Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita star as Liverpool put one foot into Champions League semis
First-half goals from Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino put Liverpool in a strong position at 2-0 to reach the semifinals of the Champions League again. Porto played their part in an entertaining game Tuesday and had numerous chances to grab a vital away goal, but having kept a clean sheet, the Merseysiders will now be strong favourites to go through to the last four.
Not conceding at home is always significant in European competition. Liverpool will expect to score over in Portugal, so barring a rare defensive collapse, this should be enough.
A third goal would have killed the tie, but the longer the second half went the less likely another Liverpool goal looked. Worryingly, Porto danger man Moussa Marega could have had a hat trick on another night. Liverpool must hope that "other night" won't be in the second leg.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Jurgen Klopp elected to go with Keita over Georginio Wijnaldum and the decision paid off when the Guinea international opened the scoring early on. The introduction of Divock Origi midway through the second half made sense, too, but quite what Daniel Sturridge has done to be getting playing time ahead of Xherdan Shaqiri is anybody's guess.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 7 -- Made one smart save with his left boot to deny Marega in the first half but otherwise had little to do, largely thanks to the wastefulness of the Porto frontman, who missed the target with several other opportunities.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 7 -- Looked uncertain in the opening stages when Porto had some joy getting in behind him, but more than made up for that going forward and put the second goal on a plate for Firmino with a perfect low cross. Solid second half with some excellent passing.
DF Dejan Lovren, 7 -- Recalled to the side after a three-month absence and was given a stern test by the lively Marega, but came through it well.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 -- Typically composed and commanding. Seemed permanently annoyed at the set-piece deliveries that gave him no chance to attack the ball. He had a point, too.
DF James Milner, 8 -- Showed great awareness to pick out a pass to Sadio Mane and help create the opening goal. Defended brilliantly all night, showing all his experience and know-how. Worth his weight in gold.
MF Fabinho, 7 -- Steady and did a good job sweeping in front of the back four. Some of his passing was uncharacteristically sloppy, but overall, another good performance from a player who seems to have nailed down that No. 6 role.
MF Naby Keita, 8 -- Just like last Friday at Southampton, scored the opener with the aid of a deflection. He's now playing with much more confidence, and his willingness to carry the ball forward and commit defenders brings another dimension to Liverpool's midfield play. This was possibly his best display for the club.
MF Jordan Henderson, 8 -- Terrific ball to release Alexander-Arnold in the buildup to the second goal and also set up Firmino for a good opportunity that he couldn't take. Excellent all-round display from the skipper, who seems to be enjoying himself in a more advanced role.
FW Mohamed Salah, 7 -- A constant menace in the first half and should have scored when he latched onto a poor back pass only to shoot inches wide. Not as impressive after the break, when some of his decision-making on the ball left a lot to be desired.
FW Roberto Firmino, 8 -- Linked play well and was a constant threat. Got himself on the scoresheet with a simple finish and possibly should have added a second soon after but couldn't keep his shot down. Replaced with 10 minutes to go, having run himself into the ground.
FW Sadio Mane, 7 -- Made a lively start to the game and played a significant part in the opener. Combined well with Keita throughout and saw a goal ruled out for a marginal offside early in the second half. Substituted for Origi after 73 minutes so should be fresh for the huge clash with Chelsea on Sunday.
FW Divock Origi, N/R -- The Belgian has played his way back into Klopp's thoughts and is getting fairly regular playing time of late. Very positive with the ball and seems to have his confidence back.
FW Daniel Sturridge, N/R -- Surprising introduction for Firmino and didn't really do anything.