Liverpool are through to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League after plodding through a drab second leg tie against Porto. Jurgen Klopp’s men carried a huge 5-0 advantage over from the first leg, and it quickly became obvious that this was going to be an easy night at the office for the side currently in third position in the Premier League.
Many fans were already questioning the stark contrast in quality between the English side and the Portuguese giants after a first leg which saw goals from Mane, Salah and Firmino put the 2004 UCL winners to the sword.
Going through the motions
While it was always going to be an uphill challenge the knockout stages of the Champions League don’t come around all too often, so it seemed as if Porto may go for it from the first whistle. Unfortunately for their loyal supporters, the Reds were able to neutralise anything that resembled an attack in the first 45 minutes, and they began to cruise through a relatively dull opening half. The most notable moment came when Sadio Mane was able to control a delightful pass from James Milner before striking it against the woodwork.
It was hardly surprising to see that this wasn’t a full-strength Liverpool side considering they’re facing Manchester United at the weekend, and they weren’t all too eager to go forward themselves as they failed to register a single shot on target in the first half, which is the second time they’d managed that following their draw against Chelsea earlier on in the campaign. Thankfully, though, this didn’t put off the Porto fans who made the most of their trip to the British Isles.
Liverpool keep it simple
In the second half things slowly became more lively, as Liverpool began to piece together some nice exchanges in what was starting to feel like a pre-season affair. Both sides made a handful of changes after the break, with some being confused as to why Mohamed Salah was given a run-out ahead of the crucial clash against United this weekend.
To their credit Liverpool also defended well, blocking off a few big chances towards the end of the 90 minutes. Klopp promised beforehand that they’d treat the second leg as if the aggregate score was 0-0, and while that wasn’t entirely the case, they should be proud of picking up their fifth clean sheet in their last six European games this season.
In what can only be described as one of the poorest games in Europe so far this season, Liverpool managed to avoid any complications and put in a professional performance against Porto. While there will certainly be tougher challenges ahead, the Reds will go into the last eight with all of the confidence in the world as they wait to see who they’ll take on.
It finally seems like Klopp is beginning to maintain some consistency at Anfield, as Liverpool continue to quietly carve out a successful season for themselves. Next up comes arguably their biggest game of the season at Old Trafford, before two more winnable games against Watford and Crystal Palace.
Liverpool: Karius (7); Gomez (6), Matip (6), Lovren (6.5), Moreno (6.5); Milner (7), Henderson (6), Can (6) (Klavan (N/A), 81′); Lallana (6), Mane (6), (Salah (7), 74′), Firmino (5.5), (Ings (6.5), 62′)
Porto: Casillas (6.5); Pereira (6), Felipe (6), Reyes (6.5), Dalot (6); Oliver (6), Andre (5), (Oliveira (6), 62′), Corona (6), Waris (5.5), (Ricardo (6), 68′); Costa (6), Aboubakar (6), (Paciencia (N/A), 81′)
Referee: Felix Zwayer
Yellow Cards: Andre (34′), Henderson (60′), Dalot (90+2)
Red Cards: N/A
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!