Liverpool's merciless front three at their absolute best in thrashing of Porto

Liverpool's merciless front three at their absolute best in thrashing of Porto
From ESPN - February 14, 2018

PORTO, Portugal -- Three points on Liverpool's 5-0 win in their Champions League round-of-16 first-leg tie against Porto.

1. Liverpool's front three show no mercy

It's almost a certainty that Liverpool will reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League for the first time since 2009, and with the devastating nature of their front three, there is every possibility that their European adventure does not end there this season either.

Five away goals at the Estadio do Dragao have Liverpool fans dreaming anything is possible with Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane at hand.

It was a night where Salah scored his 30th goal of the season in all competitions, but he was overshadowed by Mane's hat trick that took his tally to 12. But do not forget the tireless efforts of Firmino, too, who scored Liverpool's fourth.

In total, Liverpool have scored 28 times in Europe's premier cup competition in 2017-18 -- more than any other team -- and they are not showing any signs of slowing down.

There were very early indications that this could have perhaps been a difficult night for Liverpool. Porto decided to go at their English opponents instead of trying to manage the tie over two legs.

But the home side's eagerness got the better of them as Liverpool scored twice within the space of four first-half minutes.

Goalkeeper Jose Sa's throw out in attempt of a quick restart was intercepted by Dejan Lovren, who pushed up into a midfield position as he sensed an opportunity. After a rather scruffy dribble from Georginio Wijnaldum, the ball made its way to Mane. Sa got a hand on Mane's resulting shot, but could only watch as the ball agonizingly squeaked under him and crossed the line.

Liverpool's second in the 29th minute was also a drawn-out process. James Milner hit the post with a strike, with the rebound falling to Salah, who had the goal gaping. With the calmness of a man who had netted on 29 previous occasions during the 2017-18 season, Salah took a touch, casually flicking the ball over the goalkeeper before tapping it in.

Porto were vulnerable as they searched for a way back into the game, but it gave Liverpool's terrific trio even more space to do what they do best.

All of the front three played their part to make it 3-0 early in the second half. On a counter that had Porto outnumbered, Salah played a wonderfully-crafted through ball to Firmino, whose shot was parried by Sa into the path of Mane to finish. Firmino's goal was just as simple as he converted James Milner's cross with 21 minutes left of the 90.

Mane secured the match ball in the 85th minute as he saved his best for the last when he delivered a thumping effort from well outside the penalty area. This tie is all-but over and Liverpool can begin eying up their next victim.


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