Jurgen Klopp’s side returned to European action at Estádio do Dragão.
Good evening and welcome along to our live coverage of Liverpool’s Champions League round of 16 first leg tie with Porto from the Estádio do Dragão.
The knockout round started with a bang last night as Juventus and Tottenham played out a thrilling draw in Turin, and now it’s the turn of Jurgen Klopp’s side as they return to this stage of the competition for the first time since the 2014/15.
The night’s other game sees holders Real Madrid host PSG at the Bernabéu, with both ties kicking off at 7.45pm.
TEAM NEWS: Dejan Lovren, Jordan Henderson and James Milner are all recalled by Jurgen Klopp as the Liverpool manager makes three changes from the weekend’s win over Southampton.
Emre Can, who captained the Reds at St Mary’s, is suspended tonight while Joel Matip and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also drop out. Loris Karius has retained his place in goal.
TEAM NEWS: Here is how the home side will line up this evening — and the big news is that striker Vincent Aboubakar, who has scored 20 goals in 28 matches this season, misses out through injury.
It has been raining all day in Porto and it doesn’t look like relenting for kick off.
Before we press on with our build-up to the game at Estádio do Dragão, the teams are in for the night’s other game, with Real Madrid leaving Gareth Bale on the bench.
Real Madrid: Keylor Navas; Nacho, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos (capt), Marcelo; Luka Modric, Casemiro, Toni Kroos; Isco; Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo
Paris Saint-Germain: Alphonse Areola; Dani Alves, Marquinhos (capt), Presnel Kimpembe, Yuri Berchiche; Marco Verratti, Giovani Lo Celso, Adrien Rabiot; Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani, Neymar
Porto’s clash with Liverpool is one of only two last 16 ties featuring a pair of former European champions, with the hosts winning the competition twice and the Reds lifting it five times.
They also have previous. The sides have met four times in Europe, the most recent of which was during the 2007/08 group stage when Liverpool won 4-1 at Anfield thanks to a brace from Fernando Torres and strikes from Steve Gerrard and Peter Crouch.
- Liverpool 4-1 Porto – 2007/08 Champions League group stage
- Porto 1-1 Liverpool – 2007/08 Champions League group stage
- Liverpool 2-0 Porto – 2000/01 UEFA Cup quarter-final second leg
- Porto 0-0 Liverpool – 2000/01 UEFA Cup quarter-final first leg
Not long until kick off now. Which way do you see this one going?
If you missed it a little earlier, Virgil van Dijk will partner Dejan Lovren in the heart of defence on his Champions League debut for Liverpool tonight.
The centre-back has previously represented Celtic in the competition, and having joined the Anfield side from Southampton in January, is offered his first chance to line-up under Jurgen Klopp on the continent.
Lovren switches in for Joel Matip alongside him in one of three changes to the starting XI.
The suspended Emre Can is replaced by captain Jordan Henderson at the base of midfield, while James Milner comes in for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Joe Gomez returns from a knee issue and is on the bench.
Liverpool XI: Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Milner, Wijnaldum, Salah, Mane, Firmino
Subs: Mignolet, Matip, Moreno, Gomez, Lallana, Oxlade-Chamberlain.
In his pre-match comments, Jurgen Klopp yesterday said his team can compete with the best in this season’s competition.
“I know it already, we can compete with them,” he said. ”I think probably the strongest football team in this moment in Europe is Manchester City and we played them twice already at the highest level.
“The Premier League is a little different but if we meet them, then we could beat them.
“The last 16 in the Champions League is quite a message already.
“Now we have to show that we are not only part of the competition, we are quite ambitious. That is how it is and we have to take it seriously.”
We’ll keep you up to date with events in Madrid as the evening progresses.
For those wondering, Porto-Liverpool is live on RTÉ2 and eir Sport have coverage of Real Madrid-PSG.
The atmosphere is really building inside Estádio do Dragão as the teams emerge from the tunnel.
