Thiago recalls his talents as the makeshift Liverpool team prove a point against Porto.

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Thiago recalls his talents as the makeshift Liverpool team prove a point against Porto.

Given that the goals came from Thiago Alcantara, who won the competition twice, and a Mohamed Salah who danced in the box laying Matheus Uribe flat on his back before the win, the label ‘reserve’ should not be overstated . However, this was a team that had something to prove, and by and large, they proved it.

ANFIELD – “There are two clubs in this town,” Bill Shankly once famously declared. “Liverpool and Liverpool Reserves”. After Liverpool won the club a spot in the knockout phase of the Champions League, a kind of Liverpool reserve team scored their fifth consecutive win against the Portuguese leaders.

Nowhere was this more true than in midfield, where Thiago did not live up to the reputation that accompanied him from Bayern Munich due to injury and competition for places.

In the 37th minute, Alcantara demonstrated with a grandiose pass that Sadio Mane, who couldn’t prove anything to anyone, brought home with absolute certainty why he is so revered in Bavaria. The certainty vanished when the video referee noticed a slight offside.

Shortly after the restart came a shot that did not tolerate an argument. Porto had cleared a free kick just beyond their own penalty area when Thiago shot it poisonously into the corner of the net under the head.

Before the game, it was suggested that at the age of 30 he could return to Barcelona, ​​which is where it all started for him. According to this evidence, Thiago is far too good for the mob currently occupying the Nou camp.

In a way, the third member of that midfield, Tyler Morton, a 19-year-old from Wallasey, had nothing to prove. Jürgen Klopp had noticed that Morton was not too confident on his debut in the League Cup in Norwich as a “well-educated and well-brought-up young man”.

In those two months he found that confidence. During a first half, when Porto played fast and exciting football, there was a headline moment when Mehdi Taremi pulled Alisson Becker and placed it in an inviting penalty area. Morton, who wears the number 80 – an age he will reach in October 2082 – produced a sliding interception.

The difference between the League Cup on Carrow Road and a Champions League game on Anfield Road is the lack of time and space. Morton didn’t seem afraid of it. His passing game under pressure was quick and accurate.

Before Thiago met, it had to be. Porto were the better side in the first half when Liverpool’s best opportunity came when Diogo Costa hit Mane in the forehead as his keeper Diogo Costa parried and rebounded straight at Salah, who seemed too surprised to take advantage. Later on, Africa’s greatest footballer showed exactly what he can do when awaiting a pass.

In a way, Porto manager Sergio Conceicao would have expected Salah to score. He has played against Liverpool three times at the Estadio do Dragao and lost with an aggregate result of 14-1. At every opportunity his defense was torn apart by Klopp’s old guard of Salah, Mane, and Firmino.

Given the fact that the Porto offices have just been raided by the Portuguese Fraud Department, the visiting Directors may have been paying attention elsewhere. The players weren’t and should they show so much commitment at home to Atletico Madrid there is every chance they will join Liverpool during the business phase of the competition at Diego Simeone’s side.

Conceicao’s only complaint would have been that his strikers didn’t make the most of their openings prior to Thiago’s intervention. Liverpool were caught early by Luis Diaz’s gauntlet acceleration and Porto’s Brazilian midfielder Otavio was denied by a fabulous tackle from behind by Kostas Tsimikas. A fraction out and the boy from Saloniki would have paid with a penalty and a red card.

The only disappointment for the Anfield Theater was that 25 minutes after his 100th Champions League game, Pepe was eliminated due to an injury. It robbed the Kop of the chance to mock a man who was booed from the Mersey to the Volga but has 18 major medals to compensate for all the villains.

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