Champions League - Quarter-finals - 1st Leg
Liverpool2FC Porto0

Liverpool 2-0 Porto: Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino put Reds in control

Roberto Firmino
Since the start of last season, only Cristiano Ronaldo has been directly involved in more goals in the Champions League than Roberto Firmino

Liverpool took command of their Champions League quarter-final with Porto thanks to two first-half goals in the first leg at Anfield.

Naby Keita put Liverpool in front in just the fifth minute when his shot from the edge of the penalty area deflected in off Oliver Torres.

Roberto Firmino then tapped home the second from Trent Alexander-Arnold's cross after Jordan Henderson's fine ball from midfield.

Porto did create chances but striker Moussa Marega failed to convert meaning his side leave Merseyside without what could have been a crucial away goal.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson produced an excellent block with his feet to deny him in the 30th minute and moments later the Mali international failed to connect fully with a volley from eight yards.

Maraga had two further chances in the second half but Alisson was first able to comfortably save at his near post and later watch on as the Porto striker blazed over the bar.

There was another nervous first-half moment for Liverpool when Alisson tipped away a deflected cross with the ball deflecting on to Alexander-Arnold's arm. The incident was checked by VAR but the referee awarded a corner rather than a penalty.

Mohamed Salah could have been sent off late on for a high tackle with his studs on to Danilo Pereira's shin but after another VAR review no foul was given.

Liverpool failed to find a third goal which would have made them even more comfortable but they will head to Portugal for the second leg on 17 April as strong favourites to reach the semi-finals for the second-successive year.

Reds take control

Liverpool thrashed Porto 5-0 in their last-16 first leg in last season's Champions League en route to the final meaning the tie was all-but over going into the second leg.

This was a far more even contest with Liverpool not hitting top form in attack and as a result the tie remains alive, if tilted strongly in the Reds' favour.

They were comfortable for much of the first 70 minutes but tensions grew late on when a Porto away goal would have put the tie in the balance.

Liverpool will be grateful that Maraga spurned four chances although the hosts could have scored more goals of their own in the first half.

Salah ran on to a loose back pass but slid his shot wide of Iker Casillas' post when one-on-one and Firmino put a half-volley over the bar from Henderson's cross.

With a crucial Premier League home game against Chelsea coming on Sunday, Klopp felt comfortable enough to replace both Firmino and Sadio Mane in the second half.

Porto are certain to show greater attacking intent at home, where they have won all four of their Champions League matches this season, but Liverpool will know that an away goal would put them in a commanding position.

Marega misses chance
Porto striker Moussa Marega has had as many shots on target in this match (three) as every other player for both sides combined.

Klopp finds midfield balance

Klopp has frequently rotated his midfield three this season and it is still unclear which central midfielders would play in his first-choice XI.

On Tuesday his plans were disrupted with Georginio Wijnaldum only on the bench following a recent injury worry and James Milner forced to fill in at left-back with Andrew Robertson suspended.

That meant Keita kept his place in midfield, starting alongside Fabinho and Henderson.

Naby Keita
Naby Keita has scored two goals in his last two games for Liverpool, having scored none in his first 27 appearances for the club beforehand.

He scored his first goal for the club as they beat Southampton on Friday and followed that with another to open the scoring against Porto, albeit with the help of a large deflection.

The Guinea midfielder was lively while Fabinho was composed at the base of midfield and effectively broke up Porto attacks.

With the Brazilian playing deep, Henderson was again freed to get forward and he thrived as the pick of the Reds' midfield.

He played a number of excellent passes, notably the one in the build-up of Firmino's goal which perfectly split the Porto full-back and left centre-back, his chipped ball which gave Firmino another chance later in the half and a further whipped cross that found Mane in the second half and would have resulted in a goal but for a tight offside decision.

Man of the match - Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)

Jordan Henderson
Jordan Henderson scored last week against Southampton in the Premier League and followed that with another strong performance against Porto

'A very, very good result' - reaction

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, speaking to BT Sport: "We are happy, it is the first leg and it will be an intense second game. We scored two goals and controlled the ball most of the time.

"We gave a few too many set pieces away - I think Porto score about 40% of their goals from set pieces. We also saw one or two counter attacks, but the rest of the game we played really well.

"We lost a little bit of direction in the second half, but there's nothing to criticise, 2-0 is a very, very good result.

"We knew we had to play the second game and we cannot decide the tie tonight, so now we have to go there and fight again."