As the pre-match formalities are completed, let’s reminder ourselves of tonight’s line-ups.
Porto XI: Jose Sa; Ricardo, Reyes, Marcano, Alex Telles, Herrera, Sergio Oliveira, Otavio, Brahimi, Marega e Soares.
Liverpool XI: Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Milner, Wijnaldum, Salah, Mane, Firmino.
KICK OFF! Liverpool, in their changed strip of all orange, get us underway.
1 min – Liverpool keeping hold of possession during the early exchanges. Porto appear happy to drop off to ensure they keep their shape and discipline and certainly patience may be the name of the game for the visitors this evening.
3 mins – As the rain hammers down, Yacine Brahimi gets the chance to run at Alexander-Arnold for the first time and he wins a corner for the home side.
This will be a real test for the Reds tonight as Porto scored more goals from set-pieces (eight) than any other team in this season’s group stages.
6 mins – Liverpool have been knocking the ball around for the best part of two minutes now but they’re met with a wall of blue and white shirts. That said, Porto appear to be keeping very narrow defensively and the visitors may have some luck if they can get it out wide and attack down those channels.
9 mins — CLOSE! Moussa Marega pounces on the loose ball on the edge of the area and eventually Otavio manufactures a yard of space to shoot, but his effort his deflected just over off Lovren.
11 mins – There has been a real energy and purpose to Porto early on and they certainly have enough up front to cause Liverpool trouble, as evidenced in that last move.
Down the other end, meanwhile, Robertson decides to try his luck from range but his effort is high and wide.
14 mins – Marega has popped up on the opposite side and looks to be a real handful, as he takes Roberston on before crossing, with Van Dijk just about clearing the danger.
16 mins – There’s no real energy to Liverpool and the hosts — who look hungrier and sharper — are dictating proceedings so far. We haven’t really seen Salah, Mane or Firmino yet.
20 mins — CHANCE! A poor kick out from Jose Sa gifts hands Liverpool possession in a dangerous position but Salah looks to square it for Firmino and his attempted cross is poor and easily cut out. It was surprising he didn’t back himself there to go for goal with only the goalkeeper to beat, albeit from a tight angle.
22 mins – Liverpool look a bit more menacing all of a sudden. Roberston latches onto a ball down the left and whips in a delicious cross, forcing the Porto centre-back to make a last-ditch intervention with Firmino ready to pounce.
24 mins — GOAL! Porto 0-1 Liverpool (Mane)
An absolute howler from the ‘keeper! Wijnaldum forces his way through and lays it off for the unmarked Mane, who fires it straight at Jose Sa but he gets it all wrong and the ball creeps under his body and across the line. A penny for Iker Casillas’ thoughts as he sits watching on the bench.
27 mins – That’s a real disaster for the hosts, who had started brightly and were causing Liverpool a few problems. Klopp’s side had responded well and were starting to pick holes in the Porto defence, but Mane’s opener was very soft.
29 mins — GOAL! Porto 0-2 Liverpool (Salah)
The complexion of this tie has changed completely in the space of five minutes. Milner strikes the post from distance and Salah is quickest to react, but he still has so much to do by lifting the ball delightfully over the ‘keeper and composing himself before finishing. That’s goal number 30 of the season for the Liverpool forward.
33 mins – Porto have lost their way and Liverpool, having not played particularly well, find themselves in complete control of this tie.
30 - Mohamed Salah is the first Liverpool player to score 30 goals in all competitions in a single season since Luis Suarez (31) in 2013/14. Relentless. pic.twitter.com/5A4UjmEsIc— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 14, 2018
36 mins – There has also been a goal in the night’s other last 16 tie, and Rabiot has silenced the Bernabeu with a delightful finish from close range. The holders are up against it.
38 mins — Liverpool again happy to retain possession and unlike the opening 20 minutes, they’re under no pressure to force the issue now. Porto continue to sit deep and the visitors have been able to dictate the pace of the contest. It’s far too easy for them.
