The second leg of Liverpool vs Porto on Tuesday was a dull and drab affair but who cares? The Reds are through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League after beating the Portuguese giants 5-0 on aggregate and it feels so good!
Despite the lack of chances, there were plenty of positives to take away. Mo Salah was given a good 70 minutes rest, Danny Ings got a good run out (almost scored) and, most importantly, the Reds are in the pot for the quarter-finals. So, technically, we are one of the best eight teams in Europe, right?
Klopp made 5 changes ahead of the game. Moreno, Milner, Gomez, Matip and Lallana all started replacing Van Dijk, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Robertson, Alexander-Arnold and Salah. With Manchester United our next opponents on Saturday and a big 5-0 advantage from the first leg, it seemed ‘common sense’ for Klopp to use this game to use his squad.
Porto sat back against us on Tuesday night, seemingly, to avoid another hammering. The Reds were happy to just keep the ball with a big game ahead on Saturday. With both Manchester City and Tottenham losing last night, Liverpool are now the only unbeaten English team in the Champions League this season.
In addition, despite the 0-0 draw the other night, Liverpool remain the top scorers in the Champions League. Loris Karius has the most Champions League clean sheets with 5 and James Milner has 6 assists: still the most in the Champions League.
READ MORE: Porto 0-5 Liverpool: 5 talking points
Loris Karius – 6 : Was a bit shaky at times and his performance proved that he is a lot better with the help of VVD in front of him. Most importantly though it was another clean sheet for Karius who has the most clean sheets in the Champions League so far this season with 5 from 8 games. It’s a big improvement from the Karius we saw last season.
Joe Gomez – 6 : Produced an unbelievable ball in during the first half which was met by Mane before hitting the crossbar. Didn’t offer much else from an attacking mind-set and seemed a bit rusty at times. That said, defensively sound as always. Had the most touches by an LFC player.
Joel Matip – 6 : Inconsistent with his passes. There continues to be a lack of communication (or confidence) with Karius.
Dejan Lovren – 6.5 : Another good performance from the Croatian who continues to make a case for himself being VVD’s long term Centre-back partner. Didn’t have too much to do but made a brilliant block from an Oliver Torres’ strike in the second half.
Alberto Moreno – 6 : Alberto Moreno had a good game. Second choice to Robertson now in my opinion but is undoubtedly a menace going forwards from left-back. Goes down slightly too easily but it was a good game by the Spaniard.
Jordan Henderson – 7 : Controlled the midfield with a very good performance. Was worried to see him pick up an injury at the end. His passing was a bit off at times but it’s good to see Hendo back and performing well.
Emre Can – 6.5 : A hit and miss performance from Emre Can on Tuesday. It’s clear he prefers playing in the number ‘6’ position. Produced a moment of sheer class when he produced a nut-meg against Andre Andre.
James Milner – 7 : Another brilliant performance from James Milner in midfield. He has the most assists in the Champions League so far this season and it’s clear to see why. Yet another workmanlike performance from James Milner.
Adam Lallana – 5.5: Adam Lallana hasn’t been the same lately, has struggled with injuries all season and struggled to create anything really on Tuesday. It might be harsh but I want to see more from him.
Bobby Firmino – 6 : Didn’t really offer much on the attack but was brilliant helping out the defence and tracking back as always. Glad he got taken off with 30 minutes left because he’s going to be very important on Saturday.
Sadio Mane – 6.5 : Was unlucky to hit the post in the first half with the best chance of the game. ‘ would have been a brilliant finish had it gone in.
Danny Ings – 7: DANNY, DANNY INGS. He’s had a tough time since joining us with injuries but he’s back and had a good performance. Should have had a goal had it not been for an incredible save by Casillas late on. It is hard not to love Danny Ings.
Mohamed Salah – 6 : Deserved his rest. Was shocked that he came on but I suppose he still needs to be sharp for Saturday. His first touch when he came on was sublime and he just continues to grow as a player in a Liverpool shirt. I’m Egyptian now.
Klavan – N/A
It’s hard to pick a Man of the Match because there was no-one who really stood out but I’d have to go with Jordan Henderson. Never stopped working throughout and impressed me. A very passionate player and a leader on the pitch. Would be a lot better if he is utilised in the ‘8’ position.
The Porto performance wasn’t pretty but it didn’t need to be after an immaculate performance in Portugal in the first leg. The main positives are that there were no real injuries, players were rested for Saturday, we have still only lost once at Anfield in all competitions this season and we are in the last eight
The draw for the quarter-final of the Champions League takes place on Friday 16th March. Whoever we get, I have full faith that Klopp’s Reds are capable of beating anyone on our day.