Sadio Mané stuck away a hat-trick as Liverpool demolished Porto 5-0 at the Estádio do Dragão on Wednesday night.
The game was Liverpool’s first Champions League knockout clash for nine years and they marked the occasion with an outstanding, potent display.
The visitors opened the scoring on 25 minutes, with goalkeeper Jose Sa letting Mané’s shot slip through his rain-soaked fingers.
It took just four minutes for Liverpool to double their advantage when Mohamed Salah netted what was his 30th goal of the season – the first Reds player to reach that total since Luis Suarez in 2013/14.
The Egyptian displayed outstanding reflexes and close control to nip the ball over the Porto ‘keeper and eventually tap home after James Milner’s initial strike had come back off the post.
Liverpool’s third would come after the break, with Mané scoring from close-range after Sa parried a Roberto Firmino shot.
Porto continued to attack, leaving themselves open time and time again, and on 69 minutes, Firmino finally got on the scoresheet when he got on the end of a Milner cut-back.
Late on, Mané would net his third and Liverpool’s fifth goal of the game, blasting home from the edge of the box…
That strike saw Mané become only the fourth Liverpool player to hit a hat-trick in a Champions League game.
4 – Sadio Mane is the fourth Liverpool player to score a hat-trick in the Champions League, after Michael Owen, Yossi Benayoun and Philippe Coutinho. Collection. pic.twitter.com/w3kteQwtDq
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 14, 2018
The game would end in 5-0 to the Premier League side, who have now scored 28 Champions League goals this season, more than any other side in the competition.
When Jurgen Klopp’s men are on song, they really are something special.
With the return leg at Anfield a formality, Liverpool can look forward to a quarter-final berth with nothing to fear.