Mohamed Salah struck twice as Liverpool sauntered to a 5-1 victory against injury-struck Porto to seize command of a daunting looking Champions League Group B on Tuesday.
Substitute Roberto Firmino also grabbed a brace as Liverpool negotiated a tricky-looking fixture on paper with ease.
It was a miserable night for Porto — who have now conceded 14 goals in their last three home games against Liverpool — and especially keeper Diogo Costa who produced a woeful display.
Porto were dealt a blow before kickoff when captain and centre back Pepe was injured in the warm-up and the hosts were further handicapped when midfielder Otavio lasted only 13 minutes before hobbling off with a hamstring injury.
Liverpool took ruthless advantage of Porto’s woes with Salah tapping in following a mistake by Costa after 17 minutes and they doubled their lead just before halftime when Sadio Mane scored from close range with Costa again culpable.
Salah made it 3-0 on the hour with a typically neat finish before Porto rallied with Mehdi Taremi heading past Alisson.
Any hope of a late Porto comeback was extinguished, however, when Costa made a mad dash from his goal and substitute Firmino rolled a shot into an empty net.
Porto’s misery was complete when Firmino grabbed his second of the night in the 81st minute.
Liverpool top the group with six points from two games, ahead of Atletico Madrid who have four points.
After being drawn in the toughest group, Liverpool will be hugely satisfied with their start, having beaten Milan in a scintillating opener at Anfield a fortnight ago.
They were far too good for a Porto side who sit third in the table with one point.
“It’s definitely not job done as we have four games to play. We had two good performances, applied ourselves well and got results we deserved,” Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson, who made his 400th appearance for the club, said.
“It’s a good start but it is far from over.”
Porto’s evening began to unravel when Pepe was unable to start and things spiralled after that.
Liverpool took the lead when the impressive Curtis Jones crossed from the left and, as the goalkeeper fumbled, the ball fell to Salah who could not miss.
Porto dug in and looked as though they would reach halftime still in contention but when keeper Costa bizarrely decided to let a low cross from James Milner across the area, Mane was on hand to core from close range.
There was nothing Costa could have done to stop Salah making it 3-0 on the hour. The only frustration for Liverpool was that they failed to keep a clean sheet as Taremi headed in.
But a rush of blood to the head by Costa quickly allowed Firmino to restore the margin — the keeper comically racing back to try and prevent the shot crossing the line.
Firmino completed the rout when a Salah shot broke to him in the area and he coolly slotted home.
Liverpool have scored at least three goals in their last six matches in all competitions for only the third time in the club’s history and head into this weekend’s big Premier League clash at home to English champions Manchester City on a high.