PORTO: Liverpool paid a fitting tribute to Roger Hunt as Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino scored twice in a 5-1 demolition of Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Jurgen Klopp’s side wore black armbands after former Liverpool striker Hunt died earlier in the day aged 83.
Hunt was part of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning side and is Liverpool’s record league goal-scorer with 244 goals.
“Roger Hunt comes second to no-one in his importance in the history of Liverpool FC, that much is clear,” Klopp said.
Liverpool honoured Hunt’s memory with a dominant display and some predatory finishing at Estadio do Dragao, aided by three mistakes from hapless Porto keeper Diogo Costa.
Three days after scoring his 100th Premier League goal for Liverpool in the 3-3 draw at Brentford, Egypt forward Salah maintained his blistering start to the season with the first half opener.
Senegal winger Sadio Mane followed with his fourth goal this season and Salah netted again after the interval.
Porto, who drew with Atletico Madrid in their group opener, got one back through Mehdi Taremi.
Firmino punished Costa’s third howler to claim Liverpool’s fourth and the Brazilian netted again in the closing stages.
After beating AC Milan in their first game, Liverpool sit top of Group B with the maximum six points.
Such was Liverpool’s superiority that Klopp could even afford to take off Salah and Mane with over 20 minutes left.
It was the perfect preparation for the Premier League leaders’ crucial clash with champions Manchester City on Sunday.
With Trent Alexander-Arnold sidelined by a groin injury, midfielder James Milner had to deputise at right-back, but, unlike in their draw at Brentford, Liverpool were rarely troubled defensively.
– Ruthless Reds –
Porto lost veteran defender Pepe to an injury suffered in the warm-up and they suffered another blow when Otavio limped off in tears with an apparent hamstring problem after 14 minutes.
Sergio Conceicao’s side were unable to overcome those problems and Liverpool went ahead in the 18th minute.
Curtis Jones, who was at the heart of all Liverpool’s best moments, made a buccaneering run into the Porto area and Costa weakly pushed out his stinging shot.
It bounced off Zaidu Sanusi to Salah, who prodded home from virtually on the goal-line.
That made Salah the third African player to reach 30 Champions League goals after Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o.
Jordan Henderson, making his 400th Liverpool appearance, tested Costa with a powerful drive that the Porto keeper tipped over.
But Costa was culpable again when Liverpool increased their advantage in the 45th minute.
Milner whipped a low cross into the six-yard box and Costa inexplicably put his arms behind his back to leave Mane with a tap-in at the far post.
Liverpool were in complete control and Salah put the result beyond doubt on the hour, taking Jones’ pass in stride and slotting past Costa from 12 yards.
Salah’s eighth goal of the campaign meant the Egyptian had netted in all but one of Liverpool’s eight games this season.
Taremi’s diving header in the 75th minute punished a brief lapse from Liverpool.
Stung back into action, Liverpool bagged their fourth two minutes later when Costa rambled out of his penalty area in a failed attempt to reach Jones’ pass, allowing Firmino to steer a 40-yard strike into the empty net.
Firmino capped his cameo with his second goal in the 81st minute, this one a smart finish after Jones’ shot rebounded to the substitute. –AFP