On a wet and windy night at the Estadio Dragao, Jurgen Klopp’s side withstood an early FC Porto storm to give themselves a first leg advantage and one step into the quarter-finals before they return to Anfield in three weeks time for the second leg.
Liverpool midfielder James Milner produced an outstanding display and has called on thee Reds to maintain the momentum produced by a sensational 5-0 victory over the Primeira Liga leaders in the Champions League on Wednesday.
A hat-trick from Sadio Mané plus goals from Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino gave Liverpool a comfortable win.
FC Porto will need to score five at Anfield if they are to progress to the quarter-finals, but Liverpool cannot afford to become complacent despite their lengthy advantage.
“It’s not a holiday”
With 10 days before the team’s next outing in the Premier League, Jürgen Klopp now takes his side to Spain for a training camp until Sunday.
And rest is not the primary purpose of the visit, according to Milner.
“It’s not a holiday – we’ll be training very hard this week. We’ll recover in the next two days, train hard over the weekend and hopefully keep this momentum going,” the vice-captain told BT Sport.
On the result, he reflected: “They’re a very good side and it’s a tough place to come. You heard the crowd right until the end; even with the result the way it was, they sang right to the end. Credit to them.
“They are a good team and we knew it would be tough. We wanted to keep a clean sheet, and with the players we’ve got we’ve always got hope of scoring away goals.
“We managed to do that and could have had a few more. We were solid right the way through and that was pleasing, especially to keep a clean sheet.”
“He’s doing a great job for the team”
Mane spectacularly ended an indifferent run of form with his treble on Europe’s biggest stage to keep the doubters quiet as the 25-year-old become the 4th Reds player in history to score a hat-trick in the European competition.
The Senegal international opened the scoring midway through the first half and his second ended a devastating breakaway and his hat-trick goal showed the confidence he’s been missing in recent weeks as he fired a stunning third past a helpless Malheiro de Sá.
“He does a great job for the team,” said Milner.
“People see the flair, the ability he has and the goals he scores – but he does a great job for the team, he’s always tucking in and winning the ball back. He’s a great member of the dressing room.”