The game didn’t matter as much as the surrounding fixtures, with Porto already beaten the 0-0 draw wasn’t a disappointing result for either side. Sérgio Conceição knew his side would struggle to beat this in form Liverpool side, and maybe concentrated on other fixtures knowing very well both teams have highly important league commitments.
So, with the game of low importance, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool pretty much already into the quarter finals for the first time since 2009, did the fixture really matter?
It was clear to see tonight that wasn’t the case. The players in red did put in a very solid performance and even though the fantastic three in Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah didn’t grab their routine goal, it was a good display from Liverpool. Especially in defence.
Even without the assured Virgil van Dijk, energetic Andy Robertson and alert Trent Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Moreno and Gomez all looked calm and able in front of Karius.
The man of the match award has gone to Dejan Lovren, and the big Croatian has had this coming with his superb performances recently. Another one of the Liverpool defenders to have profited from the arrival of Van Dijk, Lovren looks 10 times the player he was at the start of the season.
Although the game was of a low importance for Liverpool, Lovren played with passion and determination to keep the clean sheet and keep his place for the trip to Manchester on Saturday.
A superb block in the second half was his stand out moment. His fast reactions and agility allowed him to block a couple of yards from goal and keep the scores level. Although it was an easy game for the Reds and Lovren, the former Southampton man stayed switched on and concentrated throughout, often a criticism of his, and performed when his team needed it most.
A mention also goes to James Milner, who once again showed great passion and experience. Looked like he wanted to add to the aggregate lead throughout the night with key passes and driving runs.
Overall it was a good night for Jurgen Klopp’s men, who now look on to Saturday lunch time at Old Trafford. Hopefully Lovren or Matip perform well next to van Dijk just like they did together last night.