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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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We meet again: Porto vs Liverpool

Porto vs Liverpool whilst Jurgen Klopp has been in charge of the six times Champions League winners has been a constant; a constant joy for The Reds.

The first game back in 2018 came in the knockout rounds of the Champions League in the round of 16 stage.

Jurgen Klopp’s first time in Europe’s elite competition with Liverpool got them past the group stages and when the draw was made for a trip to Portugal, fans from Merseyside were glad as it was an opponent who made them favourites.

And they had every right to be as it was a battering in the first leg that would send Liverpool comfortably through.

A 5-0 victory at the Estádio do Dragão with a rampant Sadio Mane hat-trick to top it off.

He got the scoring underway as his tame effort squirmed underneath current Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa who was in the starting 11 for one of the all-time greats Iker Casillas.

Mo Salah got the second as he done keepy ups over Sa before slotting it home after James Milner had nearly broken the post with a long-range effort.

Mane’s second and Liverpool’s third was classic Klopp Liverpool as a devasting counter-attack left Porto all over the place as Mane finished it off after Sa saved Roberto Firmino’s initial effort.

The fourth Firmino finished off himself thanks to Milner putting it on plate for him and the fifth was when Mane completed his hat-trick after he struck the ball fiercely on the edge of the box which flew in.

It was a trip that was worthwhile for the away fans as it was a perfect performance to emphasise that Liverpool were well and truly back on the biggest stage.

The return leg went as expected as Klopp put out a weakened team due to the margin of victory however it did have one iconic moment. 

The Kop applauded Iker Casillas to show their appreciation for a legend of the game.

Something that will likely stay with the Spaniard for a long time.

The season after, Liverpool would go onto win their sixth European Cup and would again come up against Porto.

This time it would be in the quarter-finals which again supporters were buzzing about as it was the best team Liverpool could have drawn and that is no disrespect to Porto.

The first leg would this time be at Anfield and it was a tough game for the 2018 finalists but someone was key to the victory.

Naby Keita.

He got the scoring underway albeit with a deflected effort after five minutes to settle any nerves and from then on he ran the game showing just what he is capable of when injuries don’t ruin his flow.

Firmino got the second in the first half to make things less tense.

It was what you can call a beautiful tap-in.

Skipper Jordan Henderson played a lovely ball through to find Trent Alexander-Arnold who then squared it for Firmino, it was a very aesthetically pleasing goal.

So The Reds going in the second leg were 2-0 up and content.

Then the Estádio do Dragão element came into effect as the second leg was another lesson in Champions League knockout football just like the season before.

The famous front three all got one goal and Virgil Van Dijk joined in on the fun.

Also went Porto scored their goal song was the Gini Wijnaldum tune, which made for great fun in the away end.

Mane’s goal was given to him via a VAR intervention, Salah’s was a clinical counter-attack after an impeccable Alexander-Arnold pass (surprise surprise), Firmino’s was a header after a cross from Henderson and Van Dijk’s was also a header from a corner.

It was definitely another worthwhile away trip as it would send Liverpool through, in style, to go and play Barcelona in the semi-finals.

We all know what happened there.

So now these two teams meet again but this time in the group stages. 

Porto last time out should have beaten Atletico Madrid whilst Liverpool destroyed AC Milan even if the score line suggested it was a close game.

An interesting match-up awaits.

READ MORE: Liverpool’s famous old foes are back in town as the Champions League is back!

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