Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah scored for the second game running as Liverpool cruised to a 4-1 victory over Porto, sealing a 6-1 aggregate win that sets up a tantalising Champions League semi-final clash with Barcelona.
Leading by two from the quarter-final first leg, the Reds' romp began when Mane struck after 26 minutes of Wednesday's return match at Estadio do Dragao, VAR ruling the Senegal international onside after Salah played him in.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will have been delighted with the way his back four performed as the hosts tried in vain to turn the tie on its head, Sergio Conceicao's men creating early chances but thereafter finding their attacking waves crashing harmlessly against Liverpool's defensive rocks, with Virgil van Dijk imperious.
Eder Militao eventually found a way through, but only after Salah had effectively ended the contest by slotting home Liverpool's second following Trent Alexander-Arnold's superb cross-field pass with 25 minutes remaining.
Substitute Roberto Firmino and Van Dijk added gloss to the win with goals in the last 13 minutes.
Porto will be sick of the sight of Liverpool, who knocked them out in the round of 16 last season, and in current form the Reds look capable of winning wherever they play – even Camp Nou.
GET IN!!!!— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 17, 2019
WE QUALIFY FOR THE #UCL SEMI-FINAL!!
The hosts missed several good chances before a simple passing move saw Salah play a chipped ball into the six-yard box, where Mane slid in to score a goal that was initially ruled out for offside before a VAR consultation overturned the decision.
After the break, Liverpool put the tie all but out of Porto's reach when Alexander-Arnold split their defence with a low, diagonal pass to Salah, who guided the ball into the bottom-left corner of the net with ease.
Mane rounded Iker Casillas moments later but blazed wide of the target with the goal gaping, and Militao then rose unchallenged to head Alex Telles' out-swinging corner past Alisson.
But Jordan Henderson and Firmino had come off the bench and the pair combined for Liverpool's third, the England midfielder crossing from the right to find his team-mate unmarked in the box before Casillas was beaten with a downward header from close range.
With six minutes left, Van Dijk popped up with a simple header at the far post after Mane flicked on James Milner's corner.
What does it mean? Barca up next for Liverpool
Liverpool are top of the Premier League and fighting to reach their second consecutive Champions League final as a fine campaign continues. Even the mighty Barcelona, who cruised past Manchester United, have good reason to fear them in the last four, with an enthralling tie in store.
Van Dijk sets the tone
Van Dijk's unflustered demeanour seems to radiate a sense of calm throughout the Liverpool team and he was steadfast as he staved off Porto's early threat. His nine clearances were three times more than anyone else on the pitch recorded, and the late goal was the Dutchman's just deserts for a stellar performance.
Pepe goes missing
So often a thorn in the side of strikers in the Champions League over the years, Porto's Pepe was invisible at times as Liverpool ran riot.
Key Opta Facts:
- Liverpool are the first English side to qualify for back-to-back Champions League semi-finals since both Chelsea and Manchester United did so in three campaigns between 2006-07 and 2008-09.
- Alongside fellow Portuguese side Benfica, Porto have been eliminated from six European Cup/Champions League knockout ties against English opposition, more than any other team (excluding finals).
- Liverpool are now unbeaten in their four European trips to Porto (W2 D2); the Reds have only visited Barcelona as many times in all European competition without suffering defeat.
- Each of the 18 Champions League goals Liverpool have scored and the 15 that Porto have conceded in the competition this season have come from inside the area.
- Only Steven Gerrard (21) has scored more European Cup/Champions League goals for Liverpool than Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, who have all moved level with Ian Rush on 14 goals each.
Liverpool resume their Premier League title challenge with an away game at Cardiff City on Sunday, while Porto can go top of the Primeira Division if they beat Santa Clara at home.
20 de mayo 2019
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|Abelardo opts to leave post as Alaves coach|
|Magic Johnson points finger at Pelinka after Lakers power struggle|
|Junaid deletes inflammatory tweet following World Cup squad omission|
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|PSG insist Mbappe will stay despite forward´s ´new project´ comments|
|Former Salford forward Turgut hospitalised with ´severe injuries´|
|Potter takes over as Brighton and Hove Albion boss|
|Ancelotti happy at Napoli amid Juventus links|
|Hemel Stags on course for Ottawa relocation, New York club a work in progress|
|Nadal overtakes Federer´s top-10 streak|
|Omitting Wahab and Amir would have been foolish - Inzamam|
|Scotland appoint Kilmarnock boss Clarke|
|I´ll keep my place if Pogba arrives at Madrid – Kroos|
|Kroos: Madrid struggles ´normal´ after Champions League dominance|
|Pogba, Hazard and Mbappe in, Bale and Isco out? - Real Madrid set for busy close-season|
|Double amputee Monger stunned by Grand Prix de Pau triumph|
|Walter to take over Stuttgart from next season|
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|Bolivian FA confirms death of referee Victor Hugo Hurtado|
|Australia opener Burns leaves Lancashire for personal reasons|
|Record-breaking female driver Chadwick lands Williams development chance|
|Semedo cleared of concussion to boost Barcelona|
|Iguodala questionable for Game 4|
|Neymar should not captain Brazil at Copa America - Edmilson|
|Wahab, Amir and Asif named in final Pakistan World Cup squad|
|Bale staying at Madrid impossible as Zidane is ´not keen´ - Calderon|
|Kroos agrees Real Madrid extension to 2023|
|Gundogan to renew contract talks with Manchester City|
|Folau opts not to appeal against Rugby Australia ban, still considering options|
|Nadal clear French Open favourite – Djokovic|
|Nedved: No Juve decision amid Sarri and Inzaghi links|
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|Johnson upbeat despite falling short|
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|NRL great Cronk to retire at season´s end|
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|City want to dominate English football forever, says Laporte|
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|Bordeaux collapse to costly defeat, Stade hopes dashed by Montpellier|
|Valverde pessimistic about Coutinho, Dembele playing in Copa final|
19 de mayo 2019
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|Mbappe drops PSG exit hint|
|Guardiola: I´ll be judged on Champions League record at Man City|
|Gattuso thankful to Milan penalty hero Donnarumma|
|Johnson cuts Koepka lead to four with nine to play at Bethpage|
|Arthur ´very confident´ in Pakistan CWC hopes despite losing streak|
|Juventus 1 Atalanta 1: Mandzukic spares Allegri from defeat in home finale|
|Napoli 4 Inter 1: Spalletti´s side crushed as Champions League race goes to the wire|
|Woakes: World Cup wait makes for nervy Monday|
|Koepka retains control of PGA after early wobble|