Liverpool entered this Round of 16 tie against FC Porto hoping to get a positive result since they were going to decide the tie in Anfield Road. However, The Reds took advantage of Porto’s defensive problems and enjoyed one of their best performances of the campaign. A hat-trick from Sadio Mane, and goals from both Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah pushed Liverpool to a huge 5-0 win in Portugal.
With 90 minutes left to play in the second half, it’s safe to say the tie is all but over. But the beginning of the match didn’t look as overmatched as it ended.
Liverppol takes the lead despite Porto’s impressive start
Porto looked like the better side during the first 20 minutes. Otavio, Yacine Brahimi and Moussa Marega cpmplicated Liverpool’s defensive line time and time again, but they did not generate many scoring chances. In fact, Porto’s clearer scoring chance came in the 10th minute when Otavio shot from inside the box, but a key save from the defence deflected a shot that looked like it would have gone in.
Liverpool began to settle afterwards, and by the 20th minute mark the game was quite even. The Reds were struggling to move into the opposing final third, but looked composed on the ball and it seemed as if it was only a matter of time before they scored the first goal. And the Merseyside broke the deadlock in the 25th minute. Georginio Wijnaldum sneaked into the box but the ball bounced off a defender. Sadio Mane was there to pounce on the rebound, and blasted a shot towards Jose Sa’s goal. The goalkeeper could not save the Senegalese’s shot – even though he should have done a better job – and out of nowhere Liverpool got on top 1-0.
A quick second goal shatters Porto’s morale
Porto could not react, and Liverpool took advantage to add a second goal. James Milner found himself with enough space to get into the box and blasted a curling effort into the top corner, but the ball rattled off the crossbar. Fortunately for them, the rebound fell straight to Salah who didn’t have problems to place the ball past Sa. Liverpool only needed four minutes to build a huge two-goal advantage.
The Reds moved the ball around comfortably knowing they had a two-goal lead. Porto could not react and they looked sluggish going forward, but they still managed to create decent chances. Tiquinho had arguably the team’s clearer scoring opportunity late in the second half, but his attempt went wide when Loris Karius was absolutely beaten. Despite Porto’s attempts, the first half ended with a comfortable 2-0 lead for Liverpool.
Sadio Mané steals the show in the second half
Porto decided to make a change in the second half, as Jesus Corona replaced Otavio at the break. The Portuguese side looked positive in the second half, but Liverpool once again created havoc as soon as they had a chance. A swift counter attack led by Salah found Roberto Firmino at the edge of the box and even though the Brazilian couldn’t score, the rebound once again fell to Sane who made it 3-0 in 53 minutes. Porto’s improved approach didn’t even last 10 minutes and even though they maintained it, Liverpool continued to dominate the game.
Porto looked absolutely overmatched the rest of the way, and they were not able to represent any sort of a threat in the final meters. Despite the fact they made substitutions looking to spark things up, Liverpool were absolutely dominant in the final third and created havoc every time they approached into the opposing box.
Roberto Firmino bagged a fourth goal with a low shot from the penalty spot after a great passing sequence. And Mane had one more trick up their sleeve, when he blasted a huge shot from outside the box that made it 5-0 nearing the end of the match. Liverpool’s performance was impressive and even though the final score was a bit excessive, there is no question The Reds deserved to win here.
With a 5-0 goal lead and considering all of them are away goals, Jurgen Klopp can start thinking about the quarterfinals. He deserves it after such a brilliant performance from his players.
FC Porto: Jose Sá (4); Ricardo Pereira (4), Reyes (3), Marcano (4), Alex Telles (4); Sergio Oliveira (4), Herrera (5); Marega (5), Otávio (6) (Corona (5), 46′), Brahimi (5) (Majeed (4), 62′); Tiquinho (5) (Paciencia (-), 74′)
Liverpool: Karius (6); Alexander-Arnold (6) (Gomez (-), 79′), Lovren (6), van Dijk (7), Robertson (5); Milner (7), Wijnaldum (7), Henderson (6) (Matip (-), 75′); Salah (7), Firmino (7) (Ings (-), 80′), Mane (8)
Goals: Sane (1-0, 25′), Salah (2-0, 29′). Sane (3-0, 53′), Firmino (70′, 4-0), Mane (5-0, 85′)
Referee: Daniele Orsato (Italy)
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None
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