Roberto Firmino

AP Photo/Luis Vieira

“Usually it’s not that easy,” says Klopp after ‘perfect’ win

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Jurgen Klopp was effusive with praise for his Reds after Liverpool clobbered Porto 5-0 in their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg at the Estadio do Dragao on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Match recap | Milner, Mane react ]

“I saw a lot of fantastic performances tonight, a result like this is only possible if they are all spot on,” Klopp said to BT Sport, via the BBC. “I think Robertson played an outstanding game, finally he found his crosses, I thought they were in Scotland or somewhere which was good to see. Of course Sadio is Man of the match but Roberto Firmino‘s work rate was outstanding again.”

To hit the road for a first leg and hand a team their worst home loss is excellent, and now Liverpool heads to Spain for a warm weather training camp ahead of the stretch run.

While anything is possible in the second leg, the five away goals gives the Reds as close to a certain berth in the quarterfinals as possible. That should also give Klopp ease in lineup selection when the Reds face Newcastle, Porto, and Manchester United between March 3-10.

Back to Wednesday’s win, it was incredible. Klopp was asked if it was perfect

“You could say that of course. It was very professional, very mature in the right moments, very aggressive, good defending, good counter-attacking, keeping the ball, moving them around. In this game it was possible, usually it’s not that easy.”

The second leg is March 6 at Anfield.

Porto 0-5 Liverpool: Mane leads rout

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Sadio Mane scored a hat trick as Liverpool buried Porto 5-0 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie at the Estadio do Dragao on Wednesday.

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah also scored (of course) as the Reds took a page from Man City’s book in scooping up four away goals from the first leg.

The second leg hits Anfield on March 6.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Porto had the first two chances of the match, the higher profile opportunity coming when Otavio saw his shot blocked by Dejan Lovren.

Mane’s goal came on the first of a few regrettable moments for goalkeeper Jose Sa, who lost track of a Georginio Wijnaldum blocked attempt as it wriggled under him. The play started when Sa’s thrown clearance was distributed right to the Reds.

Liverpool made it 2-0 on a clever finish from Salah after James Milner cranked a shot off the woodwork.

Sa did not enjoy the third goal, either, parrying a Firmino shot to Mane for the brace.

Firmino added Liverpool’s fourth in the 70th minute, and Mane completed his hat trick in the 85th minute.

LIVE, UCL – Real Madrid v. PSG, Porto v. Liverpool

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Two more UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first legs take place on Wednesday and you will not want to miss this.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

A heavyweight battle between two-time reigning champions Real Madrid and one of this years favorites to be crowned European champions, Paris Saint-Germain, takes center stage at the Santiago Bernabeu. Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar lock horns as rumors persist about their futures. This should be an epic encounter.

Staying in Iberia, FC Porto host Liverpool at the Estadio do Dragao with Jurgen Klopp‘s side the heavy favorites thanks to the incredible form of Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah in attack. Vincent Aboubakar, the main dangerman for Porto is out injured, as Liverpool return to the Champions League knockout stage for the first time in nine years.

[ MORE: JPW’s Champions League, last 16 picks

Click on the link above to follow live commentary of the two UCL last 16 games, while we will have you covered for analysis and reaction from both games right here at Pro Soccer Talk.

Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 schedule

Real Madrid vs. Paris Saint-Germain – 2:45 p.m. ET
FC Porto vs. Liverpool – 2:45 p.m. ET

Liverpool aims to make Porto “life difficult” in Champions League

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Roberto Firmino is sneaky brash.

That’s to say that Liverpool’s Brazilian striker doesn’t necessarily dominate the headlines or regularly engage in absurd celebrations, but it isn’t a surprise at all when his confidence goes from the pitch to the press conference.

[ RECAP: Basel 0-4 Man City ]

The Reds’ in-form striker has authored 20 goals this season, including six in the UEFA Champions League, and he’ll return to the forefront of their attack in that competition comes Wednesday at Porto in the first leg of the Round of 16.

Asked whether teams will be afraid to face Liverpool’s vaunted attack, Firmino offered this beaut in response:

“I don’t know if they’re going to be ‘afraid’ or not but we are going to make their life difficult, that’s for sure. We want to make them suffer.”

You can also tell that the club is tired of being asked about the absence of Philippe Coutinho, and that Jurgen Klopp has drilled the Reds on what they’ll aim to prove this season regarding their depth.

“Coutinho is a great player but we have substituted him with no problem,” Firmino. “Everybody has great responsibility but that’s our job, to deal with that responsibility.”

There’s something to like about the collective animus of the Reds under Klopp, though it certainly rubs some the wrong way. There’s danger in expecting Liverpool to perform to explosive expectations, but we’re feeling the club’s confidence ahead of Wednesday.

Southampton 0-2 Liverpool: Salah, Firmino thrill

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  • Reds go third
  • Salah, Firmino each w/ goal, assist
  • Saints sink 18th

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah assisted on each other’s goals as Liverpool beat Southampton 2-0 at St. Mary’s on Sunday.

The Reds are two points behind Manchester United for second in the Premier League, while Saints dip into the drop zone with 26 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Liverpool was ahead after six minutes, with Mohamed Salah receiving the luxury of a wide open Sadio Mane and Firmino. He chose the latter, and the latter chose to finish beyond the reach of Alex McCarthy. 1-0, Reds.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a shot deflected toward a diving McCarthy moments later.

Saints were on the verge of equalizing when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg trapped a diagonal ball in the 18, but Loris Karius came charging to make a fine save.

James Ward-Prowse swept a cross to the penalty spot, where Guido Carrillo forced a save out of Karius with a header. Moments later, Dusan Tadic sent one to Ward-Prowse, whose header was palmed out for a corner by Karius.

Saints were on the front foot for the remainder of the half, that is excepting Liverpool’s crucial second goal. Salah and Firmino worked a 1-2 which included a back heel from the Brazilian. 2-0, 42′.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Ward-Prowse hit a hard free kick to the front post, and Hoedt couldn’t quite turn it past Karius as the match remained 2-0 in the 60th minute.

Salah collected a Firmino rebound off a Mane-inspired combination, but saw a rare miss hit the outside of the side netting.

Substitute Adam Lallana nearly found the side panel against his old team, but shot wide of the far post.