Mané hits hat-trick as Liverpool ease past Porto

Sadio Mané scored three times as a rampant Liverpool all but booked their quarter-final place by dealing Porto their heaviest home defeat in Europe.

Liverpool produced an outstanding display of counterattacking football and clinical finishing to cruise past Porto in their round of 16 first leg at the Estádio do Dragão.

Porto were on the back foot from the moment Giorginio Wijnaldum slipped in Sadio Mané and the Senegalese forward's effort crept under José Sá. Four minutes later it was 2-0 as Mohamed Salah reacted quickest when James Milner's drive smacked against the post, controlling expertly and flicking the ball past the goalkeeper before tapping in.

Porto were open to the devastating Liverpool counterattack as they chased the game and the Reds were ruthless. Mané completed his hat-trick with two emphatic finishes either side of Roberto Firmino's coolly-placed effort to all but seal their passage through to the last eight.

Key player: Sadio Mané (Liverpool)

Roberto Firmino scored his seventh goal in this season's #UCL
Roberto Firmino scored his seventh goal in this season's #UCL©Getty Images

Industrious, energetic, stylish and clinical, Liverpool put on a show to light up any UEFA Champions League occasion and in Mané they had a player who embodied each of those admirable attributes. If the 25-year-old's first goal of the night contained a small slice of fortune, his third was a thing of beauty, a right-footed drive from range that followed an exquisite one-two with Danny Ings.

Reporter talking points

Paul Bryan, Porto: Backed by a vociferous home crowd, Porto began this contest strongly, featuring the surprise inclusion of Otávio in their starting line-up within a solid 4-5-1 formation. Yet from the moment a slip-up by goalkeeper José Sá helped Mané give the visitors a first-half lead the Dragões fell apart, succumbing to Liverpool's attacking force as the rain spilled down and suffering their heaviest European defeat on home soil.

Hat-trick hero Mané still cautious
Hat-trick hero Mané still cautious

Matthew Howarth, Liverpool: Crucially, Liverpool appear to have learned a valuable lesson from November's 3-3 draw with Sevilla. A Porto goal at the start of the second half could have set up a nervous finish at the Estádio do Dragão, but strikes from Mané (2) and Firmino completed a thumping victory. The Reds' defence, marshalled superbly by Virgil van Dijk, rarely looked in danger of conceding. A superb win for Jürgen Klopp's side, who can now start planning for the last eight.

Key stats

  • This is Porto's heaviest home European defeat, having never lost by more than two goals previously
  • Liverpool are now the top scorers in this season's competition with 28 goals
  • Firmino has seven goals this season and is joint second in the scoring charts with Harry Kane; Mané and Salah have six
  • Mané is the fourth Liverpool player to score a #UCL hat-trick after Michael Owen (2002), Yossi Benayoun (2007) and Philippe Coutinho (2017)
  • Porto were unbeaten in their first 11 home games against English clubs; this is their fourth defeat in the last seven
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