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Liverpool edge closer to 100% CL qualifying record and equal astonishing 1939 record
Liverpool made it five wins from five Champions League games with a 2-0 triumph after a wasteful Porto side were punished at Anfield on Wednesday night.
Thiago hammered in a wonderful shot from 25 yards in the second half. And Mo Salah scored his 10th Champions League goal in 10 games to move the Reds closer to a 100% qualifying record. The win also saw Liverpool match a feat which had not been achieved in English football since 1939 – to score two or more goals in 16 consecutive games.
Porto offered plenty of threat but it was their finishing that let them down. With qualification from Group B already secured Jurgen Klopp named a stronger-than-expected team to face Porto, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane included. Seven of the starting line-up from Saturdays victory over Arsenal were retained.
Tyler Morton, 19, who only made his Premier League bow at the weekend was given his Champions debut.
Morton, right-back Neco Williams, centre-back Ibrahima Konate and forward Takumi Minamino were the players brought in.
Veteran defender Pepe returned for Porto after a minor muscle problem.
Porto had only won one of their 22 away games against English teams in European competition (D3 L18). However, that victory did come in their most recent one. It was a 1-0 win over Chelsea in the quarter-final second leg last season.
And they threatened first at Anfield on eight minutes after Otavio robbed Tsimikas and curled in a cross. Mehdi Taremi got a glancing header on it and it hit Matip before bouncing wide.
Just four minutes later Porto wasted a better opportunity when Luis Diaz breezed past Williams and into the box. He squared it to Otavio, but the Brazilian fired wide of the far post.
Liverpool were almost gifted the lead on 24 minutes when Diogo Costa’s clearance hit Mane. The ball landed at the feet of Salah on the opposite side of the box, but his shot was straight at the keeper.
The Reds thought they had broken the deadlock on 37 minutes through Mane’s neat finish. But VAR adjudged the Liverpool man to be fractionally offside from Thiago’s through ball.
Uribe then fired wide on the turn just four minutes after the restart after Liverpool failed to deal with a free-kick into the box.
But the Reds were ahead just minutes later through Thiago’s superb strike from outside the box. A low free-kick was cleared as far as the Spain star and he cut across the ball with his right foot and found the bottom corner with a powerful low shot.
Minamino thought he had made it 2-0 on 62 minutes. But the former RB Salzburg man was yards offside and the goal was ruled out.
But the hosts did double their lead on 70 minutes when Salah cut inside from the right wing, dropped his shoulder and whipped a left-footed shot in at the near post.
Klopp made a raft of changes but it did not affect Liverpool’s rhythm and the saw out the game. They will now look ahead to Saturday’s date with Southampton.
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