Porto’s high-scoring attack will likely be missing its biggest weapon for the match against Liverpool in the last 16 of the Champions League. Cameroon forward Vincent Aboubakar didn’t practice with the rest of the squad on Tuesday because of a lingering muscle injury and is not expected to play in Wednesday’s first leg at Estadio do Dragao.
“It will be difficult for him to play,” Porto coach Sergio Conceicao said.
Aboubakar hasn’t played in the last two matches for the Portuguese league leader, missing the derby against Sporting Lisbon in the Portuguese Cup and the league match at Chaves.
The 26-year-old forward has been in top form this season, scoring 20 goals in 28 matches with Porto. He netted five of the team’s 15 goals in the group stage of the Champions League.
Aboubakar and forward Moussa Marega have combined to score more than half of Porto’s 53 goals in the Portuguese league.
Yacine Brahimi is the other attacking player helping Porto thrive offensively this season. The team is unbeaten in its last 23 matches in all competitions.
Porto, a two-time European champion, has never beaten Liverpool in four previous attempts. It is playing in the last 16 of the European competition for the second season in a row, and is trying to make it to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2014-15.
“We are playing against a very strong team, with a budget of more than 200 million euros ($245 million),” Conceicao said. “But these are two traditional clubs, and my players give me the confidence to think that we can advance.”
Five-time European champion Liverpool, looking to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2008-09, scored 23 goals in the group stage, but that was before it lost playmaker Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.
“This is what we dreamed about last summer and now we are here,” Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp said. “We have to be very wary of Porto, a very physical team, strong, well organized and always with a plan. We need to get a result here.”