After five and four goals in the last two visits to Porto, it wasn’t meant to be this easy again – but it was. The Reds are on fire, with 20 goals in six games this month.
Porto 1-5 Liverpool
Estadio do Dragao, Champions League (2)
Tuesday 28 September, 2021
Goals: Taremi 74′; Salah 18′, 60′, Mane 44′, Firmino 77′ 83′
Defensive service almost resumed, but no clean sheet
Some questions were being asked about the defence after an unusually sloppy performance at the weekend, but Tuesday night saw us back to something close to our best.
“I think it’s really tricky to win a football game when you are not defending on your highest level,” said Jurgen Klopp pre-match, adding that Porto will – like Brentford – “go direct as well, will go for second balls as well.”
Klopp is never one to highlight just the back four when things don’t go well, and this display really was about the performance across the entire team. It was, for the most part, a top-class ‘defensive’ performance all over the pitch, will all eleven players doing their bit to swarm all over the opposition in all areas of the pitch.
Speaking post-match, the boss said: “Early on you could see Porto watched our last game against Brentford! We wanted to get it sorted on the pitch, and that’s what we did!”
400 up for our Captain
There were times when 400 games for Jordan Henderson seemed unlikely, to say the least!
On this, the day of a 400th appearance, he’s the captain, a Premier League winner, a Champions League winner and his team are top of the Premier League and top of their Champions League group.
Not bad for a player who almost joined Fulham! He almost capped his special day with a curler into the top corner too, but I’m sure he’ll take the 5-1 win instead.
“I can’t describe the feeling,” said Hendo post-match. “I still get the feeling every time I put the shirt on. It’s an honour, I don’t take it for granted.” Words that sum up his attitude and application.
Mo’s ‘tribute’ to Sir Roger
Earlier in the day, we heard the passing of a true legend, the great ‘Sir’ Roger Hunt.
Saturday saw Mo Salah overtake Sir Roger’s record of hitting 100 league goals in the fewest games, and I’m sure, like the rest of us, Roger has been thrilled by Salah over the last few years.
Not only are Mo and Roger the fastest two players to 100 goals in a Liverpool shirt, but Salah continued his scintillating goalscoring form with a tap-in and a trademark left-footer through the keeper’s legs.
He now has a goal-to-game ratio of 1.6 compared, to Roger’s 1.73. Salah’s numbers are right up there with the great man, and that says it all about his brilliance.
Salah now has eight goals in eight appearances in all competitions this season. Phenomenal.
Curtis Jones stakes his claim
With injuries mounting in midfield, and Curtis Jones seemingly having fallen down the pecking order, these are an important run of games for him to re-establish himself and re-stake his claim.
After his power-driver at the weekend, it was he who created the opening goal and ended the game with two, possibly even three assists.
But his performance was much more than that.
It was close to the complete midfield performance: power, poise, vision, an eye for goal and a pass and didn’t give the Porto midfield a sniff.
I think it’s fair to say he’s very much staked his claim for one of those coveted three midfield spots. Tremendous display, comfortably his best in a red shirt so far.
Keep it going, Curtis – against City on Sunday, please.
Another Porto away day goal fest
Three successive Champions League away days in Porto; 5-nil, 4-1 and now 5-1. Sadio Mane, just like he does with Crystal Palace, has their number.
Five times he’s scored against them in three games and he might even be slightly disappointed it isn’t more. It’s now nine undefeated games against Porto, in succession.
The front three of Mo, Sadio and Bobby all score again and bag all five goals. It’s also Bobby’s third game running he’s scored against Porto on their own patch and Mo Salah’s 31st Champions League strike in 60 games.
Oh, and the last two times at Porto… we went on to reach the final…
The 1,000 or so travelling Reds wouldn’t be blamed for all coming back with ‘I heart Porto’ t-shirts.