Leicester City will bank on the inside knowledge and goal threat of Porto’s nemesis Islam Slimani ahead of their Champions League Group G clash on Tuesday.
Slimani, who joined Leicester from Sporting Lisbon for a club record fee in the transfer window, scored six goals against Sporting’s arch-rivals Porto during his time in Portugal, earning the nickname “The Dragon slayer”.
A brace from Riyad Mahrez helped Leicester to a 3-0 win over Club Bruges on their Champions League debut, but manager Claudio Ranieri expects a tougher fight from the double champions from Portugal.
“I spoke with Slimani about Porto. We have a lot of respect for Porto. They’re more experienced in Europe. They play so many matches,” the Italian told reporters on Monday.
“They are used to staying at the top of their league. They won six titles. We respect a lot but we try to win. Also Porto try to win,” Ranieri added.
“Slimani is going to play tomorrow. He’s a goalscorer against Porto. I’m sure it would be a very good threat to them.”
Midfielder Marc Albrighton, who opened the scoring against Bruges, said the English champions, who lost 4-1 at Manchester United on Saturday, must avoid complacency.
“Porto will be as tough. We’ve got to be organised and compact. Going into this game we’ve done our work and what we need to know,” he said.
“Three points is the aim. We got off to a great start but the bread and butter is at home and you have to win your home games to progress.
“In Bruges, it was a surreal feeling to hear the theme tune. It’s special and adds more spice to the game. It makes you want to go further and want more.
“Your senior players are important in every game. You need players to have played in the competition before.”
Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has returned to training after recovering from a groin injury.
“Schmeichel trained normally today. Let me think tonight. You know I decide the night before to see if he’s available tomorrow,” Ranieri added. (Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)