Thiago Alcantara’s sublime long range strike and Mohamed Salah’s latest individual goal maintained Liverpool’s perfect record in its Champions League group with a 2-0 win over Porto this morning.
Liverpool was assured of advancing to the last 16 even before its fifth straight victory in Group B, while Porto stayed in second place ahead of a match against Atletico Madrid in two weeks that will help to determine which team qualifies with the English club.
Thiago’s 52nd minute opener was a thing of beauty, the Spain midfielder meeting a headed clearance with a first time shot off his laces from 30 metres out that stayed low and flew into the corner.
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“Just absolute heaven,” Stan Sport’s Max Rushden said.
“It almost looks like it doesn’t bounce. It flies, it takes off like an aeroplane.
“I could watch that for the next 24 hours and be delighted. It’s like an optical illusion.”
Former Socceroos captain Craig Foster was similarly dazzled.
“This is beautiful. It just skims off the ground, so lovely, through the legs of the player.
“It’s quite magnificent. That’s the perfection of technique. It’s effortless – and the power on that is extraordinary. Great players work with the ball whereas we’re fighting with it half the time.”
Champions League highlights: Liverpool vs Porto
Salah then scored a 10th goal in his last 10 Champions League games – and his 17th in all competitions this season – by dropping his shoulder as he drifted into the area from the right and shooting low inside the near post in the 70th minute.
Liverpool will look to complete a sweep of victories in the group stage, a feat never achieved by an English team, in its closing game against AC Milan.
On the same night, Porto hosts Atletico, which like Milan has four points.
A win would guarantee Porto’s progression to the knockout stage.
Jesus fires City in front
Meanwhile, Gabriel Jesus completed Manchester City’s comeback to beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 and secure a place in the round of 16.
PSG is also sure of going through as runner-up in Group A thanks to Leipzig beating Club Brugge 5-0.
The clash of the competition’s wealthiest teams, who are yet to win European football’s top prize, fully came to life in the 50th minute when Kylian Mbappe put PSG ahead after an interchange between Lionel Messi and Neymar.
Mbappe on target for PSG
But the attacking dominance by City that defined the first half saw Raheem Sterling’s outstretched left foot nudge in a cross from Kyle Walker to equalise in the 63rd.
After Neymar missed a chance to restore PSG’s lead, Bernado Silva teeed up Gabriel Jesus who connected with scuffed shot that still beat Keylor Navas in the 76th.