Freak Liverpool omen after record UCL away rout
LIVERPOOL have put on a counter attacking clinic in the Champions League to set a new English record for knock out stage wins, hitting five against FC Porto.
Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane all found the net as Jurgen Klopp's men put on an attacking masterclass to all but secure passage to the quarter finals.
It's the third time Liverpool have won in Portugal. Interestingly, the victory brings into play an omen which would excite Reds fans… on those other two occasions; their side won the European Cup.
Porto were inches from an early opener, with Loris Karius left wrong footed by a brilliant Trent Alexander-Arnold block which saw the shot loop over the crossbar.
But Sadio Mane punished Porto soon after as he pounced on a Jose Sa error to open the scoring.
Five minutes later it was Salah's turn, as the Egyptian produced some outrageous skill to round the keeper and double the lead following James Milner's post rattling curler.
After the break, the Merseysiders kept their foot on the gas, with Mane doubling his tally in the 53rd minute - finishing off another beautifully crafted counter attack to shoot his side three up.
Roberto Firmino ensured every member of the Reds' front three was on the scoresheet as he stroked home following another outstanding piece of counter attacking brilliance. Mane was the chief orchestrator, as he sent Milner to the by-line who cut back expertly to find a waiting Firmino who steered home.
The Brazilian wheeled out a new karate inspired celebration as the fab three revelled in yet another well-constructed strike. Klopp's men are now the top scorers in this season's Champions League, surpassing PSG, and have netted 24 goals in their last five matches in the tournament.
Not to be outdone, Mane popped up again in the 85th minute to complete his hat trick with a stunning long range drive.
"It was important to play as a team and we did, we played great football from the beginning," Mane told BT Sport.
"We created so many chances and we scored five. It was well deserved."
Jurgen Klopp's men had scored 23 goals in the group stage and continued that scintillating form in Portugal to become the top-scorers in this season's competition, while the defensive frailties that have plagued them at times this season never resurfaced as Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk put in accomplished displays at the back.
"We wanted to keep a clean sheet and with the players we have we always have the chance to score an away goal," said midfielder James Milner. "I thought we could have scored more."
Salah's strike was his 30th of the season - a mark he has reached the second fastest of any Liverpool player in the club's 126-year history. The only man to reach the milestone faster was George Allan in 1896.
James Milner's pair of assists have seen him leapfrog Dele Alli and Kevin De Bruyne to lead the assist tally in this season's Champions League.
"We wanted to keep a clean sheet and with the players we have we always have the chance to score an away goal," said Milner said. "I thought we could have scored more."
It's a performance which has all but assured the Reds will advance to the quarter finals - the first time they've done so since 2008-09.