Sadio Mane grabs a hat-trick as Liverpool hit five in Porto
Champions League Last 16, first leg, Estadio do Dragao - FC Porto 0 Liverpool 5 (Mane 25, 53, 85, Salah 29, Firmino 69)
Sadio Mane grabbed a hat-trick and Mohamed Salah scored his 30th goal of the season as Liverpool claimed a stunning 5-0 first-leg victory in their Champions League last 16 clash at FC Porto.
The Merseysiders, who were appearing in their first knockout match in the competition for nine years, edged in front when Mane squeezed a shot through Jose Sa on 25 minutes.
Salah then put the visitors firmly in control of the tie when he expertly juggled the ball in a tight space and coolly tucked in a rebound after James Milner's effort had crashed back off the post.
Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring for Liverpool against PortoGetty Images
It was the Egyptian's 30th strike in just 36 appearances for the Reds and once again underlined his growing reputation as one of the best forwards in world football.
Sérgio Conceição's side had come into the contest on the back of a 24-match unbeaten run, but struggled to make any impact as the visitors ran riot. Mane made it three on 53 minutes before Roberto Firmino netted his eighth European goal of the campaign.
Mane all-but finished the tie by completing his hat-trick with a stunning 25-yard drive five minutes from time as Jurgen Klopp's men became the top scorers in this season's Champions League with 28 goals.
The Reds will surely complete the formalities and secure a place in the last eight when the sides reconvene in the second leg at Anfield on Tuesday March 6.
Salah soars and Mane returns to form as Liverpool surge towards the last eight. Salah became only the 13th player in Liverpool's history to notch 30 goals in a season. It has taken the 25-year-old just 36 matches to clinch the milestone, making him the second fastest Reds player to reach it. Only George Allam (27 games) back in 1896 was quicker. He did it in style too, with an exquisite bit of ball juggling followed by an ice-cool finish. It was a goal of the highest technical quality - but for once the headlines may not be his. Mane has struggled to hit the heights of last season, but looked sharp throughout here with a treble that not only puts Liverpool on course for the quarter finals, but will do his own confidence the world of good. With the Merseysiders' front three in this form, no-one will want to face them in the next round.
Mohamed Salah of Liverpool rounds the keeper, Jose Sa of FC Porto on his way to scoring the 2nd goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between FC Porto and Liverpool at Estadio do Dragao on February 14, 2018 in Porto, Portugal.Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH
Sadio Mane (Liverpool). Took his tally to 12 goals in all competitions - and six in Europe - with one of his best performances of the season as the Reds' front three produced a real Valentine's Day massacre in Portugal.
Sadio Mane of Liverpool celebrates scoring the first goal with Georginio Wijnaldum and Andy Robertson during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between FC Porto and Liverpool at Estadio do Dragao on February 14, 2018 in Porto, Portugal.Getty Images
PORTO: Jose Sa 5, Ricardo 5, Reyes 5, Marcano 5, Alex Telles 5, Herrera 5, Sergio Oliveira 5, Otavio 6, Brahimi 6, Marega 6, Soares 5. Subs: Corona 5, Waris 5, Paciencia 5.
LIVERPOOL: Karius 7, Alexander-Arnold 7, Van Dijk 8, Lovren 8, Robertson 8, Milner 8, Henderson 7, Wijnaldum 7, Mane 9, Salah 8, Firmino 8. Subs: Matip 6, Gomez 6, Ings 6.
10' - PORTO CHANCE! Otavio latches onto Moussa Marega's touch in the box. He creates space 15 yards out but sees his low shot deflect off Lovren and fly just over the bar with Karius stranded.
25' - GOAL! Porto 0-2 Liverpool. Mane's low shot from the left of the area squirms through Jose Sa and into the net after Wijnaldum had wreaked havoc with a powerful run.
29' - GOAL! Porto 0-2 Liverpool. Milner's shot crashes back off the post and Salah shows real composure to flick it over the keeper, nod it into his own path and touch home.
44' - PORTO CHANCE! Brahimi slips it through for Soares who flashes just wide of Karius' right-hand post.
53' - GOAL! Porto 0-3 Liverpool. The visitors are running riot. A lightning break sees Salah feed Firmino through the middle. The Brazilian's shot is well saved, but Mane races in to gobble up the rebound.
69' - GOAL! Porto 0-4 Liverpool. Now Firmino gets in on the act. Liverpool rip Porto apart once more. Milner skips free on the left and cuts it back for the Brazilian to side foot into the bottom corner.
Roberto Firmino of Liverpool celebrates scoring the fourth goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between FC Porto and Liverpool at Estadio do Dragao on February 14, 2018 in Porto, Portugal.Getty Images
85' - GOAL! Porto 0-5 Liverpool. Mane puts the seal on an emphatic victory with a thunderbolt of a 25-yard drive to clinch his hat-trick.
Salah is only the 13th different Reds player to score 30 goals in a season.
Liverpool have scored at least twice in 12 of the last 13 games in all competitions.
Mane is the fourth Liverpool player to score a hat-trick in the Champions League, after Michael Owen, Yossi Benayoun and Philippe Coutinho.
Liverpool have scored more goals (28) than any other team in the Champions League this season, with 25 of those goals coming across their last five games.