The Post Match Review - Porto
Liverpool have reached the final four of Europes premier club competition for the second year running, and with it, have reemerged as a European heavyweight. We all witnessed it last season, we all know what our team is capable of. But by reaching the semi finals once again, we've made our statement, we are back baby! Liverpool ended up running out 6-1 aggregate winners, knocking Porto out of the champions league for the second year running. The game started very slowly for the reds, and very fast for the home side. We looked like we was suffering a hangover from Chelsea, which was to be expected if I'm being honest, but we were playing well enough in my opinion to get the all important away goal. Which eventually came thanks to Mane and VAR. Once we had scored, I felt as though the tie was a forgone conclusion and you could see that Porto had become frustrated. Especially after such an encouraging start for the home side. The second half seen Klopp change formation to 4-4-1-1 and bring Bobby on in place of Divock, to add more energy in Liverpools front line defensive duties. As the game wore on, Porto's work rate dropped as well as their belief. It was here that Liverpool got a grip on the game, and began to create more clear cut opportunities for the attackers. Salah made it two, after a brilliant ball from young Trent. Porto got one back from some pretty average defending of a corner by the lads, but they soon made amends with Bobby guiding one home from a delightful cross from Hendo. Van Dijk wrapped up the game in the 85th minute glancing one into the net with his head, for Liverpools fourth of the night. The scoreline was probably an injustice to Porto's performance and effort, but it's also a marker of how clinical this Liverpool side can be, even at the highest of levels.
We're witnessing something I haven't really seen before in my lifetime. Of course we have been to the later stages of the champions league before, and we have competed for the league on a few occasions. However I don't think we have ever truly been one of the top 5 teams in the world, during my 25 years as a red. I believe we are now, and it's only the beginning. This is our first full season with a side that is totally Jurgen Klopp's, he finally has a squad at Liverpool he can call his own. He's worked tirelessly to build it, and now we are about to bear witness to its fruition. I can't wait to see what the future holds for these lads, and of course for us as fans.
So next in the champions league is Barcelona, the next obstacle for the reds to try navigate past and reach the final for the second year in a row. That would certainly be an even bigger statement by the boys, and you have to admit that whoever wins this semi final, will be the favourites to win the competition. It means the return of a few Kop heroes who decided to leave Liverpool for the Catalan giants. The big question is how will they be received at Anfield. To be honest I don't give a fuck about them anymore, we've moved onto far bigger and better things without them, and they are about to feel the full force of Anfield. I am really confident that we will go all the way this year, the lads have been in this situation before, its chartered territory for them, and I feel as though Barca are arrogant enough to come and play open football against us. Which could certainly play into our hands, either way this is why you want to play in this competition. For these big games against the best sides in Europe, and I can't wait for it. With 6 games left of the season, and a possible champions league final to add to that, Liverpool are in a great shape at the moment. As I have said before, we are hitting form at the perfect time. We've had a perfect April so far and with only two more fixtures to go in the calendar month, against sides occupying positions in the relegation zone, we could make it 6 from 6. If we can't be excited now as fans, when can we be? So for now we just have to try and enjoy every moment of it, savour every second, because before we know it the season will be over and we will be discussing possible transfer targets. Let's not wish these games away, by looking at the end too much that we forget the present. Bring on the fight, because our lads are ready for war, and they'll have a sea of red standing behind them every step of the way, no matter what. YNWA!