The danger lights were flashing for Liverpool, one of the four English teams in the Champions League, when they were paired with Porto, AC Milan, and Atletico Madrid. Jurgen Klopp’s side, on the other hand, appear to be dead certs for the knockout stages after thrashing Porto. Once again.
Salah and Firmino each score twice as Liverpool run wild in Portugal, claiming their second Champions League victory
Following a thrilling, nerve-wracking win against Milan in the first round of the European Cup, the Reds cruised to victory in Portugal thanks to some ridiculous defence by the hosts and brilliant play by the Reds. Incredibly, Liverpool has already scored 14 goals in three games against Porto, and while this team oozes European experience, Curtis Jones, 20, has once again demonstrated that he is going to be a fantastic player. To be fair, he already has. Salah, however, has been Liverpool’s season’s most talked-about player. Salah is only one goal behind Steven Gerrard, the club’s best scorer in the competition, as he threatens to shatter all of Liverpool’s scoring records. And his dazzling form serves as a warning to Manchester City, who face Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday. Liverpool’s next European match is against Atletico Madrid on October 19, but based on what we’ve seen in Group B so far, it doesn’t appear that Klopp will have too many issues. Liverpool had made three trips to the Estadio do Dragao in the last three and a half years. The squad stunned a notoriously raucous audience with 5-0 and 4-1 victory in the knockout stages, but there was a different mood yesterday as there was social distance in the stands. Trent Alexander-Arnold has been missing for Liverpool due to a groyne problem, and he is expected to miss Sunday’s match against City.
Porto also suffered a huge setback in the warm-up when captain Pepe, 38, who had been dealing with a muscle issue, pulled up with a problem. They had to reorganise again in the 14th minute when their greatest player, right-winger Otavio, suffered an injury. Porto was penalised shortly after for their first defensive blunder. Jones cut in from the left as the home defence stood off him, looking as if he’d been playing in this Liverpool middle for years. Salah was given a simple chance to nudge the ball in after keeper Diogo Costa parried his effort and left-back Zaidu made a horrible mess of a clearance. In only his 48th appearance in the Champions League, he scored his 28th goal, but there would be more to come. Before becoming an embarrassing shambles, Porto lost confidence, sank back, and welcomed greater Liverpool pressure. Costa saved one of Andy Robertson’s shots and made a spectacular save to tip over Jordan Henderson’s shot that was heading for the top corner. However, that stop merely postponed the inevitable, as Porto’s defence showed some serious flaws without experienced Pepe in charge. Sadio Mane couldn’t believe his luck as the Porto defence and goalkeeper mistook James Milner’s cross for each other.
There was a VAR check for offside, but it was always going to stand, and the home crowd, predictably, turned against their team. The second half felt more like a scrimmage, and the third came on the hour, with Jones delivering the game’s best moment. He won possession in his own half and expertly carried the ball to the outskirts of the home area, where he spotted Salah, who took one touch before burying the ball between the legs of the keeper. Despite Liverpool’s shoddy defending, Alisson was finally defeated by a header from Mehdi Taremi following a play down the right. Substitute Roberto Firmino took advantage of goalie Diego Costa’s foolish choice to charge off his line, rolling the ball into the nett from 40 yards. Although Jones earned a goal, his shot rebounded to Firmino, who curled the ball into the corner. After an excruciatingly long wait, the goal was awarded after being signalling offside. What a stunning victory in Portugal’s second city, however you’d expect City to put Liverpool’s defence to the test in four days. Similarly, after starting the season in the same manner that they ended last season, Liverpool today appear to be in position to mount a far more formidable campaign than they did last season. The Manchester City bus driver isn’t the only one who is dreading Sunday’s journey to Anfield. Pep Guardiola and his team have every right to be concerned.
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