Liverpool builds 2-0 lead over Porto in Champions League

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Different round, same comfortable win. Porto must be sick of the sight of Liverpool in the Champions League.

Liverpool built a 2-0 lead over Porto heading into the second leg of their quarterfinal thanks to first-half goals by Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino at Anfield on Tuesday.

A year after beating Porto 5-0 on aggregate in the last 16, Liverpool found similar joy against a Portuguese team which is widely regarded as the biggest outsider left in the competition.

Keita’s strike from just inside the area deflected into the top corner off Porto midfielder Oliver Torres to give Liverpool the lead in the fifth minute.

The English side had more chances to score — Mohamed Salah wasted a one-on-one after pouncing on an errant back-pass — before Trent Alexander-Arnold was played through by Jordan Henderson and crossed for Firmino to tap into an empty net from close range in the 26th.

Porto occasionally threatened to score a crucial away goal, with striker Moussa Marega twice denied by goalkeeper Alisson Becker, but Liverpool looks in good shape to reach the semifinals for a second straight year. Last season, Juergen Klopp’s team got to the final, only to lose to Real Madrid.

Salah might count himself fortunate to still be available for the second leg in Porto on April 17 after escaping punishment for a studs-up tackle on the shin of Danilo in the final minutes.

Whichever team advances will next face either Manchester United or Barcelona, who start their quarterfinal matchup on Wednesday with the first leg at Old Trafford.

With a newfound defensive strength this season, Liverpool is in with a good chance of winning the Premier League, too. It is in first place, two points ahead of Manchester City.

City is also through to the quarterfinals of the Champions League, but must recover from a 1-0 loss to Tottenham in the first leg Tuesday.