Friday, March 9, 2018

Liverpool 0-0 Porto

Actually, Liverpool secured their place in the Champions League quarter-finals three weeks ago but the marvel of victory over Porto doesn’t diminish their accomplishment. Jürgen Klopp’s group enjoyed the fruits of a ruthless demolition in Portugal and slipped in the last eight years. Anfield staged an unusual last-16 second leg: one missing goal, enthusiasm and the competitive advantage that the game requires at any given level. The onus was on the Portuguese league leaders to deal with their 5-0 first-leg humbling and, courtesy of a professional job by Klopp’s team, they never seemed likely to become the first side to overturn a five-goal shortage in the Champions League.


The return leg was enlivened only after Mohamed Salah’s late debut but, besides a spectacular save from his fellow substitute Danny Ings, the veteran keeper Iker Casillas was barely bothered. Liverpool will be hanging around for quite a while yet on present form. This was a test of their mentality than talent based on Klopp and it was one they handed with ease on the way to their first quarter-final look since the defeat by Chelsea nine decades back. judi bola

“It feels really good, to tell the truth,” said Klopp. The previous eight is cool. I am slightly satisfied. It was time we showed up. There’s very good development at Liverpool at the moment but if you don’t appear in a contest like the Champions League, then nobody will realize it. It is done, it’s fine — now let us carry on.”
The strength of Liverpool’s squad allowed Klopp to prevent too many risks with his line-up whilst still making five changes to the team that beat Newcastle on Saturday. Virgil van Dijk and the 32-goal Salah were left on the seat and Andrew Robertson was absent entirely but it was a seasoned and recognizable Liverpool side that the supervisor deployed. At an essential stage in the effort maintaining their powerful rhythm was on Klopp’s schedule.

Impressive in amounts, at least — the collapse of a few people from the Porto section to honor a minute’s silence for Davide Astori, the late Fiorentina captain, attracted obvious condemnation from the home crowd.
The dedication of both teams to success was incontrovertible but so was the feeling of a dead rubber. The first half was short on incident, although twice Sadio Mané virtually inflated Liverpool’s aggregate lead. His first opportunity arrived from a right-wing cross by Joe Gomez, however, an acrobatic volley sailed just over Casillas’ crossbar. His second, a snap-shot in the right of the playground, beat the World Cup winner only to rebound to safety off the inside of the far post.


Casillas has been given a warm ovation from the Kop when he re-emerged to the next half of what could be his final appearance on the Champions League stage. This was a rare moment of risk for Liverpool and they continued to create the better of the game’s few chances. James Milner, a part of a midfield trio that allowed Liverpool to control possession and keep composure throughout, sliced wide when extending for Adam Lallana’s cross. Lallana made just his third start of an injury-hit season on the remaining assault but was more prominent when switched to his favorite position on the right.

Roberto Firmino, Ings, and Salah — that had been promised a day off training on Wednesday by Klopp that he “ran a lot” for the last 16 minutes — all analyzed the Porto defense in the second half. The goalless draw couldn’t dampen the Liverpool manager’s enthusiasm for his group’s progress. “I do not want to make it smaller than it is and I really don’t want to make it larger,” said Klopp. “We belong there, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise and the next round will be extremely tough. We’ve got an opportunity to go through to the semis, that’s the aim, but we take it step by step. It is cool.”

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