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Efficient Liverpool punishes Porto (video)

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  • Keita scores deflected opener
  • Firmino makes it 2-0 before half
  • Alisson strong in goal

Liverpool went a long way toward clinching a second-successive spot in the UEFA Champions League, defeating Porto 2-0 at Anfield on Tuesday in a quarterfinal first leg.

Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino scored the goals, with the second leg on tap for April 17 at the Estadio Do Dragao.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Porto will feel aggrieved to see a defender error put them behind after five minutes, as Naby Keita’s rip deflected wildly to fool Iker Casillas.

Casillas soon had to make a comfortable save on Mohamed Salah, as the Reds were clearly on top.

The Reds made it 2-0 through Firmino, who just had to tap home in-tight from a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Jordan Henderson found Sadio Mane for a goal early in the second half, but the Senegalese man was ruled offside after VAR review.

Alisson Becker had himself a day in between the sticks for Liverpool, and thwarted a pretty dangerous Moussa Marega on multiple occasions.

UCL AT HALF: Early drama for Spurs-Man City, Liverpool-Porto

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High-drama starts at both Anfield and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium have the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals off to a flyer.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]


Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Manchester City

It’s nil-nil, but just, as Hugo Lloris saved a Sergio Aguero penalty awarded by Video Assistant Referee.

Many will feel the save fit the occasion, since the sliding Rose’s handball while drawing his arm back to his body was iffy at best, but Bjorn Kuipers was called to review the instance by VAR and decided it was indeed penalty-worthy.

Speaking of VAR, Fernandinho is fortunate that the cameras didn’t want to review a particularly dirty 50-50 challenge and post-challenge of his on Kane.

Liverpool 2-0 Porto

At Anfield, the drama was a little bit more by the book. The stadium was ready to explode from Moment No. 1, and Naby Keita‘s wickedly deflected strike fulfilled the prescription.

After Porto were denied a penalty through VAR, Liverpool struck again.

Roberto Firmino‘s marker didn’t need to take any turns to get into the goal, as the Brazilian was in great position to tap a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross into the goal.

Stars and duds from Liverpool-Tottenham Hotspur

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There are many talking points from Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Sunday.

[ MORE: Match recap | 3 things ]

This was a match rife with mistakes and squandered chances, and there was not a man who was perfect.

Andy Robertson was very, very good, but a part of the Spurs equalizer. Danny Rose was a Spurs star, but flubbed a late bid to send in a beautiful cross.

Stars

Andy Robertson — The Liverpool left back not only served up an assist while habitually cooking Kieran Trippier, he blocked a seemingly surefire Christian Eriksen equalizer.

Roberto Firmino — This was about so much more than the opening goal — though what a header! — as the Brazilian striker served as a calm playmaker and a bully on the ball.

Georginio Wijnaldum The least celebrated of a safe midfield, Wijnaldum was the best of the bunch and went 90 minutes in the win

Danny Rose — Has been in fine form for club and country, and was a big part of several promising moves coming from Spurs’ left side. Almost was removed from this list for a horrid 87th minute blunder on a scoring chance, but was just too important over the first 87.

Christian Eriksen — Inventive and undeterred, his spinning assist was a just reward for his day’s work.

Lucas Moura — Struggled for much of the first half, but scored the equalizer and took a very smart tactical yellow with Salah on the break in the 79th minute.

Duds

Hugo Lloris — The match-deciding goal is entirely on him, even if it ends up going over the line via an otherwise steady Toby Alderweireld.

Kieran Trippier — As noted in the Robertson blurb, Trippier was very poor on the flank. His quick pass on the equalizer helped, but

Alisson Becker — A fine parry in the second half, but mostly looked out-of-sorts in a big spot.

Moussa Sissoko — Here for one reason: Sprung for a 2v1 with Heung-Min Son, he dribbled toward the defender until a pass was impossible before blazing an effort nowhere near the goal. Son could’ve helped by running away from goal, but my goodness.

Harry KaneThis was going to be “Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah,” but it felt like kicking a dead horse to put Salah here for struggling when he, along with Lloris, produced Alderweireld’s own goal. Kane was largely absent for a star striker, and working hard doesn’t get you the plaudits when you’re a Golden Boot chaser. So maybe Mohamed Salah should be here, too, having scored just once in nine matches.

Lloris error pushes Liverpool past Spurs (video)

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  • Firmino puts Reds ahead
  • Robertson stars at left back
  • Moura provides equalizer off quick restart
  • Salah forces late Spurs own goal

Pickford/Origi. Now Lloris/Salah. You need a little good fortune to win a title fight.

Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris‘ late mistake and myriad missed chances doomed Tottenham Hotspur and kept Liverpool’s title hopes in order as the Reds won 2-1 at Anfield on Sunday.

Lloris couldn’t hold onto a Mohamed Salah shot and Toby Alderweireld unwittingly put it in the goal.

Lucas Moura‘s second half goal answered Roberto Firmino‘s tally, but Spurs had several big missed chances before Salah prodded the o.g.

Liverpool keeps its two-point advantage on Manchester City, the latter having played one less game, while Spurs remain on 61 points. Tottenham is level with fourth place Manchester United.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

High speed was the name of the game, and a Harry Kane flick and Christian Eriksen pass forced Virgil Van Dijk to concede a corner with a fine sliding intervention.

Lucas Moura took an extra touch in the 11th minute as Spurs wasted a chance to test Alisson Becker, who had a shaky first minute.

Liverpool’s first chance came in the 16th, and the Reds punished Spurs through Firmino’s header of a terrific Andy Robertson cross.

Trent Alexander-Arnold swung an effort at goal two minutes later, but it went wide of the frame.

Dele Alli tore into a 33rd chance that just missed the frame, a rare moment of Spurs promise.

Mane curled a shot wide in the 37th as Liverpool reasserted control.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

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Spurs again controlled the early stages of a half when play resumed, but Liverpool stayed structured and stout at the back. Spurs were also a bit sloppy in the final third.

Alisson parried Kane into the path of Eriksen, whose shot was blocked by Robertson for a corner. Liverpool dealt with that, but quickly gave the ball back to Spurs.

Moura shook the game at the end of a quick restart, as Trippier and Eriksen both moved the ball square for the forward to blast back Alisson.

Alexander-Arnold just missed putting the Reds back in front in the 76th minute with a splendid swirling left-footed effort that Hugo Lloris tipped over the bar.

Moussa Sissoko then led a 2v1 break and dribbled toward Heung-Min Son and his marker before blasting over the goal. Dele Alli would curl a chip just wide of the upper 90 minutes later.

Then, this:

WATCH: Mane, Firmino work beautiful 1-2 to give Liverpool lead

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Pinpoint and nearly perfect.

Those words describe the interplay between Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino as they combined for Liverpool’s opening goal at Fulham on Sunday.

[ MORE: Klopp dismisses Bayern talk ]

Mane collected the ball on the left wing and cut towards the center of the pitch before sliding the ball to Firmino near the touch line.

The Brazilian took a stride or two to the middle and met Mane’s incisive and industrious run with a perfect pass, the Senegalese striker slotting his 17th goal of the Premier League season.

Mane joins three players chasing Sergio Aguero’s league-leading goal total of 18: Mohamed Salah, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Harry Kane.

Mane has nine goals in his last nine PL matches, and 11 in 11 overall.