Porto 1-5 Liverpool: Salah and Firmino strike twice as ruthless Reds run riot
Liverpool once again put Porto to the sword as they made it back-to-back wins at the start of a new Champions League campaign, coasting to a 5-1 victory at the Estadio do Dragao.
The Reds had come out on top in a five-goal thriller in their Group B opener against Milan at Anfield, yet there were no such nerves on Tuesday against opponents they have made a habit of beating through the years.
Jurgen Klopp was in charge for 5-0 and 4-1 wins on Portuguese soil when steering Liverpool to successive final appearances in the competition in 2018 and 2019, and this year's squad appear on course to make the knockout stages once more.
Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino scored twice, the latter after coming on as a substitute, while Sadio Mane was also on target, making it five goals for him in as many appearances against Porto.
The result should not come as too much of a surprise, considering Porto had not managed a win in the previous eight meetings. The hosts were dealt a blow when Pepe was ruled out with an injury suffered in the warm-up, while Otavio's outing was cut short after 14 minutes.
Not long after the enforced change, Liverpool went ahead. Curtis Jones' low shot was parried by Diogo Costa onto team-mate Zaidu Sanusi, leaving Salah with a simple close-range finish.
The Porto goalkeeper did do better to deny Jordan Henderson a goal to mark his 400th appearance for the club, turning the visiting captain's fierce free-kick away, but his failure to cut out James Milner's low cross allowed Mane to tap home before the interval.
Salah slotted away his second of the game on the hour before heading to the bench and while Mehdi Taremi headed in to pull a goal back, it only served to anger Liverpool into a response.
Costa rounded out a shocking performance by straying from his area to try to reach Jones' throughball, allowing Firmino to roll the ball into an unguarded net. The Brazilian added another just four minutes later when reacting quickly to a deflection, though only after a VAR check for offside.
What does it mean? Liverpool show ruthless edge to seize control
After a frantic 3-3 draw away at Brentford on Saturday – a game in which Liverpool trailed early before getting level, then twice let slip leads in the second half – this was far more routine for Klopp and his players.
Such was his team's dominance, the German was able to substitute Salah, Mane and Milner with a weekend clash with Manchester City in mind, the latter set to deputise again for the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold for the visit of the Premier League champions to Merseyside.
Salah stays hot to surpass Eto'o
Thanks to his double, Salah moves on to 31 Champions League goals in his career, putting him clear of Samuel Eto’o for second place on the all-time list for African players in the competition. Only Didier Drogba (44) has managed more.
The Egyptian has also now scored in each of his last six appearances for Liverpool. That is the first time a player has netted in six in a row for the club since April 2018, when Salah himself managed to do so for seven successive games.
Costa goes cold as Porto roll over
Porto were largely toothless in attack and porous at the back, not aided by the performance of a keeper who could have done better with at least three of the goals he conceded.
He saved just 61 per cent of the attempts that came his way and, after Taremi’s finish from Fabio Vieira’s cross made it 3-1, his decision to rush out in the 77th minute allowed Firmino to kill off any slim hopes of a comeback.
Key Opta Facts
- Liverpool remain unbeaten against Porto in their nine meetings in all competitions (W6 D3); in the club’s history, only against Scunthorpe United and Walsall have they played more often without ever losing (11 each).
- Porto have lost back-to-back home games in the Champions League for the first time since September 2017. Indeed, each of their last four home defeats in the competition have come to English clubs, including three against Liverpool (also one versus Chelsea).
- Liverpool have won five of their last six away group stage games in the Champions League (D1), as many as their previous 20 such matches beforehand (W5 D6 L9).
- Liverpool have scored three or more goals in six consecutive matches for only the third time in the club's history, after doing so in May 2009 and October 1892.
Liverpool take on City at Anfield on Sunday in a huge clash prior to the international break. Porto, meanwhile, are at home again, this time taking on Pacos Ferreira in domestic action.