Liverpool produced a solid, professional performance at Anfield to defeat FC Porto 2-0 with first-half strikes from Keita and Roberto Firmino to put them in pole position to qualify for the semi-final stage.
Jurgen Klopp’s side made the perfect start by breaking the deadlock inside the opening five minutes, then kept the pressure on to add a second before half-time.
A sweeping counter-attack brought Liverpool the opening goal inside the first five minutes, with Naby Keita’s deflected effort finding the top corner after great work from Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino to set up the opportunity.
And the home side was celebrating again 20 minutes later when a superbly-weighted Jordan Henderson through-ball found Trent Alexander-Arnold overlapping down the right flank, who centered for Firmino who, just onside, tapped home from four yards out.
But it was far from one-way traffic at Anfield, as Porto created a number of chances of their own, but were unable to find the net for a priceless away goal.
Moussa Marega was the man who came closest for the visitors, but was denied by a superb block by Liverpool keeper Alisson on the half-hour mark.
And in the same attack, Marega then spurned a golden opportunity as he mistimed a volley from 10 yards out.
Marega’s disappointing night in front of goal continued in the second half as more chances came and went, and the Reds fans inside a packed Anfield breathed a sigh of relief when a VAR review adjudged Trent Alexander-Arnold had not committed a handball offence when the ball rebounded off the England international’s arm following a diving save by Alisson.
There was another fortunate moment for the home side when a nasty-looking over-the-top challenge on Danilo from Mo Salah went unpunished, despite the Liverpool man missing the ball and connecting half-way up the Porto defender’s shin.
In the end, a 2-0 victory will be considered a solid start for Liverpool, who will travel to the Estadio Dragao in Porto with high hopes of securing a berth in the semi-finals of the competition.