Another European night at Anfield ends with a Liverpool win. A very mature and professional performance from the lads, gives the reds a 2 goal advantage and a clean sheet to take to Portugal. I honestly don't believe we could have asked for a better result. We got to rest a few players; Matip, Gini, Robbo (forced due to suspension). We got to give other players some much needed minutes and confidence in Lovren, Keita and Hendo playing in a more advanced role. We got the result we wanted, without really exerting ourselves too much, and if we score an away goal, Porto have to score 4 against us to progress. I can't see that happening. Stranger things have happened in football, but our boys have proven that they have the mental strength to cope with that situation. I fancied us taken a nil nil draw to Munich, so I certainly back us going to Porto with 2. Straight from the first whistle you could see that both teams were going to go for it, Porto showed that they were brave enough to try take us on, which led to the game being very open. Obviously that played right into our hands, and little Keita popped up with his second goal for the club in as many games. Yes the shot took a fortunate deflection, but the fact that he was in a great position in the box, is cause for encouragement. From that point on, it looked like Liverpool may very well repeat the scoreline from our previous first leg encounter with Porto. A possibility which seemed more and more likely when Bobby scored another no look goal. Which was teed up after a great ball in-between the lines by Hendo, finding Trent who squared it across goal to the Brazilian maestro for an easy tap in. The second half was a bit less frantic, with Porto seemingly sitting deeper and trying to prevent Liverpool from extending their lead. This led to more control in the game by the reds who saw out the rest of the match in a composed and professional manner.
A few players had a really good game. I thought Hendo was brilliant playing in that number 8 role, he was making some brilliant passes and was demonstrating his vision with seemingly every attack. He had a key part to play for the second goal, and I believe it was his ball for Mane's finish which was deemed offside. Another player who really caught the eye was Bobby, a man of the match performance in my opinion, he was outstanding. Hopefully this is a demo of what's to come for the rest of the season from our number 9. Some other worthy shoutouts I think are deserved for Keita, Mo and Ali. Keita at times looked weak and sloppy in possession, but you can see the elements to his game which he brings to this Liverpool side, the ability to run at defenders from the middle. I thought it was a much better display from the lad, and hopefully another goal and 90 minutes under his belt will do him the world of good. Mo looked very dangerous today, he was lively and had that spring back in his step, but it just wasn't quite coming off for him again. A great save in the first half from Ali shows why it pays to have a real shot stopper as the last line of defence. I thought Porto got behind us too easily at times and luckily we had the latino James blunt in net to prevent conceding a costly away goal. All in all, its another great result for a Liverpool side which are in top form at the moment. 6 wins out of 6 in all competitions, it seems as though we are hitting form at the right time. Granted this champions league tie is nowhere near over, but we have a solid foundation to go and build on, with one foot firmly in the semi final of the champions league. It's amazing to see how far we have come in such a short time. It can be easily forgotten because as Liverpool fans, this is where we want and expect to be, in the later stages of Europes pinnacle competition and competing for the league. But if we go back just two years ago, we were fighting for fourth, just to have the opportunity to qualify for the champions league. Now, we are looking at making it into the last four 2 years on the bounce, and yet it seems as though Europe is playing second fiddle. You can't blame anyone for prioritising the league, the holy grail which has eluded us for 29 years. I grew up on tails of the Liverpool greats who dominated the league and conquered Europe, but I'm yet to see our captain lift the English crown. Yet in the same time frame, I've seen Liverpool in 5 European cup finals. The lyrics to ALLEZ aren't just some words that we pieced together that rhyme, they are statements of honesty. WE HAVE conquered all of Europe and WE ARE NEVER going to stop. For me personally, I believe both competitions go hand in hand. We need the distraction of Europe, to take the pressure away from the title race, and going far in the champions league will give us the confidence to beat anyone and everyone.
They say April is the crunch month, so far so good. With another "Our Biggest Game of the Season" coming up on Sunday against Chelsea at Anfield, our attention will be quickly drawn back onto the premier league. Porto will more than likely be hoping for a very difficult game for us, with the idea we will rock up to the Estadio Dragoa with tired legs. I don't think that will be a problem for our lads, the last few weeks they have eliminated all doubts in my mind about their credentials. I'm so proud of them all, regardless of what happens till the end of the season. Klopp said in his interview that when he was a young manager he dreamed of having a squad of world class players, at a great club. Well since I was a young boy I've dreamed of having world class players at Liverpool, Klopp's made those dreams come true. As fans what more can you ask for. YNWA!