Georginio Wijnaldum is determined to help Liverpool secure a positive result at the Estadio do Dragao on Wednesday - but the midfielder knows their Champions League last-16 tie will not be settled until FC Porto visit Anfield next month.
Europe’s elite club competition resumes this week, with the Reds facing the challenge of visiting a side who sit unbeaten at the top of their domestic league and who have lost just once at home across all competitions this season.
But with a second leg to come on Tuesday March 6, Wijnaldum believes that both teams will still have plenty to play for in L4 - regardless of the outcome in Portugal.
“I think that’s the most important thing,” the Netherlands international told Liverpoolfc.com, after being asked whether it’s significant to keep in mind the fact Wednesday’s clash only represents the first half of the tie.
“The game will not be decided in one leg, it’s over two legs. In the first leg you must make sure you have a good result for the second leg. That’s what we have to do because you know you can’t win it in one leg. You can see with other games and other clubs that strange things can happen.
“Last season, PSG against Barcelona - everybody already thought that Barcelona was out [after the first leg] but they still changed it. So I think the most important thing is to have a good result for the next game.”
Wijnaldum also stressed that the prospect of playing the second leg in front of their own fans will not affect the way in which Liverpool approach this week’s game.
“No, not really, because you can look at two sides of it. On one side, you can think ‘OK, first it’s the away game and I think that’ll be more difficult and we can finish it at Anfield’, but on the other side you can also say ‘OK, if we start at Anfield we can have a good start and then we can finish it in Portugal’,” he explained.
“I don’t think it matters where you’re playing first, you must get a result.”
He did, however, acknowledge that scoring an away goal would be advantageous to Jürgen Klopp’s team ahead of the second meeting in three weeks’ time.
“I think if you score away it’s already a good result because it counts more than when you score at home,” Wijnaldum said.
“We will try to score but that’s what we try in every game. I don’t think we’re going to change much, we’re just going to do what we’ve done all season.”
Including their two-legged qualification play-off with Hoffenheim back in August, the Reds are yet to taste defeat in eight Champions League outings so far this season.
They eventually topped Group E - racking up a British record haul of 23 goals in the process - by three points, but went into their final pool game against Spartak Moscow needing a win to be sure of their place in the first knockout round.
And Wijnaldum insists that Klopp’s squad have learned plenty about the high calibre of the sides competing in the tournament - another of which they will come up against on Wednesday.
“It was a really tough group,” the 27-year-old, who has started seven of the Reds' eight Champions League fixtures this term, recalled.
“I think you had groups that were tougher than ours, but still you could see that Sevilla away, we were 3-0 up but in the end we played 3-3. That shows the quality of a team like Sevilla, [the kind of] team you can meet in the Champions League.
“I think Porto’s also going to be difficult. They’ve reached the next stage of this tournament so we have to be aware of how good they can be. Everyone who’s reached this stage I think is a good team.
“They’ll take confidence from [the fact that] they didn’t lose a game [in their domestic league season]. I think it’s a good group, a good team. I don’t know a lot of them but we’re going to analyse them and I think as a team we’re going to know them better.
“Now we’re going to focus on Porto, analyse them and we can see what are their strengths and their weaknesses.”