Solid Liverpool ease to first leg victory over Porto
First half goals from Keita and Firmino put Liverpool in the driving seat going into their Champions League second leg with Porto next week in Portugal.
The hosts made a sublime start after only five minutes played as James Milner’s pinpoint pass found Sadio Mane out wide. The Senegalese toe poked to strike-partner Firmino, who had the vision and awareness to tee up Naby Keita, whose deflected strike sent the Anfield crowd into hysterics.
That was only the Guinea midfielder’s second goal for the club, after scoring his first goal for Liverpool on Friday in the 3-1 away win at Southampton.
Liverpool continued to power forward and went close as Mohamed Salah’s half volleyed drive outside the area was scooped up by Porto’s legendary goalkeeper, Iker Casillas.
Porto then clumsily gave the ball away enabling Salah the perfect one on one opportunity with Casillas, but he could only spin his shot wide. The Egyptian knew he should have scored.
Jurgen Klopp’s Premiership-Champions League double chasers then scored an exquisite second as Henderson’s through ball found Alexander-Arnold, who slotted the ball across goal perfectly for Firmino to tap home and make it 2-0 to Liverpool.
Porto then counter attacked and Moussa Marega’s low shot was fantastically saved by the feet of Alisson.
Shortly after, Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold was under the microscope of the video assistant referee for potential handball but the technology declared no penalty.
Marega then had another glorious chance but shot straight at Alisson as Liverpool went into half-time satisfied with their first half performance.
Liverpool scored straight after half-time only to be denied by the linesman for what was a very tight, but correct offside call. Henderson’s fine lobbed pass over the Porto defence and into the box, was half volleyed home in the bottom corner by Sadio Mane.
It’s a shame Mane’s goal didn’t stand. It was only a half a yard offside, otherwise it would have been a beautiful third goal for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Liverpool kept the clean sheet which ensured they prevented conceding the crucial away goal and will go to Porto next week enthusiastic about getting the job done.
On a night when Tottenham defeated Man City, 1-0 at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium through Son Heung-Min’s late strike, Liverpool will be hoping this surprise loss for Guardiola’s quadruple chasers throws them off course.
Especially this weekend as Crystal Palace aim to hopefully do Liverpool favour by beating City, Liverpool will again turn their attentions to their important title pursuit.
Liverpool 2 vs 0 FC Porto
Keita 5, Firmino 26
Competition: Champions League
Date: Tuesday 9th April 2019
Man of the Match: Jordan Henderson. His passing ability tonight was sublime, as it was on Friday when Liverpool beat Southampton. The England midfielder was at the heart of everything good about Liverpool and it must be questioned why Klopp hasn’t given him license to attack more often this season.
James Spencer, Thoughts from the Stands
Hi my name is James Spencer and I am a huge Liverpool fan since I was a small boy!
Steven Gerrard was my favourite player growing up and I watched all the fantastic finals that Liverpool won under Houllier and Benitez! I also liked Jerzy Dudek, Sami Hyypia, Luis Garcia and Xabi Alonso.
Some massive matches still to come in April, starting with our clash with Chelsea this Sunday
Sunday 14th April
Liverpool 16:30 Chelsea – Live On Sky
Wednesday 17th April
UEFA Champions League
FC Porto 20:00 Liverpool – Live On BT Sport
Sunday 21st April
Cardiff City 16:00 Liverpool – Live On Sky
Friday 26th April
Liverpool 20:00 Huddersfield Town – Live On Sky