Porto midfielder Danilo Pereira will miss the Champions League first leg against Liverpool on Valentines Day due to an injury that will take four weeks to heal.
Heading into the two-legged round of 16 tie, Liverpool are considered favourites and with Porto missing Danilo, a very talented defensive midfielder, the Reds will be given a boost for the Portuguese leg of the tie.
Jurgen Klopp will, of course, be without Philippe Coutinho after the Brazilian’s mega-money sale to Barcelona earlier this month but with Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane not heading anywhere, the Reds will have more than enough firepower to cope with Porto.
Add £75 million signing Virgil van Dijk into the mix and Liverpool have a very strong side and one that is in form, despite a blip in Wales against Swansea.
As the Liverpool ECHO reports, Danilo will be out for up to four weeks as the muscle injury in his leg is quite serious and he is certain to miss the first leg of the Champions League tie with Jurgen Klopp’s side.
That said, given that the away leg will take place in early March, he should be fit to play in the second leg at Anfield.
The ECHO spoke to Luís Paulo Rodrigues from the zerozero.pt website about Danilo and were told: “Danilo has been Porto’s midfield powerhouse for three seasons – and played more games for the Dragoes than any player since joining the club from Marítimo.
“An integral part of Portugal’s Euro 2016 triumph, Danilo helped keep Gareth Bale quiet in the semi-final match-up with Wales the summer before last.”
While Danilo will be absent, Liverpool defenders will need to keep an eye out for Yacine Brahimi and Vincent Aboubakar in order to ensure the Reds progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Brahimi, who won BBC’s African Player of the Year award in 2014, has scored 7 goals and set up a further 7 in all comps this season. Aboubakar, on the other hand, has scored 23 and created 5.
Virgil van Dijk and co. will need to be on their best behaviour to ensure that the Portuguese outfit doesn’t run rampant as they did in the group stages, hitting AS Monaco for five.