Senegalese star Sadio Mane was the star of the show on Tuesday night as his hat-trick marked Liverpool’s first UCL knockout game for nine years – in what was a sensational win against Porto in Portugal in their Champions League last-16 first-leg tie.
Mane opened the scoring when Porto shot-stopper Jose Sa could not keep hold of his effort on goal.
The fantastic Mo Salah then showed fantastic poise to fire the ball home for the Reds’ second and his 30th in what has been an unbelievable season for the Egyptian.
It’s fair to say Jurgen Klopp’s side did not hold back and they could sense that Porto were there for taking.
An efficient Liverpool counter-attack ended with the Porto keeper dropping Roberto Firmino’s shot into Mane’s path and the forward was as clinical as ever, as he sweeped home James Milner’s cross.
Mane got his third with a precise finish late on to become the first Reds player to score a hat-trick away from home in Europe since Michael Owen, back all the way in 2002.
Porto had lost only two matches in all competitions this season prior to Wednesday’s game, but they were completely overwhelmed by Liverpool’s attacking prowess.
Liverpool host Porto in the return leg at Anfield on Tuesday, 6 March.
Speaking after the match, manager Jurgen Klopp said to reporters: “It was a very good performance. Exactly as good as necessary.
“I think everyone saw in the game all the moments when we were not as compact as we wanted to be and Porto were immediately strong. They had their moments and we scored fantastic goals in the right moment.”
Does he think the tie is over? “No, of course not, why should I? We came here to create the basis for the second leg at Anfield – and that’s what we did, not more, not less. I am too long in the business to think anything is sorted before the final whistle.
“We owe our supporters at Anfield a 100% performance and that’s what we want to deliver. That’s all.”
The Merseyside outfit are now the leading scorers in the Champions League, having leapfrogged PSG: in seven games they have notched an amazing 28 goals.
Liverpool bag tonnes domestically too, but they really have taken it to the next level in the Champions League, where the more open style of football in the matches suits their counter-attacking style.
Egyptian star Mo Solah is on the right path to potentially having the best goalscoring season in Liverpool history, while Roberto Firmino is excelling and getting the deserved recognition and respect.
Liverpool were superb defensively against the Portuguese club too, and keeper Loris Karius had literally nothing to do all match – whilst Van Dijk looked a class above throughout and looked like the Rolls-Royce defender we all know he can be.
The Reds are next in action on the 24th February as they play host to David Moyes’ West Ham, in what will be an important match for Liverpool’s top four ambitions.
Liverpool will undoubtedly be favourites with most bookmakers, and it is certainly worth having a bet on Premier League – and it’s certainly worth sticking Liverpool in your acca.
Jurgen Klopp’s side currently sit in third spot having amassed 54 points so far this season.
Reds fans… Are you happy with Liverpool’s resounding win over Porto? Let us know below!