5 TALKING POINTS! Liverpool 0-0 Porto (5-0 Agg)… As Reds Reach The Champions League Quarter-Finals With Turgid Draw

Jurgen Klopp’s side failed to register a shot on target in the first half but first leg 5-0 victory sees them through. Job done for Liverpool, with the minimum of fuss.

 
With his side already in the quarter final of the Champions’ League after their 5-0 demolition of Porto in the first leg, Jurgen Klopp took the chance to rest players, and prepare for the bigger battles ahead, with Mo Salah and Virgil van Dijk confined to the bench.

They still controlled this game against limited – and frightened – Portuguese opponents though, strolling through the second leg with some comfort.

The only disappointment for Klopp was that his side didn’t get the win their ease within the contest deserved, with Sadio Mane hitting the post with one fine effort, and then steering just over with another, the closest they came.

It really didn’t matter though. Liverpool will be happy to be in the quarter final for the first time in almost a decade, and here our reporter David Maddock looks at some of the issues from the game.

1. Adam Lallana ready for World Cup?

If this second leg was entirely academic for the rest of the Liverpool team, then it was almost as big as the final itself for Adam Lallana, given the chance it offered to press his claim for more game time.

The midfielder needs starts to force his way back into the England starting XI for the World Cup, and this tie allowed him to make the case. He did with some conviction.

Lallana was the pick of the forwards, creating chances for Firmino, Mane and Milner, and showing he has lost none of his energy and skill after such a long time out of the team.

There will be more opportunities to come, and Gareth Southgate will be relieved his influential player looks ready for them.

2. Harder games

Liverpool look ready for the bigger challenges ahead, too. Jurgen Klopp rested five players here, but still the Reds were composed and organised and always in control of a tie that was – obviously – already over.

Porto, for their part, were content not to experience a repeat of another hammering, so it wasn’t much of a game, but what excitement was on offer came from the home side, who should have cantered to victory even in the first half, when Sadio Mane came agonisingly close on two occasions.

3. Klopp selection dilemmas

Klopp’s problem now looks who to leave out, not who to select.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was outstanding at the weekend against Newcastle, but James Milner has been equally impressive in Europe, and again here he made a decent case to be retained for the visit to Old Trafford this weekend.

With Georginio Wijnaldum back for that game, the manager has an embarrassment of midfield riches, and will to have select tactically.

4. Defensive competition

There is competition at the back too. With Virgil van Dijk rested for this Champions’ League game, Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip basically went head to head for the right to partner the Dutchman at United on Saturday.

Lovren shaded it. Matip looked a little off the pace in the opening minutes, beaten a couple of times by the flight of the ball and the movement of Vincent Aboubaker.

Lovren, on the otherhand, is benefiting from playing alongside van Dijk, and the confidence that brings. It looks Klopp’s best partnership.

5. Mo Salah’s run ends

Inevitably, Mo Salah was given a run out towards the end. What else did you expect.

With the forward on 32 goals for the season, you knew he wanted to keep playing to keep open the prospect of more goals.

It is that desire which makes him such a threat, and makes him such an icon for the Reds fans, who welcomed his cameo for the final 15 minutes as though he was coming on to save their place in the Champions’ League.

His first touch was sublime, pulling a missile out of the sky like it was on a string. There will be more goals to come from him.

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