PORTO 1-5 LIVERPOOL: The Reds thrashed their Portuguese opponents yet again to take control of their Champions League group on a night that gave Jurgen Klopp plenty to enjoy
How Porto must hate it when Liverpool come to town.
Following on from the 5-0 success in the 2017-18 season, and then 4-1 in 2018-19 – both seasons when Liverpool got to the Champions League final, incidentally – came this 5-1 victory over bewildered opponents as the Reds dominated pretty much from start to finish.
Mohamed Salah’s brace and a Sadio Mane strike gave the Reds full control after an hour, and after Porto threatened some sort of a comeback by pulling a goal back, substitute Roberto Firmino went and added two more goals.
It was a terrific night for the Reds and Jurgen Klopp, who would have seen plenty to be happy about.
1. The Curtis Jones swagger suits the European stage
There was a show of faith in Curtis Jones after the youngster impressed in the weekend draw at Brentford, where he scored and was then somewhat strangely taken off immediately.
Perhaps Klopp had this game in mind when he did so though, as the academy graduate was key to the moments which allowed Liverpool to grow into the game and overcome what was a determined start from their hosts.
Drifting in off the left, Jones showed all his abilities and his now-famed Scouse swagger which has so endeared him to the supporters.
He was crucial in both of the goals in the first half and then Salah’s in the second, and at a time when there are midfield vacancies he’s certainly making his case.
2. Grabbing the second goal
Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
Jordan Henderson expressed his frustrations at Liverpool’s failure to take a 2-1 and 3-2 lead into 3-1 and 4-2 when they had the chances at Brentford, and it seems like the players were listening to their captain.
As the clock ticked towards the break there would have been disappointment that the visitors’ domination hadn’t resulted in a second goal, but then James Milner crossed and Mane was there to bundle home.
It was no less than Liverpool deserved, and it helped drive a wedge between the Reds and their hosts, who were suddenly given no hope of a comeback.
Getting a second goal when Liverpool are on top is something that would make Klopp’s life a lot easier.
3. Sadio Mane stays in the groove
The scorer of that second goal would have pleased Klopp too.
It has been widely accepted that Mane has been a little off his game of late, both at the tail end of last season and often at the beginning of this one.
He has still been scoring despite a raft of missed chances – that game at Leeds springs to mind – but he’s still been getting the opportunities, and his constant plugging away got its reward.
4. Roberto Firmino looks sharp
Well, he always looks sharp, but you know what we mean.
The Brazilian was terrific when he came off the bench, scoring that comedy opening goal and then bagging the second as the ball bounced around the box.
Firmino has taken his time to come back from his recent hamstring issue, but this was a message to Klopp that he’s ready to start at home to Manchester City on Sunday, when you’d certainly expect him to.