Liverpool are through to the Quarter-Finals of the Champions league after a 5-0 win in Porto during the first leg and a 2nd leg goalless draw at Anfield last night.
There were a few chances during the game where the Reds could have extended their lead with Sadio Mane hitting the post in the first half and sending one just over the bar. Danny Ings also has a great opportunity with a header but Iker Casillas pulled off a great save to deny him.
After the game last night, the one thing I noticed is just how good Adam Lallana can be when you play him from the start. He was handed his first start in the Champions League this season as he hasn’t had too many opportunities in the last few months due to being injured but he played in Sadio Mane’s usual position last night on the left and it suited him well, it also adds to Klopp’s attacking options knowing that when he put’s Lallana in he can count on him to do the job. Although Liverpool had this tie pretty much done and dusted in Portugal, Klopp still wanted to put out a strong team to show his intent in the competition and prove that Liverpool can go all the way as despite resting main man Mo Salah, he still had Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane up top.
Playing those two showed just how serious he was about making sure Liverpool reached the Quarter-Finals, he could have easily put Danny Ings or Dominic Solanke on to give them a run out and even I thought that may have been a better idea with us playing Manchester United at the weekend but he wanted to show respect to Porto and also to the competition.
I thought it was a very professional display from the Reds last night, whenever we got the ball we didn’t try and rush forward with it to score goals or create opportunities. We knew that Porto where going to come out all guns blazing to try and grab a goal within the first ten minutes but having players like James Milner and Jordan Henderson in midfield who simply just played football made a big difference. The stand out performer of the game for me has to be James Milner, he was everywhere last night trying to win the ball back in defence and also trying to break their defence down to create opportunities for the front three. He hasn’t been a part of the starting XI that much this season but he is a real asset to the club and it is good to know we have him as an option.
Another thing that I picked up from last night’s game was just how good the Porto supporters where, yes they had their moment during the minute silence for Davide Astori but they sang their heart out for the full 90 minutes despite their team being 5 goals behind and needing a win to continue in the competition. Porto also came to win the match, they didn’t just come and sit back and think well we are out anyway so no point in trying, they wanted to win and you could see that in the way they played last night.
Lastly, It’s been 9 years since we reached this stage of the competition and we performed pretty well back then with a team you could arguably say is worse than the one we have now. Fans will be waking up this morning and thinking that although there are still some very good teams left at this stage of the competition, why can’t we go on and reach the final? I can honestly sit here and say that whichever team we draw at the Quarter-Final stages, we can go on and beat them.
Article by Lauren Black
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