Porto 1-5 Liverpool
Champions League Group Stage (2), Estadio do Dragao
September 28, 2021
Goals: Taremi 74′; Salah 18′ 60′, Mane 45′, Firmino 77′ 81′
Alisson – 7 (out of 10)
What a mighty leap to save Diaz’s daisy-cutter! Basically had a watching brief first half.
A very decent stop after the hour mark, low to his left, and a couple of aerial claims and good passes out, but this was largely a night off for Ali.
James Milner – 8
Did well against the pace of Diaz early on, making a couple of big challenges.
Crossing wasn’t quite Trent-esque to start with, but it was a great low ball for Mane’s finish.
A few days’ rest before we face City and Milner is probably the most reliable alternative at right-back so it will likely be him again there at the weekend.
Joel Matip – 7
Some good early recoveries to boost confidence after the weekend. Turned away from attackers, won aerials and played out from the back in style.
Stood his ground well while they dived and flopped all around him.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
Probably sensibly, Porto mostly stayed away from Van Dijk with their attacking play, which meant the cruisiest defender on the planet was in ultra easy-drive mode.
Pinged passes around when he felt like it, but mostly just let Robbo run riot beyond him.
Andy Robertson – 7
Good energy, good overlaps, not always spotted – this was as industrious as it gets from Andy Robbo.
Still not quite up to his highest standards in terms of his on-the-ball work, but didn’t really put a foot wrong either.
One really good cutback for Jota after the break.
Fabinho – 8
Hilarious how Porto opted to give him about 20 minutes every time he took possession, and he kept picking his passes to clip over the defence.
He just kept putting the Reds back on the front foot, nipping in to win it back consistently.
Made his customary 25 fouls, only half of which actually were, and was simply unpassable whether Porto attacked centrally or down the channel.
Jordan Henderson – 6
Decent free-kick strike before the break, tipped over, but most of the rest of his first half was largely poor: late tracking back to start with and several of the same over-clipped passes out of play.
Better on the ball after the break with some quicker, easier passes to the channels, but his defensive work was…poor.
No sticking with his man, easily run past by Diaz in particular – this needs fixing against City’s movement-filled midfield line.
Four hundred appearances in Red, but far from his best.
Curtis Jones – 9 – Man of the Match
Looks very confident on the ball. Great movement and strike before the opening goal.
Kept the ball moving quickly, dribbled infield when he had the chance and his switch of play was good too, Jones was instrumental in the second goal, but it was our third that highlighted all his best bits.
Aggressive and quick to win back the ball in midfield with a good tackle, really good driving run into space, then the composure at the end of the run to wait and pick the right pass – a perfect assist.
Another one for Bobby, too!
Mohamed Salah – 8
Absolutely lethal from two yards out when the defender can’t control. Seriously, is there another player on the planet you don’t want to gift that kind of opportunity to?
Easy finish for his brace after Jones’ great work. A solid hour’s work from Mo.
Diogo Jota – 6
Spurned a couple of openings in the first half, spurned a bigger one just after the restart when the defender kindly nodded down for him in the box.
After the hour he showed good footwork to evade a defender – but again blazed wide.
Loads of running and being a nuisance as usual, but no finishing touch this time.
Sadio Mane – 7
Some unbelievable first touches, especially from long-range passes, but again his pass was somewhat off in both weight and timing.
Always busy and involved in the press, and his movement was again untrackable for what was admittedly a dire defence, and that’s what led to his goal before the break.
Joe Gomez (on for Milner, 65′) – 6 – Beaten for their goal.
Roberto Firmino (on for Mane, 65′) – 9 – Give the ball to Bobby and he will score. Twice. Cheers, Costa.
Takumi Minamino (on for Salah, 65′) – 7 – Ran lots, got fouled.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (on for Henderson, 72′) – 6 – Game was won.
Divock Origi (on for Jota, 88′) – N/A
Subs not used: Kelleher, Adrian, Konate, Tsimikas, Phillips, Williams, Keita
Jurgen Klopp – 9
As you were in terms of team selection, other than an enforced switch at right-back.
Klopp’s changes came at a nice time, just after the hour mark and three all at once, when the game was pretty much wrapped up – a good idea to take off two key forwards and the ageing Milner, considering they’ll be needed at the weekend.
The boss had the team fired up right from kickoff and they were relentless throughout – the exact same as will be required at the weekend.
Same again, please!