Porto 1 - 4 Liverpool - Liverpool win 1-6 on aggregate - The Reds move on to a Semi-Final showdown against Barca!
Liverpool were big favourites to progress coming into this game given the 2 goal advantage from the first leg but still had to go to Portugal and do the job to set up a date with the mighty Barcelona in the Semi-Finals. Most of the attention on the night may have been focused elsewhere with Manchester City and Tottenham playing one of the most thrilling games of football ever but Liverpool went about their business with a strong performance in which all three of their main forwards got their names on the scoresheet.
Some changes were expected but it was no surprise to see Jurgen Klopp stick with the same back 5 that helped defeat Chelsea at the weekend. The Liverpool manager did switch things up though with Gini Wijnaldum and James Milner coming into midfield playing either side of Fabinho with the in-form Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita both dropped to the bench. There was a bit of a surprise in the front three too with Divock Origi coming into the starting lineup in place of Roberto Firmino, Origi would line up on the left wing with Sadio Mane playing central and Mo Salah over on the right.
It may have been a longshot but Sergio Conceicao wasn't going to go down without a fight, the Porto manager named a strong offensive side with winger Yacine Brahimi coming into the side hoping to create some more clearcut chances for the dangerous Moussa Marega up front. Conceicao was also boosted by the return of Pepe and Héctor Herrera who were suspended for the first leg and put them straight back into the team hoping their experience would help them make a historic comeback.
Porto started the match very positively and within 30 seconds of the match getting underway they had their first chance. Winger Corona cut in from the right-hand side beating Andy Robertson before curling a shot at goal from just inside the 18-yard box which sailed just over the bar. Alisson appeared to have it covered but it was close to being on target and seemed to set the tone for the opening stage of the game. Liverpool could not seem to get anything going offensively and the first 25 minutes it was almost all one-way traffic with Porto having all of the chances. Like they had in the first leg, most of the chances fell to Marega and despite his great record in the competition so far this season he continued to fluff his lines and didn't manage to put any away.
On the 25th minute, Liverpool finally managed to get the ball forward with Robertson down the left side who cut it back to Salah on the edge of the area. He played it to Wijnaldum inside the box then received it back from his teammate. The ball seemed to land awkwardly between his feet causing him to only manage to get a rather weak shot off which was off-target, it worked out well though as the shot fell nicely for Mane who stretched out to direct the ball past Iker Casillas and into the net. The celebrations were cut short though when the linesman raised his flag signalling Mane was offside, as is custom now in this seasons Champions League the decision would be reviewed by VAR. After a couple of minutes of reviewing it was decided Mane was onside when Salah played the ball and so the goal was allowed to stand.
Despite now needing to score 4 goals if they wanted to progress thanks to Liverpool now having an away goal, Porto continued to press forward. Both Brahimi and Corona managed to get shots at goal but both were denied rather easily by Alisson. Defender Pepe picked up his inevitable yellow card after recklessly pushing over Origi and as the half went on Liverpool finally started to gain control and saw it through to halftime with the one-goal lead.
Both managers made changes during the break, Porto brought on Tiquinho Soares in place of Otávio while Jurgen Klopp added a Brazilian of his own bringing on Roberto Firmino in place of Divock Origi. Soares seemed to make a difference for Porto who once again started the half brightly and created a few chances in the opening minutes but failed to get anything on target. Around the hour mark, Liverpool burst forward on a counter with Alexander Arnold bringing the ball forward then playing a precision perfect through ball between the Porto centrebacks right to Mo Salah. It left Salah one on one with the keeper and the Egyptian maintained his scoring run by easily slotting it into the bottom corner doubling Liverpool's advantage.
Rather than silence the home crowd the 2nd Liverpool goal seemed to fire them up, despite watching their side almost certainly crash out of the competition the Porto fans raised the noise levels and cheered on their men. They were instantly rewarded as Porto pulled a goal back just minutes after getting the game back underway. Alex Telles played an out swinging corner which was met by Eder Militão who made a run from deep and headed it in past Alisson. It would only be a consolation but it was no less than the home fans deserved.
Jurgen Klopp made another change bringing on Jordan Henderson in place of Andy Robertson, it meant a switch of positions for Milner who moved to fill in at left-back while Henderson would go into the attacking midfield position he has been occupying recently with plenty of success. The Liverpool captain had an immediate impact and played a ball through to Mane sending him clear through to goal, Casillas came out and the Liverpool forward took the ball around him leaving just an empty net but somehow hit the shot off target and failed to grab his 2nd of the game. A couple of minutes later Henderson was back on the ball again down the right-hand side, this time he played a ball over the top and it was nodded in by Roberto Firmino to make it 1-3. Liverpool killed the game off on the 85th minute when they added their 4th of the night to make it 6-1 on aggregate. From a James Milner corner, Sadio Mane flicked it on for Virgil van Dijk to head it in at the far post.
The final two goals capped off the game and may have produced a scoreline which slightly flatters Liverpool given Porto gave them a tough game for long periods over both legs. It sees The Reds march on in Europe setting up a mouth-watering Semi-Final tie against the mighty Barcelona as they continue the quest to reach the final for the second year in a row and hopefully go one better and lift the trophy this time around. Those games will take place on May 1st and May 7th as the two sides fight it out to face either Tottenham or Ajax in the final but in the meantime, Liverpool has the small matter of challenging for the Premier League title to focus on when they visit Cardiff on Sunday, April 21st.