Champions League: Liverpool make a big statement ahead of Barcelona test
Reds reach the semi-finals after beating FC Porto 6-1 on aggregate
Uefa Champions League quarter-final second leg FC Porto 1 Liverpool 4 (1-6 on aggregate)
Liverpool will play Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals after a 6-1 aggregate win against FC Porto in the last eight.
Jurgen Klopp’s side travelled to Portugal with a two-goal lead for the quarter-final second leg and took full control of the tie when Sadio Mane made it 1-0 on the night after 26 minutes.
There was a question of offside but Mane’s goal was given after the referee consulted with VAR.
Mohamed Salah added a second just after the hour mark but on 68 minutes Porto were given hope when Eder Militao found the net. However, headers from Roberto Firmino and Virgil van Dijk sealed the 4-1 victory for the Premier League leaders.
In the other quarter-final tie Tottenham Hotspur lost 4-3 in the second leg against Manchester City but they sealed their place in the semi-finals on the away goals rule after the aggregate score ended 4-4. Spurs will now face Ajax.
Messi and Co up next
In the semi-final first leg Liverpool will travel to Barcelona’s Camp Nou on 1 May. The return fixture will take place at Anfield on 7 May.
Reds boss Klopp has never faced Barcelona before and he is excited with the challenge of taking on Lionel Messi and Co.
After the game the German said: “We played better this season. It was always going to be a whirlwind here and that was what it was. Second half the energy level dropped for Porto and we could control the game and score the goals.
“We are more experienced, that is clear. We had difficult away games and we knew it would be the same as at [Man] City and Roma last year. It is all good. A difficult game but we go to the semi-finals.
“It is the first time for me to play Barcelona, apart from in friendlies. I am looking forward to that.”
He added: “For us to be in the semi-finals is unbelievable. The second time in a row is something really crazy. I’m really proud of the boys and what they did. To be in the semi-final is a big statement.
“The news that there’s a proper football game between Liverpool and Barcelona is really good news and I’m happy for all the people in the football club.
“We will find things that we think we can use against them, but I’m not worrying about that tonight.”
‘We dug in well’
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson admitted that the scoreline on the night flattered the team but he was pleased to qualify for the last four.
The midfielder said: “They [Porto] are a good team, they made it intense and the lads dug in and defended really well. They had some half chances.
“When I came on I tried to keep the ball and be sensible. Joe [Gomez] made a great run [for Roberto Firmino’s goal], I just tried to hit an area and it’s a great finish from Bobby.
“The scoreline flattered us a little bit. Porto had a real good go. Even when we went in front it was a real good atmosphere.”
After VAR ruled his goal to stand striker Mane said: “I was thinking it was offside, to be honest. I told the boys to keep going and they said, ‘No, wait’. I was surprised. It was an important goal but the more important thing was to qualify for the semis and we did it - it’s great.
“The beginning was tough. I think the team spirit was great; we never gave up, we tried to push hard as a team. We created many chances and scored many goals, so I think we deserved the win.”
Champions League semi-final draw and fixtures
- Barcelona vs. Liverpool
- Tottenham Hotspur vs. Ajax
When are the semi-finals?
The Champions League semi-final first legs will be played on Tuesday 30 April and Wednesday 1 May. The second legs are on Tuesday 7 May and Wednesday 8 May.
Tottenham play Ajax at home in the first leg on 30 April. Spurs then travel to Amsterdam on 8 May.
Barcelona will host Liverpool at the Camp Nou on 1 May with the return fixture taking place at Anfield on 7 May.
All matches will kick off at 8pm UK time and are live on BT Sport.
Semi-final first-leg fixtures
- Tuesday 30 April: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Ajax
- Wednesday 1 May: Barcelona vs. Liverpool
Semi-final second-leg fixtures
- Tuesday 7 May: Liverpool vs. Barcelona
- Wednesday 8 May: Ajax vs. Tottenham Hotspur