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Henderson praises Pool's attitude after professional display wraps up progress

Liverpool 0-0 Porto (Liverpool win 5-0 on aggregate)

By Carl Markham

Liverpool eased into the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in nine years with no great alarm in a goalless draw at home to Porto.

This game was the antithesis of their 5-0 win in the first leg at the Estadio do Dragao, but a professional performance, a fifth clean sheet in eight European matches and no apparent injuries represented mission accomplished.

While supporters may have had a justifiable complaint for being short-changed by the Champions League's top scorers, from Jurgen Klopp's point of view there was no point in taking any risks - especially with Saturday lunchtime's match at Manchester United looming large.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said: "We are through to the next round which is the most important thing. Obviously we wanted to win, but we have to give credit to Porto because they played well.

"This is the business end of the season. The next few months are very important. We need to put performances in like we have been and the results will follow.

"We couldn't manage to break them down but there's a big game this weekend which we need to be ready for.

"We want to work hard and achieve big things. The attitude was brilliant. Unfortunately we couldn't break (Porto) down but I can't fault the lads -the attitude was brilliant."

Manager Klopp made five changes - two more than he had suggested pre-match - with the most significant being a rest for 32-goal forward Mohamed Salah and a first start in two months for Adam Lallana.

Whether alterations, the five-goal cushion or the imminent visit to Old Trafford affected the occasion is open to debate, but the game was played at a much lower intensity than the norm.

It was reflected in the first-half statistics which showed Liverpool failed to have a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes for only the second time this season and the first time since the 1-1 draw at home to Chelsea in November.

Sadio Mane, having volleyed over from Joe Gomez's cross, came closest on the half-hour when he chested down James Milner's diagonal ball and shot past Iker Casillas, but saw the ball rebound off the post.

Dejan Lovren flicked a header onto the roof of the net from a free-kick by Milner.

The former England midfielder took matters into his own hands early in the second half but sliced horribly wide.

Porto's response was to force the first save of the night from either goalkeeper with Loris Karius tipping wide Majeed Waris' strike from distance, while Roberto Firmino's run through on goal was halted by Felipe.

Firmino, no doubt with Saturday's match against Jose Mourinho's side in mind, was spared the final 30 minutes as Danny Ings made his first Champions League appearance at Anfield and, with time ticking away, Salah was given a 20-minute run-out.

The in-form Egyptian had one angled shot easily saved as his run of scoring in successive matches ended at seven but, with a 24th European quarter-final in the bag (14 in this competition), his talents will be required for a more important occasion.

Casillas gave Anfield a reminder of his quality on potentially his final Champions League appearance by clawing away Ings' looping header late on.


LIVERPOOL: Karius, Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Moreno, Henderson, Can (Klavan 80), Milner, Lallana, Firmino (Ings 62), Mane (Salah 74).

Subs not used: Van Dijk, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold.

PORTO: Casillas, M Pereira, De Almeida Monteiro, Reyes, Teixeira, Oliver, Bras Andre (Relvas de Oliveira 62), Costa, Corona, Waris (B Pereira 68), Aboubakar (Paciencia 80). Subs not used: Brahimi, De Sa, Da Silva Monteiro, Machado Mata.

Man of the match: James Milner

Match rating: 6/10

Referee: Felix Zwayer (Germany)

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