UEFA Champions League
Wednesday 28th November 2007 @ 7:45pm
Prior to kick off thousands of Liverpool fans marched in support of Rafa Benitez before witnessing another great Anfield European night. The atmosphere was guaranteed to be electric after the recent off-the-pitch events, and only two games ago in this tournament Liverpool looked to be down and outs in this competition.
However the reds have now fired 12 goals in the last 2 European games at Anfield and are now set for a showdown game in France in two weeks – a game that Liverpool must win against Marseille to qualify for the knockout stages.
On a night of nervous tension, both on and off the field, the reds came out of the blocks looking to knock the stuffing out of FC Porto. But the Portugese side are a good side and showed all the qualities as to why they had been unbeaten at home and in Europe so far this season. Their quick counter-attacks gave the reds plenty to think about in the course of the first half.
After missing a hatful of chances against Newcastle on Saturday, Fernando Torres scored the first goal of the game – a header from a Gerrard corner when he was left totally unmarked in the six yard box inside 20 minutes. Porto, with Lisandro Lopez, were unsettling the reds and they grabbed an equaliser from Lopez in the 33rd minute. The goal was coming. Liverpool had allowed numerous crosses to arrive in the box and this time Lopez got his head to the ball, and past Reina.
Porto finished the half strongly.
The second half was initially dominated by the Portugese champions. Liverpool’s crisp passing rhythm which had returned in recent weeks had, to some extent, disappeared. As the half wore on – the men in red began to get nervous but it was that man Torres yet again who settled the tens of thousands off the pitch and the other 10 Liverpool players on it, when he scored following Harry Kewell’s excellent build up play.
Liverpool sensed Porto were there to be killed off and when a Porto defender handled the ball from a Gerrard free-kick – the captain stepped up to dispatch the penalty.
Another corner added to Liverpool’s tally, when this time the substitute Crouch was the man unmarked who could home to rub salt in the Portugese wounds.
4-1 flattered Liverpool but the reds gained the 3 points that were expected of them and the Champions League door has been pushed open that little bit wider.
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Arbeloa, Benayoun (Crouch 71), Gerrard, Mascherano, Babel (Kuyt 85), Voronin (Kewell 63), Torres.
Subs Not Used: Itandje, Riise, Lucas, Sissoko.
Goals: Torres 19, 78, Gerrard 84 pen, Crouch 88.
FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Stepanov, Bruno Alves, Cech, Mariano Gonzalez (Sektioui 77), Lucho Gonzalez, Paulo Assuncao (Postiga 81), Kazmierczak (Raul Meireles 65), Quaresma, Lopez.
Subs Not Used: Nuno, Pedro Emanuel, Fucile, Bolatti.
Booked: Paulo Assuncao, Stepanov, Quaresma.
Goals: Lopez 33.
Ref: Roberto Rosetti (Italy).