Liverpool Slay Porto to Fire Warning to Rest of Champions League
Real Madrid’s victory in the battle of the heavyweights with Paris Saint-Germain has resulted in Liverpool’s win at Porto flying a little under the radar. It should not, as it was a truly remarkable performance.
Porto may be a shadow of the Jose Mourinho vintage that won the Champions League in 2004, but they are no rank amateurs – yet they were made to look something like that at times as the Reds ran out 5-0 winners.
Liverpool have consigned Philippe Coutinho to the memory banks and the front three of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino all got on the scoresheet – the former on three occasions – in a performance that took the breath away, but one manager Jurgen Klopp feels can be improved on.
“In the end it was a high result but I think everyone saw in the game all the moments when we were not as compact as we wanted to be and Porto was immediately strong,” Klopp told the club’s official website. “They had their moments and we scored fantastic goals in the right moment.
“Off the first goal, a counter-pressing situation – Dejan [Lovren], really spot-on, comes in front of the striker and wins the ball back. Of course then Millie [James Milner] with a fantastic strike and Mo is there for the rebound. Third goal, outstanding counter-attack. We scored the goals, they didn’t score.
”I think we had much more chances, we had more chances in the first half because we defended well most of the time.”
First-leg deficits have been overturned in the past, think PSG against Barcelona last season, but this tie will not be added to the list.
Porto had chances on the night, but a Liverpool side whose attacking options will strike fear into all sides remaining in the competition clinically picked them apart.
Bigger tests will lie ahead in the quarter finals and beyond for Klopp’s men, particularly from teams who defend with greater authority than Porto and attack with more venom. But there is no reason for the Reds to fear anyone. They were not expected to go deep in the tournament, a place in the last eight should be viewed as an achievement, and so they can approach any game without fear.
Salah, Firmino and Mane operate so well as a three, attacking with pace and intent, that they will put any opponent under pressure.
The thing that may undo the Reds is their suspect defence that has cost them so many needless goals already this term, but for the moment Klopp and his men should be allowed to revel in a performance that deserved to take headlines.
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