What a performance again by Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. A display, similar to Manchester City from a few weeks ago where any member of the starting 11 could have taken man of the match. However, I think any Liverpool fan would agree that the outright winner for man of the match is Sadio Mane.
The Senegalese winger was superb and back to his emphatic best. The 25-year-old would have had the absolute perfect performance if his final decision making didn’t let him down at times. Like when he could’ve rolled the ball across the box for a tap in at the back post for his team mate.
Anyway, let’s ignore the tiny negative from this game and focus on the massive positives. For his first goal the former Southampton man got very fortunate. The shot wasn’t the greatest and José Sá who had a nightmare in goal for Porto, let the ball squirm underneath him. This must’ve given Mane a tonne of confidence back, because his ability that we all know he has, came flooding back to him, after it had been slightly missing over the last month or so.
His second goal also wasn’t the most difficult goal to tuck away. But, he was there. He was in the right position after following in fantastically and getting in the positions to score goals. Just like he did with his first one.
His third goal was beautiful. With the boys in orange flooding forward and a leaky Porto defence, it opened up for Mane. Although there probably were better options, he was on course to get his first Liverpool hat-trick. So, he hit it, and boy did he hit it well! The ball was always curling away from Sá and he had no chance stopping this one due to its sheer power.
He wasn’t just amazing in front of goal either. His movement and passing helped him create space for Firmino, Salah, Milner and Robertson around him. He is always aware of where his teammates are, he drifts out of position just to allow others that extra time on the ball (not that some of them need it sometimes).
Defensively brilliant as well. He was just amazing anywhere on the pitch. At times, he was in the left back spot doing his defensive duties and winning throw-ins and goal kicks just to get his team out of trouble.
Special mentions go to Salah and Firmino again who are always outstanding, when they play well, the whole team plays well. Next on to the midfield, which I feel was expertly chosen by Jurgen. The balance was fantastic. I can’t remember Henderson misplacing a pass when he was on the pitch. Vice-captain Milner was always fantastic, he is such a reliable character for the side. Even Wijnaldum had a very good game away from home and set up Mane’s first goal.
Onto the defence, where the full backs were brilliant. Porto targeted Alexander-Arnold at the start of the game but the young star handled it perfectly well and in the end Brahimi moved inside to get away from him. Robertson again was fantastic, both full backs have such a good delivery into the box, it’s crazy. Finally, Virgil van Dijk was a monster again as he has been and is just getting better and better. At times, he looked like the best defender in the world, except one poor tackle. Lovren and Karius were also great whoever plays in these two positions with van Dijk just seem to be a lot calmer and composed with the big Dutchman around them.
Anyway, congratulations Sadio Mane. Firstly, on getting this award and secondly on his first Liverpool FC hat-trick.