

Bazunu has been getting game time on loan at Portsmouth with Zack Steffen the designated backup keeper at City. But Kelleher, 23, has stuck around at Anfield as Alisson’s deputy.

As well as outings in the domestic cups, these are the games the twice-capped Ireland international should expect to appear in.

He is at an age where he needs first-team football and will be disappointed if he does not get some with Liverpool already guaranteed to top Group B.

Ibrahima Konate

With Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk looking set as Liverpool’s first-choice centre-back partnership, summer signing Ibrahima Konate has found opportunities limited on Merseyside.

After recovering from last season’s injury crisis, Liverpool now have impressive depth in the position.

Ibrahima Konate's defensive stats in his first three Premier League appearances highlight his potential
Ibrahima Konate's defensive stats in his first three Premier League appearances highlight his potential

As a result, Konate — signed from RB Leipzig for £36million in May — has clocked up only 270 minutes of Premier League action so far this campaign and is yet to feature in the Champions League.

The France Under-21s international ranks fourth among all Premier League centre-backs for possession regains in the middle third per 90 minutes — indicative of his reading of the game when stepping up.

The Paris-born defender will be hoping to make his European bow at Anfield this evening.

Neco Williams

Wing-back Neco Williams was one of Wales’ standout players as they qualified for the World Cup qualifying playoffs, giving them a chance to make their first appearance at the tournament since 1958.

He did not feature against Arsenal due to his exertions for his country but could be back in contention for Porto.

Williams has shown he can play on both sides of the pitch as a full-back or a winger, with his best performances for his country coming as an inverted wing-back on the left.

This adds to Liverpool’s options and with Kostas Tsimikas currently standing in for the injured Andy Robertson, using Williams at left-back is a possibility.

Divock Origi

Striker Divock Origi has been used sparingly by Liverpool this season
Striker Divock Origi has been used sparingly by Liverpool this season

Divock Origi has given a timely reminder of his quality this term with goals against Norwich and Preston in the Carabao Cup and a consolation strike against West Ham in the league.

The Belgian has cult hero status at Liverpool thanks to goals in their run to Champions League glory in 2019, as well as a somewhat fortuitous late Merseyside derby winner the previous year.

Despite never hitting double figures in the Premier League, Origi, 26, has remained at Anfield to provide much-needed back-up to Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

This game may give him the chance to further his reputation at the club — and his value ahead of any potential sale.

Tags

LiverpoolPremier LeagueJurgen KloppTakumi MinaminoNeco WilliamsCaoimhin KelleherIbrahima KonateDivock Origi

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