Mane's brilliance shines through with hat trick as Liverpool crush Porto
Liverpool brilliantly put their Portuguese opponents to the sword with a 5-0 victory. Porto will need a miracle to even make this a close tie in the second leg.
Excellent performances from virtually every player. There was a persistence and discipline in the second half, when many fans may have feared a traditional collapse. Their place in the quarterfinals is almost certainly guaranteed.
Only in the subsequent appreciation of their performance. Many might well assume Porto were utterly dreadful but that would take away from Liverpool's brilliance on the night.
Manager rating out of 10
8-- Jurgen Klopp made minor adjustments to his team and they all worked perfectly. Being good in possession and biding their time to take advantage of their first-half lead were clearly half-time managerial instructions that paid off with three more goals.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Loris Karius, 7 -- A spectator for long stretches, he was still confident in his catching and positional play. Made a save late on, though it was called back for offside, he showed determination to protect his clean sheet and stayed focussed throughout.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 8 -- Always an outlet on the right, he kept his direct opponent in check with a determined early display. As Liverpool took a firmer hold on the game, he raced forward to support the attack.
DF Dejan Lovren, 8 -- It can be claimed the Croatian had little to do, but this was such a calm and assured performance. Came to his fellow defenders' rescue on more than one occasion, was efficient in possession and worked well with Virgil van Dijk. Concentration has always been his weakness but he was almost perfect on the night.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 8 -- The Dutchman is putting a nervy and erratic beginning to his Liverpool career behind him. Cool under fire and gives Liverpool another asset with some quality cross-field passes and adventurous runs forward. Great organiser, showing exactly why Liverpool spent all that money.
DF Andy Robertson, 8 -- The Scot keeps on producing high-quality performances. Never too showy at the back, which means minimum risk, while his energy levels to keep going forward have been extraordinary all season.
MF Jordan Henderson, 7 -- Somewhat bland but necessary display from the captain. High-percentage passing all the way through, and never out of earshot from his central defenders, whom he protected well. This allowed his midfield partners to express themselves further forward via a typically unselfish performance.
MF James Milner, 8 -- Superb in midfield, almost scored the second when his shot crashed off the post. Perhaps lucky to escape a booking in the second half, when a few lunges could have been exploited by more-cynical opponents. Calm cross for Liverpool's fourth goal.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 8 -- Often disappointing, the Dutchman had arguably his best away game for Liverpool. Charged forward to create panic for the first goal, showed great energy levels and was almost impossible to knock off the ball sometimes.
FW Sadio Mane, 9 -- It was only a matter of time before his true brilliance shone through. Touch was still poor in the first half, his goal coming from a goalkeeping mistake, but in the second half he went up several notches with two more good goals and tremendous work ethic. Never gave Porto a minute's peace all night.
FW Mohamed Salah, 8 -- Exceptionally cool finish for his goal, like all great goalscorers seems to have infinite time in such a frenetic sport. A little bit greedy sometimes when a pass was on, his much neglected work rate came to the fore in the second half and was always a threat on the counterattack.
FW Roberto Firmino, 8 -- Not much more can be said about the brilliant Brazilian. On a night he was eclipsed by Mane, he still scored and ran incessantly. On current form, one of the best strikers in Europe.
DF Joel Matip, NR -- Brought on to rest Henderson, slotted into defence and gave Porto very little encouragement they could score even a consolation.
DF Joe Gomez, NR -- Nominal appearance for the returning defender, nothing to remotely trouble him.
FW Danny Ings, NR -- Once again, it was great to see a player reappear after suffering so much heartbreak. Unselfishly teed up Mane for his hat trick.
Steven Kelly is one of ESPN FC's Liverpool bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @SteKelly198586.