Liverpool thumped FC Basel in the opening tie of their Champions League last-16 clash. The trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino all scored to earn Liverpool a staggering 5 away goals advantage from the Estádio do Dragão. Jurgen Klopp’s men were flawless up front and Porto did little to trouble them as ran riot in Portugal romping to a 5-0 victory. Mane struck a hat-trick while Salah and Firmino scored a goal each to kick-start their last-16 campaign. Liverpool with the five goals against Basel took their goalscoring tally to an astounding 25 in just past 5 UEFA Champions League games. Apart from Mane, Salah and Firmino, it was James Milner too who was outstanding in the game providing two crucial assists and becoming the highest assist provider in the competition with 7 assists this season.
The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Kevin De Bruyne are all far from Milner in terms of most assists in the ongoing Champions League. He was involved heavily in Liverpool’s dominating attacking display against the Portuguese leader and was involved in two goals scored by Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino in the 29th and the 69th minute respectively. It was Sadio Mane who opened the scoring for Liverpool in a 25th minute after 10 minutes of continuous pressing, Porto goalkeeper couldn’t save the ball from squeezing through his clutches as it crossed the line to give Liverpool a deserving lead. What followed was pure dominance.
Liverpool’s Egyptian superstar Mohamed Salah capitalised on a rebound from a James Miler shot which struck the bar and put it past the Porto keeper to double the lead for his side and increase Milner’s tally of Champions League assists this season. Salah took the ball under control and perfectly netted it in. Klopp’s men didn’t stop there and continued to press higher with Mane finding the back of the second time in the 53rd minute.
Milner was involved in the fourth goal scored by Brazilian ace Roberto Firmino. In what was an amazing build up play by Liverpool, Mane made a run forward and picked Milner in the Porto half. From there the English midfielder took a stride forward and created a lay off for Firmino to put it past the keeper. The Brazilian was spot on as he finished a brilliant team effort to get Liverpool 4-0 ahead in the game. Sadio Mane slotted last one home to complete the 5-0 thumping of the Portuguese side.
With two assists to his name, Milner stands tall and proud on top of the list of highest assist providers in the competition. Compared to Milner’s 7, Lionel Messi (1), Cristiano Ronaldo (1), Eden Hazard (2) and Neymar, Kevin De Bryune (4) are nowhere close to him, thanks to Liverpool’s fabulous front three. Milner after having a superb game insisted Liverpool could have scored more goals against Porto and also praised teammate Sadio Mane for his deserving hat-trick.
“Mane does his job and does a great job for the team,” Milner told BT Sport. “People see his flair and the goals that he scores but he does a great job working for the team.
“Porto are a very good side. It’s a tough place to come, you could see the crowd and the way they were even at the end.
“We wanted to keep a clean sheet and with the players we have we always have the chance to score an away goal. I thought we could have scored more,” he added.