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Reds far too hot for Porto but Klopp warns fight not over yet

Liverpool 2 FC Porto 0

Get in: Naby Keita (right), with Roberto Firmino, after scoring Liverpool’s first goal last night
Get in: Naby Keita (right), with Roberto Firmino, after scoring Liverpool’s first goal last night

By Carl Markham

Midfielder Naby Keita looks like he is finally starting to deliver on his £53million price tag after scoring for the second successive match to put Liverpool in control of their Champions League quarter-final with Porto.

The Guinea international netted his first Anfield goal in the Reds' 2-0 win over the Portuguese visitors five days after his maiden strike in the Premier League at Southampton.

Keita put in arguably his best performance in a red shirt since joining in the summer and after a difficult settling-in period appears to be fulfilling the faith Jurgen Klopp placed in him in agreeing a deal with RB Leipzig 12 months before he actually arrived.

Roberto Firmino's 14th goal in the competition for the club, drawing level with Mohamed Salah and Ian Rush, doubled Liverpool's lead but the only disappointment on the night was that they did not finish the job as they had done last season when they won the first leg 5-0 in Porto.

It was not all routine, however, as there were a couple of rare handling errors by goalkeeper Alisson Becker, one which led to a VAR call after the ball hit Trent Alexander-Arnold's arm on its way out of play, and another video review when the ball hit the arm of Dejan Lovren, making his first start in three months.

On both occasions the answer was in the negative but it emboldened the visitors enough to give them hope there is still something left in this tie next week, especially as Moussa Marega could have had two goals which would have put an entirely different complexion on things.

This was Klopp's 400th win as a manager in all club competitions, 111 of which have been with Liverpool.

Klopp said: "We are happy, it is the first leg and it will be an intense second game. We scored two goals and controlled the ball most of the time.

"We gave a few too many set pieces away. I think Porto score about 40% of their goals from set pieces. We also saw one or two counter attacks, but the rest of the game we played really well.

"We lost a little bit of direction in the second half, but there's nothing to criticise, 2-0 is a very, very good result.

"We knew we had to play the second game and we cannot decide the tie tonight, so now we have to go there and fight again."

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said Porto were dangerous opponents.

"Porto are a good team with good players, you can see that they are dangerous," he said.

"We wanted to come out in the second half and score one or two more but that wasn't to be. We didn't create that much and it was a bit stop-start, but overall we have to be pleased to take 2-0 over there."

While Marega was wasteful in front of goal, flashing a shot wide in the third minute and then volleying straight at Alisson in the first half, Liverpool were more clinical.

None more so than the energised Keita, who benefited from Porto viewing the threat Sadio Mane posed in front of him as the greater danger and dropping Jesus Corona back to double-mark. That left the Guinean with more space and time than he gets in the Premier League - and he made the most of it with a fifth-minute goal.

Milner released Mane and his cross was controlled by Firmino to lay-off for Keita to beat Iker Casillas thanks to a deflection off Oliver Torres sending the ball ballooning high into the net.

Keita then teed up Salah for a left-foot volley which was saved by the former Real Madrid goalkeeper, who was subsequently beaten by the Egyptian's gentle shot from an errant backpass which rolled past the post.

Firmino, however, could not miss from a couple of yards out midway through the half when Henderson's perfectly-weighted through-ball picked out overlapping full-back Alexander-Arnold, who delivered the easiest of crosses.

Liverpool should have enough experience to get the job done next week.

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Milner, Henderson, Fabinho, Keita, Salah, Firmino (Sturridge 82), Mane (Origi 72).

Subs not used: Wijnaldum, Gomez, Mignolet, Shaqiri, Matip.

FC Porto: Casillas, Pereira (Andrade dos Santos 77), Felipe, Militao, Corona, Danilo, Torres (Almeida Costa 73), Telles, Otavio, Francisco Soares (Brahimi 62), Marega.

Subs not used: Monteiro Pinto Leite, Santos Fortes, Pereira, Vana.

Man of the match: Henderson

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz (Spain)

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