Liverpool crushed Porto 5-1 in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening. The Reds found a new start in the fixture.
Liverpool couldn’t have asked for things to go better. They went to Porto and won 5-1, knowing full well it was a defining game in this Champions League group.
Porto, as the third seed, are the most likely side to jump ahead of the Reds and knock them out – along with first seeds Atletico Madrid, of course. The Portuguese side needed a win or at least a draw to put themselves in a solid position to progress.
But Liverpool tore them to pieces and the Reds can largely thank one player for it – Curtis Jones.
Liverpool 5-1 Porto
Jones is a different kind of midfielder for Liverpool. He’s a good all-rounder but is more suited to driving forward with the ball than Jordan Henderson or Thiago. The Reds put him in the side to make things happen in the final third.
Statistically, Jones has always been good at that and his underlying numbers look great. We hadn’t seen a true breakout performance, though – one that highlights what he can bring to the side.
But we got exactly that against Porto. Jones was at least marginally involved in all five goals and played key roles in four of them.
The first was simple enough – he drove into the box and worked a shot. The keeper saved it but Mohamed Salah was there to put away the rebound. The second didn’t heavily involve Jones but he was there in the build-up to Sadio Mane’s strike.
For number three, the 20-year-old deserves all the credit. He led a counter-attack and patiently waited for the right pass to open up. When it did, he found Salah for the easy finish.
No.4 saw Jones do brilliantly well on the edge of his own box to break away from pressure. Then he lofted a long ball for Roberto Firmino, who took advantage of some strange goalkeeping to score.
The fifth was much like the first – a shot from Jones that saw the ball fall for Firmino.
What we got here, then, was pure evidence of what the Scouser can bring. Jones made things happen all game and put pressure on Porto whenever he had the ball. He just never stopped trying, running 12km – more than anyone else on the pitch.
This felt like a breakout performance. One where Jones took to the biggest stage and played like a matchwinner. It surely earns him a start against Manchester City this Sunday and beyond.