Porto 1-4 Liverpool (Agg: 1-6): Clinical Reds book Champions League semi-final with Barcelona
Report as Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Virgil van Dijk all score
By Michael Hincks at the Estadio do Dragao
Last Updated: 18/04/19 9:56am
Liverpool set up a semi-final showdown with Barcelona as a clinical 4-1 victory at Porto secured a 6-1 win on aggregate in the Champions League.
Jurgen Klopp's side weathered an early storm as Porto pushed for the much-needed opener at the Estadio do Dragao, but the hosts ultimately fell behind when VAR ruled Sadio Mane was onside when tapping in from Mohamed Salah's cross (26).
Salah scored after the break (65) himself before Eder Militao headed in for the hosts three minutes later, but substitute Roberto Firmino (77) and Virgil van Dijk (84) sealed a comprehensive victory as Liverpool scored with their first four shots on target.
Porto: Casillas (5), Militao (6), Felipe (5), Pepe (5), Alex Telles (6), Corona (6), Danilo (5), Herrera (5), Brahimi (5), Otavio (5), Marega (4)
Subs: Soares (6), Fernando (N/A), Costa (N/A)
Liverpool: Alisson (7), Alexander-Arnold (7), Matip (7), Van Dijk (8), Robertson (6), Fabinho (7), Wijnaldum (6), Milner (6), Mane (8), Salah (7), Origi (5)
Subs: Firmino (6), Gomez (6), Henderson (6)
Man of the match: Sadio Mane
The upcoming semi-final pits Liverpool against former players Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho as they bid to reach a second-straight final, but their immediate attention turns to a trip to Cardiff City in the Premier League on Super Sunday.
Porto had Liverpool on the backfoot early on, but failed to convert any of their chances as 13 attempts in the opening 25 minutes forced Alisson into making just four routine saves.
Liverpool then went ahead when Salah picked out Mane at the back post, with the goal given after a VAR check deemed the Senegalese forward was level.
That goal took the sting out of the tie, and though Yacine Brahimi brought Alisson into action once more, the hosts ended the half without a goal despite recording 15 shots.
Divock Origi was a surprise starter up front as Roberto Firmino dropped to the bench. Defender Joe Gomez was among the substitutes having not played since December 5 due to injury.
Pepe and Hector Herrera returned to Porto’s starting XI after missing the first leg through suspension.
After the break, a pinpoint through ball from Trent Alexander-Arnold put Salah through on goal, and the Egyptian made no mistake when sliding it under Iker Casillas.
Not deterred by the four-goal aggregate margin, the Porto fans willed their side on, and the hosts got the goal their performance deserved when Militao met Alex Telles' cross.
When is the Champions League semi-final?
Liverpool face Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Wednesday, May 1 (8pm), with the second leg taking place at Anfield on Tuesday, May 7 (8pm).
Mane then missed an open goal when off balance after rounding Casillas, but it did not matter as Liverpool scored their third when Jordan Henderson found Firmino, with Van Dijk then rounding it off with a header after Mane flicked on James Milner's cross.
Man of the match - Sadio Mane
The forward stayed just onside to tap in Liverpool's opener, and that was the moment this tie ended.
Mane even got an assist late on when flicking it on for Van Dijk, and that rounded off a professional performance from Liverpool's No 10, who made a match-high six tackles and won 62 per cent of his 21 duels.
- Liverpool are the first English side to qualify for back-to-back Champions League semi-finals since both Chelsea and Manchester United did so in three campaigns between 2006-07 and 2008-09.
- Alongside fellow Portuguese side Benfica, Porto have been eliminated from six European Cup/Champions League knockout ties against English opposition, more than any other team (excluding finals).
- Liverpool are now unbeaten in their four European trips to Porto (W2 D2); the Reds have only visited Barcelona as many times in all European competition without suffering defeat.
- Porto have now been eliminated from six of their last seven quarter-final appearances in the European Cup/Champions League, including each of the last three in 2008-09 (Man Utd), 2014-15 (Bayern Munich) and 2018-19 (Liverpool).
Liverpool head to Cardiff on Super Sunday, by which point they could be down to second in the Premier League if Manchester City beat Tottenham on Saturday, also live on Sky Sports.