18 September 2007

Porto v Liverpool: Head to head

Porto v Liverpool (THE DAILY MAIL)

Liverpool and Porto are expected to be battling it out for Group A supremacy, with both sides among the recent winners of the Champions League.
Here we see how the sides match up in three key areas.

Rafael Benitez first came to the attention as a major force in the European game when he blew the Real Madrid/Barcelona duopoly in Spain during his time with Valencia.
His tactical nous and inventive use of formations and players earned him plenty of respect in Spain - a trick he has repeated in England with Liverpool.
Despite a good start to the season domestically his success with the Reds has been predominantly in cup competitions.
He has a superb record in knockout tournaments and the club's displays in the Champions League is second to none in the last three years.
Porto's Jesualdo Ferreira is a vastly experienced coach, having worked as assistant manager of Portugal and with the under-21s. He won the title in his first year as Porto boss and previously cut his teeth at Benfica and Boavista.

Liverpool are England's most successful side in Europe, with five European Cups adorning the Anfield trophy cabinet.
While four of those came between 1997 and 1984 the already legendary 2005 win over AC Milan, followed by a second appearance in the final last season - a defeat to the same opponents - make them one of the most dominant sides recent years.
Former Porto manager Jose Mourinho gave the Portuguese club a glory day of their own in 2004, leading them to a classic underdog victory by lifting the 2004 Champions League trophy.
They claimed the UEFA Cup one year previously, and with a European Cup win to their name in 1987, they are clearly a club who can mix it up with more established sides.

Liverpool's start to the season has been their best in recent memory, with an unbeaten record from their opening five league outings.
The 6-0 win over Derby showcased Benitez's side - and his fine collection of summer signings - at their very best, but Saturday's 0-0 with Portsmouth proved they cannot expect to score at will.
There are still some questions over their best XI but with the Spaniard favouring rotation these may never be answered.
Porto's players come into the match on the back of successive victories, with clean sheets in both after a 3-0 win over Uniao Leiria and a 1-0 triumph over Maritimo.

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