Liverpool Run Riot In Champions League Last-16 First Leg With Sadio Mane Hat-Trick And More Magic From Mohamed Salah

Georginio Wijnaldum joins his team-mate Mane in celebrating the opening goal of the first-leg of the last 16 tie

Mohamed Salah juggled the ball in the six-yard box, took it around a clueless Jose Sa, and became the fastest Liverpool player to 30 goals since George Allan. And anyone who knows who Allan is, will appreciate the incredible substance of that record.

Sadio Mane was the hero of the night, his first hat-trick in a Liverpool shirt taking this tie away from Porto and making the return leg a formality. Liverpool lost a three-goal lead against Sevilla, but three is not five, and Porto are not Sevilla.

 In the 25th minute, Mane shot when teed up by Gini Wijnaldum lacked conviction but, crucially, it squirmed under the body of Porto keeper Jose Sa and apologetically rolled over the line. Lift off Liverpool, lift-off for Mane.

Suddenly the legs were moving that bit quicker, his pressing was a little more intense but, more than anything, you could see the confidence flooding through him. He belongs on this kind of stage and now he was ready to let rip.

He would go on to get a second after the break, emphatically converting after Roberto Firmino had been thwarted. It effectively put Liverpool in the last eight but, on a personal level, his reaction was just as telling. Looking up to the Liverpool fans, he was smiling and pointing his fingers.

He needed this, desperately, but still it could get better. As Estadio do Dragao was emptying, Mane saved the best for last. At the end where he had been peppering the advertising hoardings, when it mattered he let an arrow fly from 25 yards to complete his treble.

This was a mismatch, the complete destruction of a team that looks very good against other Portuguese teams in a domestic league, but were utterly outclassed on home soil here. They could not match Liverpool’s speed, wit or finishing.


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