Given what happened on the two previous occasions these teams met at Porto’s Estadio Dragao, it is not surprising that Liverpool beat Porto again in the second round of Champions League Group B. It would have been expected however that the home team would have prepared themselves better for a match with a well-known opponent.
Be that as it may, Liverpool took the lead with Mohamed Salah in the 18th minute. Just before half-time, Sadio Mane doubled up. Salah strikes again in the minute and 15 ‘later, Mehdi Taremi takes advantage of one of the few moments in which Porto seem dangerous to give some hope to the home fans. However, Roberto Firmino, who had taken Salah’s place, quickly struck twice to stifle any thoughts of a belated drama and set the final score.
I carry helpless
It must have been a night to forget for the Portuguese. There is obviously something about Liverpool’s chemistry that seriously affects their ability to connect and show the quality they undoubtedly have. There is some real talent in their ranks – most notably, Otavio, Luis Diaz and Vitinha – but it just wasn’t on display on Tuesday night.
There didn’t seem to be any clear plans as to how they tried to attack. The way the guests played – the relentless high pressing and the tendency to win the highest possible possession – was certainly a factor that contributed a lot to the fall of Sergio Conceicao’s men, but the general feeling is that they could have expected. such an approach by a team under the command of Jurgen Klopp and devised some form of counter strategy. Either they didn’t, or they failed to implement it.
Porto occasionally tried to get around the problem with long balls towards the attackers. This somehow explained Conceicao’s decision to play with two men early, something he rarely does. After all, Brentford were very efficient over the weekend against Liverpool’s high defensive line.
But it did not work. Taremi and Antonio Martinez did not perform as well as Brentford’s attacking duo on Saturday, and Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip, Liverpool’s two center-backs, were more alert this time and won duels over and over again. Only twice did Porto threaten seriously during the game, with Alisson Becker stopping Diaz’s shot from a great position and Taremi knocking out Liverpool substitute Joe Gomez to score Porto’s only goal.
On the back, Porto have made mistakes several times, with those sensational left-back Zaidu Sanusi and the otherwise excellent goalkeeper Diogo Costa playing an important role in Salah’s first goal and Firmino’s first goal. At 56 ‘Sanusi is replaced by Wendell, but the damage has already been done.
To be honest with Porto, it’s always very difficult to defend against Liverpool when they play like that; even better teams have been hit since Klopp took the lead at Anfield. The Reds are really aggressive when they attack on the flanks, with the full backs, in their own way, as dangerous as the winger, with whom they have an excellent level of understanding.
Liverpool’s attacking approach has often managed to force Porto players to shrink, which obviously left a lot of space on the outside, where they moved they could advance practically at will. James Milner started from the right in place of the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold, and at 35 he put in an excellent defensive performance against the talented Luis Diaz, occasionally linked to Liverpool himself. He was also able to contribute on the other side, especially in the 45th minute when he helped Mane for the second goal. There’s really no need to talk too much about Andy Robertson on the left; the Scotland captain has been doing what he does brilliantly since establishing himself as a regular in 2017, and Klopp hopes that Kostas Tsimikas’ presence and form since the start of this season will spur him on to higher levels and consistency. .
Still, it’s still about Liverpool’s incredible strikers. Some of the goals may have been the result of opposition mistakes, but it still requires a great presence of mind, often shown by the greatest forwards in the world, to make them count on the scoresheet repeatedly. Of course, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski come to mind, but there is no doubt that those playing for Liverpool right now belong to the same group.
Klopp was particularly happy, though not surprised, with 18-year-old Harvey Elliott’s excellent early-season performance. Curtis Jones, 20, was forced to show patience as he waited in the shadows, hoping for a chance to reclaim his starting position. The opportunity came to an end in a form that no one at Liverpool, including Jones, would have been happy about as Elliott suffered a serious ankle injury intended to keep him out of the game for several months. However, Jones grabbed him with both arms.
The youngster was voted Liverpool’s best player in Porto. He was everywhere and the energy he displayed as he completed four dribbles and made two assists, along with a lot of smart pressure and hard defensive work he put in, perfectly reflected a young player on the rise, struggling to nail a start. regular locate. Elliott may watch and think it will be difficult to recover him when he returns from injury, but Klopp will be extremely pleased with the situation where he doesn’t need to look back with regret at the decision not to sign a ready – he replaced Georginio Wijnaldum who left the club quest ‘summer. These two young men seem more than capable of doing the job.
All in all, Liverpool have done a great job in the Champions League so far, leading the group with a maximum of six points in their first two games. They won’t feel too much pressure to win when they go to Madrid to face Atletico on 19 October, although they will certainly want to take revenge on the team that knocked them out of the competition in 2019-20. Their focus now shifts to the Premier League, where they will face defending champions Manchester City on Sunday.
Things, on the other hand, are much more serious for Porto, who find themselves in the situation in which they absolutely must win the match against Milan in last place at Dragao on the same evening.