41 mins – Space opening up for Liverpool between the lines now and they can cause serious damage here if they play it right. Four minutes until the break.
43 mins — CLOSE! Liverpool are very nearly caught at the other end. Brahimi finds a pocket of space and feeds it into Tiquinho, who holds Van Dijk off but fires wide.
45 mins – Right on the stroke of half time, Cristiano Ronaldo has fired Real Madrid level from the spot after Kroos was brought down in the box by Lo Celso.
HALF TIME: Porto 0-2 Liverpool
Easy as you like for the Reds. They were gifted a first goal by the Porto ‘keeper but assumed complete control from there as Salah doubled the lead with a brilliant finish after Milner’s shot cannoned off the post.
KICK OFF! The teams are back out and we’re underway again in Portugal. The hosts have made a change at the break, by the way, with Otavio making way for Jesus Corona.
49 mins – Not a lot happening during the opening minutes of this second half. The onus is now on Porto to force the issue with Liverpool keen to maintain control and ensure they don’t allow the Portuguese side back into the game.
52 mins — GOAL! Porto 0-3 Liverpool (Mane)
Porto have pushed numbers forward but leave themselves exposed at the back and Liverpool pounce clinically. Firmino is set free and although his initial effort is well saved by the ‘keeper, Mane is there to slot the rebound home. Game, and tie, over.
58 mins – Liverpool are cruising in Porto now and have one foot firmly in the quarter-finals. A little over half an hour to go in this first leg.
63 mins – Liverpool are in the position now where they can just knock the ball around at will and then inject a bit of pace into the attack as they go in search of a fourth.
69 mins — GOAL! Porto 0-4 Liverpool (Firmino)
That’s glorious, and Liverpool are just toying with Porto now. Milner races down the left and cuts it back perfectly for Firmino to latch onto and side-foot home first time from 12 yards out. That’s his eighth goal in Europe this term.
74 mins – Klopp makes his first change as Henderson makes way for Joel Matip. You’d expect a bit of a reshuffle for the final 15 minutes, with the visitors now deploying three centre backs.
76 mins – As far as away performances in Europe go, this has been pretty much perfect from Liverpool, and Klopp’s side have never really got out of third gear. Porto have been incredibly disappointing and once the first goal went in, the life was sucked out of the home side. It has been so comfortable for Liverpool.
80 mins – Double change for Liverpool. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino have been replaced by Joe Gomez and Danny Ings for the final 10 minutes.
83 mins — CHANCE! Lovely build-up play again from Liverpool but Mane is unable to get over Robertson’s cross and it sails over.
84 mins – There has been a dramatic late goal in Madrid, where — you know who — has just struck again to give the European champions a slender 2-1 lead heading into the final few minutes. Ronaldo bundled it home from close range after Areola fumbled the cross.
85 mins — GOAL! Porto 0-5 Liverpool (Mane, hat-trick)
Game, set and match. Mane completes a memorable hat-trick with a stunning drive from range.
28 - Liverpool have scored more goals than any other team in the Champions League this season, with 25 of those goals coming across their last five games. Update.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 14, 2018
87 mins – Marcelo has just put Real Madrid 3-1 up at home to PSG having fallen behind in the first half. Big goals in the closing moments there.
90 mins – Into two minute of additional time now. Sadio Mane, by the way, has become the fifth player to score a Champions League hat-trick this season and the second Liverpool player to do so after Philippe Coutinho.
FULL TIME! Porto 0-5 Liverpool
An emphatic return to the Champions League knockout stages for the Reds after they dominated from start to finish to settle this tie and ultimately book their place in the quarter-finals.
A hat-trick from Sadio Mane, as well as goals from Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino, seals an impressive result for Klopp’s men. Easy as you like.
Thanks for joining us this evening. We’ll have much more reaction from Porto shortly, plus a report from Madrid where late goals have swung that last 16 tie firmly in the holders’ favour.