Portugal how we’ve missed you! In a convincing rout, Liverpool bounce back from the disappointing result at the weekend, and continue their dominance of the Iberian peninsula’s west coast, blowing the doors off FC Porto and their poor, poor goalkeeper.
Below, we bask in the joy of another job well done and take the time to highlight some top performers and the Reds’ rich vein of ongoing form.
The Estádio do Dragão: Since Jürgen Klopp took the reins at Anfield back in October of 2015, Liverpool have played three times in Porto’s home stadium, and in those three matches they have scored 14 goals, a full 14% of all their Champions League goals under the German manager.
Klopp will be quick to dismiss any suggestion the Dragões are an easy match-up for his Reds, but for Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah, who have scored five, five and four goals there, respectively, there can be little doubt that seeing FC Porto drawn as opposition will do anything but instill joy and confidence at this point.
A Strong Start: Nine games into the season, Liverpool have won seven and drawn two, topping both the Premier and Champions League, securing progress to the next round of the domestic cup, and scoring 26 goals along the way. As early signs go, they don’t get much better than that. The consensus big losers in the transfer market this summer look like they could yet be winners on every front on which they compete.
Curtis Jones: One of the reasons Klopp felt confident standing relatively pat in the transfer market this summer was the faith he continues to show in his young players and their ability to do at least as well as any new recruit would.
Harvey Elliott stepped into a new position and took the league by storm in the early stages, proving a uniquely suitable puzzle piece for the Reds, before falling victim to the inevitable results of the Premier League’s romanticised view of the sport in the 1960s, but in his absence, Curtis Jones has been given the chance to step up, and boy has he answered the call.
Following up on his long-range strike at the weekend, the 20-year old ran the pitch tonight, racking up four shots, three key passes, two assists, and four dribbles, in a blowout man of the match performance that will have his manager showing all of his Fimino-bright teeth in delight. Having another home-grown baller develop from the academy — after Trent Alexander-Arnold established himself as the premier right-back in world football — is a tremendous luxury, and will prove absolutely vital in any success the Reds enjoy not just this season, but the next five or ten.
The Other Diogo: Despite finishing the match with an impressive count of seven saves, this will have been one of Diogo Costa’s worst ever performances on a soccer pitch. He wasn’t helped by his defenders on the first goal, as Zaidu dallied needlessly with Mohamed Salah lurking, but Costa had pushed Curtis Jones’ shot into a terribly dangerous area in the first place.
On the second goal, he came a full six yards off his line before allowing the ball to slide past him for an unmarked Sadio Mané to tap home, and to cap it all off, immediately after his side had reduced the deficit to two goals, he rushed 40 yards out of his goal to partake in a duel between Roberto Firmino and Ivan Marcano, only to have to Benny Hill his way back, desperately chasing the Brazilian’s impossibly slow trickling effort back and inevitably coming up just short.
It was hilarious for the rest of us, but this one is going to haunt Costa for a while.
What Happens Next
It’s a clash at the top of the table on Sunday, as the Reds wrap up this run of matches before the international break by hosting primary title rivals Manchester City, who dispatched of Chelsea in style last weekend, before limply falling 2-0 to Paris Saint-Germain tonight. It’s one of the big ones, and Klopp will be thankful for every one of the five days of recovery his team will have until then.
Up the unbeaten Reds!