Match Day 7
Porto vs. Liverpool
Thursday, February 15th, 2018
03:45 am (GMT+8 Timing)
Stadium: Estádio Do Dragão
Last five matches form: L D W W W
Average goals per match: 2.5
Average goals against per match: 0.5
Top Scorer: Vincent Aboubakar (5)
Last five matches form: L L W D W
Average goals per match: 2.3
Average goals against per match: 1.2
Top Scorer: Roberto Firmino (6)
This is the first time Liverpool have made it to the knockout stage of the Champions League in nine years - a fact that underlines how far down the once-great club has fallen in recent times. Things are currently looking up, however, and most fans are more quite thrilled to be counted as Reds nowadays.
After qualifying via the play-off route, Jurgen Klopp's men have gone on to score more goals than any other English team has ever managed in a UCL group stage, including two 7-0 victories. In that time, nonetheless, the Reds have also been part of what has been christened the 'Miracle of Seville' - going 3-0 up in 30 minutes against Sevilla but ending up with a woeful, 3-3 draw. Implication? Liverpool maybe sharpshooters but their defending leaves a lot to be desired.
Porto will therefore be praying that the EPL side can have another off day when they host them on Thursday. The Portuguese side, who lead Primeira Liga by two points with a game in hand, are also quite accomplished in front of goal, with the difference being that they don't concede as much as their English opponents.
Over two group-stage legs against Monaco, Porto scored eight times and conceded just twice. In the last five games in all competitions, they have scored eight goals and conceded just twice. Such defensive solidity is the kind of quality Klopp's men lack to become the European and English juggernaut that the German envisions.
Prediction: Porto 2-3 Liverpool
Half time: 0 - 2
Full time: 0 - 5
Shots: 8 - 14
Shots on target: 3 - 6
Corner Kicks: 6 - 1
Possession: 45% - 55%
FC Porto became the latest team unable to stem the flow of Liverpool's relentless attack in this highly entertaining clash. It was the Red's first UCL knockout game in nine years and they marked it in style with a memorable, 5-0 win over a respectable side.
Sadio Mane and Mo' Salah set Jurgen Klopp's men on their way to victory with a 2-0 lead in the first half. Having clinched two away goals the visitors were quite comfortable, but they never got complacent. They kept on the front foot in the second half with Mane completing his hat-trick by scoring either side of a Roberto Firmino strike.
By so doing, the Senegalese entered his name into Liverpool's history books as the only player to have scored a European away hat-trick since Michael Owen did it in 2002.
Porto have not been in the habit of losing games this season and had only lost twice before this game. That stat alone shows what a ruthless attacking force Liverpool have become - in particular their front trident of Mane, Firmino and Salah. Philippe Coutinho will be watching on from Spain with some interest.
Porto will return the visit to Liverpool in April, during which time no one would bet against the Reds completing the job and advancing to the last eight.