Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino fire Liverpool to first-leg victory over Porto

Naby Keita (right) and Roberto Firmino (left) both found the scoresheet in Liverpool’s victory over Porto
Naby Keita (right) and Roberto Firmino (left) both found the scoresheet in Liverpool’s victory over Porto

Liverpool took control of their Champions League quarter-final tie with a 2-0 first-leg victory over Porto.

Naby Keita’s deflected strike after just five minutes and Roberto Firmino’s tap-in midway through the first-half meant it was a fairly comfortable evening for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Porto striker Moussa Marega did cause issues for Dejan Lovren and Virgil Van Dijk, and had a number of opportunities to test Alisson in the Liverpool goal but his finishing was wasteful.

It was not a vintage Liverpool display, but they head to Portugal next week as the overwhelming favourites to progress to the semi-final stage for the second consecutive campaign.

AS IT HAPPENED: Liverpool 2-0 Porto

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All the talk in the build-up had been that Porto were no pushovers, despite the comfortable 5-0 aggregate win for Liverpool in the last-16 stage last year.

But it took the Reds just five minutes to open the scoring in this season’s tie, although they needed a huge slice of luck. Milner spread the ball wide to Sadio Mane, he crossed the ball for Firmino, who in turn teed up Keita on the edge of the box.

Keita’s effort struck Eder Militao and looped into the top corner, leaving Iker Casillas with no chance and calming any Anfield nerves.

Firmino had the simple task of putting Liverpool 2-0 up from close range
Firmino had the simple task of putting Liverpool 2-0 up from close range

Mo Salah then passed up a glorious chance to double their lead 15 minutes later. The Egyptian was alert to pounce on a loose back-pass and shrugged off the covering Felipe, only to slide the ball past Casillas and the post when he looked destined to score.

Just five minutes later and it was two though, with skipper Jordan Henderson the architect of a brilliantly simple team goal.

He slipped in an inch-perfect ball between Porto’s left-back and centre-back, Alexander-Arnold crossed for Firmino, who passed the ball across the face of goal for Firmino who could not miss.

But Porto quickly reminded Liverpool all was not over. Marega, who had scored in six consecutive Champions League games prior to the clash at Anfield, passed up two glorious chances.

Porto striker Moussa Marega had three efforts saved by Alisson
Porto striker Moussa Marega had three efforts saved by Alisson

Alisson’s left foot denied him at first after he was slid in behind the Reds’ defence, before he shot straight at the Brazilian as Liverpool failed to clear a corner and left the striker unmarked in the box.

Liverpool came out firing immediately after the break and thought they had a third when Mane found the back of the net after taking down an inch-perfect Henderson pass, only to be flagged offside. Replays showed the assistant was correct.

The second period was not as frantic as the first as Porto dropped deeper and Liverpool struggled to break them down. Neat football between Salah and Alexander-Arnold down the right looked to have set the right-back free, only for a heavy first touch to let him down.

Salah then had a goal bound shot blocked inadvertently by Henderson, before Marega twice passed up good opportunities – one saved by Alisson and the other blasted over.

Liverpool rarely threatened the Porto goal in the second half but with a two-goal advantage and no away goals conceded, Klopp will be pleased with the professional performance.

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