Klopp's milestone win - the best stats

  • Liverpool extended their unbeaten home run across all European competitions to 21 games (W15 D6); the Reds have kept 12 clean sheets in this run, conceding just 15 goals.
  • Porto have never won away at an English club in 20 attempts in all European competitions (D3 L17), the most a club has played away at English opposition without ever earning a win.
  • This was Jurgen Klopp's 400th win as a manager in all club competitions, 111 of which have been with Liverpool (180 with Borussia Dortmund, 109 with 1. FSV Mainz 05).
  • Since the start of last season, only Cristiano Ronaldo (24) has been directly involved in more goals in the Champions League than Liverpool's Roberto Firmino (21 - 13 goals, 8 assists).
  • Firmino has been directly involved in 12 goals in his 11 Champions League games at Anfield for Liverpool, scoring seven and assisting five.
  • Since his Champions League debut in September 2017, Liverpool's Alisson has kept more clean sheets (9) than any other goalkeeper in the competition; all nine have come in home matches (5 at the Olimpico with Roma, 4 at Anfield with Liverpool).

Line-ups

Liverpool

  • 13Alisson
  • 66Alexander-Arnold
  • 6Lovren
  • 4van Dijk
  • 7Milner
  • 14Henderson
  • 3Fabinho
  • 8Keita
  • 11Salah
  • 9FirminoSubstituted forSturridgeat 82'minutes
  • 10ManéSubstituted forOrigiat 73'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Wijnaldum
  • 12Gomez
  • 15Sturridge
  • 22Mignolet
  • 23Shaqiri
  • 27Origi
  • 32Matip

FC Porto

  • 1Casillas
  • 2PereiraSubstituted forAndrade dos Santosat 77'minutes
  • 28FelipeBooked at 61mins
  • 3Militão
  • 17JM Corona
  • 22Danilo
  • 10TorresSubstituted forAlmeida Costaat 73'minutes
  • 13Telles
  • 25Otávio
  • 29Francisco SoaresBooked at 17minsSubstituted forBrahimiat 62'minutes
  • 11Marega

Substitutes

  • 4Monteiro Pinto Leite
  • 6Almeida Costa
  • 7Santos Fortes
  • 8Brahimi
  • 21Pereira
  • 26Vaná
  • 37Andrade dos Santos
Referee:
Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
Attendance:
52,465

Match Stats

Home TeamLiverpoolAway TeamFC Porto
Possession
Home64%
Away36%
Shots
Home15
Away8
Shots on Target
Home3
Away3
Corners
Home4
Away5
Fouls
Home9
Away7

Live Text

Match ends, Liverpool 2, FC Porto 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Liverpool 2, FC Porto 0.

Fabinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Bruno Costa (FC Porto).

Dejan Lovren (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Fernando (FC Porto).

Foul by Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).

Yacine Brahimi (FC Porto) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Offside, Liverpool. Dejan Lovren tries a through ball, but Divock Origi is caught offside.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Felipe.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Fernando.

Foul by Mohamed Salah (Liverpool).

Danilo Pereira (FC Porto) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, FC Porto. Conceded by Virgil van Dijk.

Foul by Divock Origi (Liverpool).

Felipe (FC Porto) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Daniel Sturridge replaces Roberto Firmino.

Foul by Mohamed Salah (Liverpool).

Alex Telles (FC Porto) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Moussa Marega (FC Porto) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right misses to the left.

Offside, FC Porto. Eder Militão tries a through ball, but Moussa Marega is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, FC Porto. Fernando replaces Maxi Pereira.

James Milner (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Otávio (FC Porto).

Attempt blocked. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by James Milner.

Divock Origi (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Jesús Manuel Corona (FC Porto).

Substitution

Substitution, FC Porto. Bruno Costa replaces Óliver Torres.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Divock Origi replaces Sadio Mané.

Attempt missed. Sadio Mané (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Naby Keita.

Attempt saved. Moussa Marega (FC Porto) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Otávio.

Corner, FC Porto. Conceded by James Milner.

Offside, Liverpool. Mohamed Salah tries a through ball, but Jordan Henderson is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Sadio Mané.

Attempt blocked. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jordan Henderson.

Substitution

Substitution, FC Porto. Yacine Brahimi replaces Tiquinho Soares.

Attempt missed. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.

Booking

Felipe (FC Porto) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Felipe.

Attempt blocked. James Milner (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jordan Henderson.

goal

Top Stories