Porto have suffered a significant injury blow ahead of next month’s Champions League round of 16 tie with Liverpool after midfielder Danilo was ruled out for a month with a leg injury. The Portugal international suffered an injury in last night’s league cup clash with Sporting Lisbon, as Porto were beaten 4-3 on penalty-shootouts in the semi-finals.
Danilo is one of the regular starters at Porto and his loss would be a significant one for the club. He has made 29 appearances for Porto this season, helping them to a one-point lead over Sporting at the top of the Primeira Liga. The 26-year-old’s muscle injury is going to take at least four weeks to recover, meaning he will certainly miss the first leg tie against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at the Estadio do Dragao on February 14.
However, given the injury is not grave, Danilo could return by the last week of February and become available for the return leg at Anfield on March 6.
Speaking about Danilo’s significance at Porto, Portuguese journalist Luis Paulo Rodrigues told the Liverpool Echo:
“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.”
The Portuguese workhorse’s injury is surely a huge blow to Sergio Conceicao’s side but it comes as a massive boost for Liverpool. Danilo has been their chief in the midfield; does the donkeywork of breaking the opposition attacks, often setting up his team for the counter.
The Portuguese international’s injury means Klopp would now ask all our players to play with more freedom and nick an away goal or two. Given that the first leg is in Portugal, our team’s main aim should be to try and not concede a goal.
In every sense, Danilo’s absence is a mighty loss for Porto but could act as an extra drive for the Reds ahead of the mouthwatering Champions League clash in February.