Liverpool travelled to the Estadio do Dragao to take on Portuguese giants FC Porto in the second group game of this season’s UEFA Champions League. The Reds put on a clinic as they outclassed their opponents on the way to a 5-1 win with goals from Salah (2), Mané, and Firmino (2).
Alisson – 7.5
Wasn’t troubled much first half. He saw a lot of the ball in buildups however and his use of the ball was top notch. One clipped pass put Robertson through down the left. Second half he made a good save from a volleyed shot, then saw a header powered past him.
Milner – 8.5
Filled in again at right-back and was his usual solid self. He didn’t give his man an inch and battled throughout. Going forward, his passing was a bit awry but it got better as the game went on and he combined well with Henderson and Salah. He put in a couple of crosses and got an assist when one found Mané back post with an empty goal. Wasn’t happy to be subbed, but he’s likely to start against City.
Matip – 9
Back to the Joel we know tonight, Brentford was a tough game for the entire defence. He was immaculate tonight, dealt with danger with minimum fuss, backed up Milner when he had to, won his duels, and passed the ball well. Excellent display, shame about the clean sheet.
Van Dijk – 9
He was also back to his best tonight, dealt with everything that came down his side and also won his duels. Marshalled the backline well and the offside traps were set pretty tight. He got into a bit of bother late on when he stepped up to win the ball but missed it, the pass was played into the space he had left but Robbo was there on the cover. All in all, a commanding performance. He was even trying the flicked clearances he does whilst under pressure.
Robertson – 9.5
He was like a man possessed tonight, a sea change from his performance at Brentford. He was forceful, his touch was perfect, and his crosses were dangerous. I’m unsure how he’s come away without an assist because he was involved in so many dangerous moments. Defended brilliantly at the other end too, with that last man tackle in injury time. His energy is just infectious. Hundred miles per hour, non-stop.
Fabinho – 9
The first half I felt he just cruised through the game with little defensive work to sort out. He helped us build moved with his technical ability always a plus when he had to take a touch in the right areas and find a pass. In the second half, Porto gave it a big go and he had more to do defensively, he did it to perfection. Offering a unique balance of steel and protection, mixed with a passing range most attacking midfielders would be proud of.
Henderson – 9
I thought the skipper was superb again on his 400th appearance for the club. He was always causing them problems with his movement down the right-wing and his combination play with Salah. He even went close from a free-kick, with his whipped shot tipped over the bar. The only reason he doesn’t get a higher rating is he wasted too many openings by choosing to cross deep instead of just shooting. None of the deep crosses connected and he would have been better served just going for goal, but another great performance nonetheless.
Jones – 10
Wow! Officially he gets two assists in the night but he was involved in four goals. I should even say all five because it was he who found Fabinho, who then found Milner to cross for Mané’s goal. He got things underway by forcing the play, taking on his man in the box and getting the shot away, it was parried and Salah was alive to the rebound. He did the same for Bobby’s second, but it was Bobby’s first that took the breath away.
In a tight position in the left-back area, pressed by two Porto players, he turned away brilliantly, kept the ball, and played a defence-splitting pass with his left foot, which saw Bobby beat his man to the ball and send a shot trickling over the line despite the keeper’s best efforts. If Curtis had lost the ball in that area we probably would have conceded, but with one swivel, he turned it into a goal for us. Man of the Match.
Salah – 9
The phenom strikes again. Mo Salah is beyond special, another two goals tonight and he didn’t even have to be at his breathtaking best. He makes it look so effortless. Poacher’s finish for the first, and an ice-cold finish for the second. Most just blast that, but he took a touch to set himself, before coolly dispatching past the keeper. He could have gotten more if his teammates had found his runs.
Jota – 8
Guilty of missing some gilt-edged chances. He could have had a hat trick on another day, and you could tell he was desperate to score against his former team. He played well, combined well with Mané and Salah, worked his socks off pressing too. He’ll be disappointed he’s coming away from the game without a goal. The work he does off the ball goes unnoticed but he absolutely runs himself into the ground for the team. He tired and gave possession away a lot lately on so was subbed.
Mané – 8.5
Started off frustrating, he would isolate his man one on one and he’d easily be knocked off the ball. Mané is usually a killer in those situations. He improved as the game wore on though, and was rewarded with his goal, a simple tap in. He tried setting up his teammates a number of times but last-ditch defending saw his cross cut out right before it reached a teammate. He’s so strong when we go long and he has to win it in the air. Against giant CB’s he wins it almost every time and offers us a platform to counter.
Firmino – 9
A brace off the bench for the Brazilian. The first came when he latched on to Jones’ pass and sent a shot past the keeper who was stranded in no man’s land. The second came when Jones’s shot was deflected to him and he calmly picked his spot and rolled it past the keeper. There were some rusty touches though and he did cough up possession in the buildup to their goal.
Gomez – 6
Slotted in at right-back. Beaten to the cross for their goal. A few good headers and challenges. The game was done by the time he came on.
Minamino – 6
Almost got in a few times but the ball never quite broke for him. Lashed a shot on the volley into the stands. Good to see him get some more minutes.
Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6
Came on to afford the skipper a breather. Whipped a disguised free-kick goalwards and brought a good save from the keeper. Good try, he knows the competition in midfield is hotting up with Jones playing like that.
Origi – N/A
Came on for about five minutes all told.
An excellent night for the manager. Played his strongest available team and they delivered a classic European away performance. Made the changes at the right time to give his star men a breather and give some fringe players valuable minutes. On to City next.