Friday, December 3

Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino double down and Liverpool crush Porto | Champions League


Liverpool wore black armbands in honor of Roger Hunt and paid their late former striker the best possible tribute with another ruthless and relentless defeat for Porto. Jürgen Klopp’s team is going through a supposedly tough Champions League group.

Porto rallied in the center circle after the end of their latest humiliation at the hands of Liverpool, but the words of comfort that their coach, Sérgio Conceição, was able to muster are hard to imagine. They have now lost 5-1, 4-1 and 5-0 in their three home meetings with Klopp’s team in the Champions League. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino hit the mark again as the Premier League leaders firmly seized the top of Group B.

Liverpool controlled the first half without really trying, such was the ease with which they exchanged passes under minimal pressure and opened holes in a hesitant and anxious Porto rearguard. His problems were not on the pitch.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was absent due to a groin problem that, as Klopp acknowledged, “does not look very good for the Manchester City game [on Sunday] as well as. “James Milner, 35, took his place.

Porto started with energy, as it had done in previous beatings at home by Klopp’s team. In other parallels with Liverpool’s 5-0 and 4-1 victories here in 2018 and 2019 respectively, his brilliant opening and home fan endorsement were extinguished once Klopp’s side began to dominate possession. Andy Robertson and Sadio Mané regularly combined to give a penalty effect on the left.

Porto, to be fair, was not helped by losing their captain, Pepe, 38, to a repeated leg injury during warm-up and right-back Otávio to another injury with just 14 minutes to go.

Liverpool silenced the crowd thanks to a gift from Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa. Curtis Jones cut from the left and sent an instant shot from the corner of the penalty area that Costa parried directly into Zaidu Sanusi. The unwitting left-back was still trying to figure out why his goalkeeper hadn’t pushed the ball to safety when Salah, lurking at his shoulder, threw the ball over the line from close range. It was the Egyptian international’s sixth goal in his last seven Champions League games and the 28th in 47 for Liverpool overall.

Costa was also guilty of Liverpool’s second goal, which came after a period of sustained pressure in which Jota had a capsized shot and Jones cut through Porto’s midfield before an effort was stopped. It was only a matter of time until the fragile resistance of the hosts was broken again and Milner, following his instructions to replace Alexander-Arnold to the letter, was the architect with a precision cross pass from the right.

Jones did well to keep the ball in play before Fabinho found Milner in acres of space on the opposite flank. His low crusader curved behind a statuesque defense, with two defenders not intervening and Costa followed suit behind them. His aversion to the ball left Mané with a simple tap on the back post for his fifth goal in as many appearances against the Portuguese team.

Sérgio Conceição introduced former Liverpool midfielder Marko Grujic in place of forward Toni Martínez at half-time and made two more changes 10 minutes later. In vain. Liverpool continued to cut through the flanks unopposed and their defense simply disintegrated, much to the obvious and audible chagrin of the whistling Porto fans.

Mohamed Salah shoots and Diego Costa tries to save in the match when Salah scored twice.
Mohamed Salah shoots and Diego Costa tries to save in the match when Salah scored twice. Photograph: David Ramos / Getty Images

Jota was about to capitalize on a careless defensive error shortly after the restart, forcing Costa to intervene with his legs, and the Portuguese international put the goalkeeper to the test on the half volley after Iván Marcano had not been able to cope. to a long ball in the heart of Porto. defending. The third goal came down to Jones’ aggression and vision, aided by a more terrifying defense, as the Liverpool midfielder dispossessed Sérgio Oliveira and ran into a retreating baseline. He made a pass through a disorganized and scattered defensive unit to unmarked Salah, who had time to control and choose his spot below the exposed Coast. Klopp then began to sound the changes.

Mehdi Taremi slipped past Joe Gómez, one of Liverpool’s five substitutes, to direct a Fabio Vieira cross that beat Alisson with a nose dive, but Liverpool’s superiority was quickly reestablished on the scoreboard when Firmino showed up. to the fray. The former was slowly shot from afar past Costa, who needlessly ran out of his goal as the Liverpool substitute chased a deep pass and left his goal exposed.

The keeper desperately ran back to stop Firmino’s shot, but crossed the line before he cleared the ball. Firmino’s second followed a lengthy VAR review that was initially nullified for offside when Jones’ shot veered into the Brazilian’s path away from Fabio Cardoso. Firmino fell to his knees and pointed to the sky when the goal was hit.


www.theguardian.com

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