Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
“We always respect the competition but we have to think about ourselves and our schedule and the situation of our players first,” said the Liverpool manager in his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League clash.
“We didn't make these decisions yet, to be honest, because, how we all know, in this time of the season, the medical department has a big hand in line-ups.”
The starting line-up that Klopp selects will be intriguing.
The Reds are already safely into the last 16 of the competition with two matches to spare - finishing top of Group B to boot.
But with the prize money on offer, coupled with a chance to build momentum after the 4-0 thrashing of Arsenal on Saturday, Liverpool will be determined to win.
Klopp may look for a happy medium when it comes to his XI. Some regulars will play while it’s a chance to rest various key players.
Here’s how we think Liverpool will look against Porto at Anfield this evening (20.00 GMT).
There could be a temptation to give Caoimhin Kelleher an opportunity between the posts. The Republic of Ireland international has only played two games this season and needs minutes to continue his encouraging development.
However, Klopp will be wary of having an experienced head if he’s to make changes elsewhere.
Alisson is regarded as a leader in the dressing room. It could turn out that the Brazilian is given the captain’s armband the Reds given their injury problems.
Klopp won’t want to make too many switches in the rearguard as it can cause imbalance.
Virgil van Dijk was surprisingly rested in the Champions League opener against AC Milan.
He’s had a busy season after his return from a serious knee injury and a breather wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Ibrahima Konate is contenders to come in alongside Joel Matip.
It’s unlikely that Andy Robertson will be risked again with the festive period around the corner so Kostas Tsimikas should continue at left-back.
On the opposite flank, Neco Williams might be given a rare outing.
He’s firmly deputy to Trent Alexander-Arnold but has Champions League experience behind him and helped Wales draw 1-1 with Belgium - who are top of the FIFA World Rankings - earlier this month.
With James Milner, Naby Keita (both hamstring) and Curtis Jones (eye) all still out, Klopp’s again short of options.
Jordan Henderson came on to see the game out against Arsenal but Klopp gave the impression he’d rather not risk his skipper.
Youngster Tyler Morton is an option to make a Champions League debut following a Premier League bow in the win over the Gunners.
Yet it’ll be important Liverpool dictate the engine room so Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should all remain.
With Roberto Firmino out, Liverpool are already a player short.
Divock Origi was unavailable for the Arsenal clash because of illness. If he’s over that, the Belgian could be given a chance leading the line after Diogo Jota suffered a knock against the Gunners.
Takumi Minamino must have felt like a weight was lifted from his shoulders when he netted just seconds after entering the fray on Saturday.
The Japan international’s had a frustrating time this season but is highly regarded by Klopp and has been promised more minutes.
Minamino could come in for Sadio Mane on the left flank.
That would leave Mo Salah retaining his spot on the right-hand side. The Egyptian will be eyeing more goals, having already plundered 16 this season.
Alisson, Williams, Konate, Matip, Tsimikas, Fabinho, Thiago, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Salah, Origi, Minamino.