Sadio Mane led the 5-0 demolition of Porto, becoming the first Liverpool player to score a hat-trick away in Europe since Michael Owen in 2002.
Mohamed Salah reached 30 goals for the season with a moment of extraordinary cool – only George Allan in 1896 has hit the landmark quicker – while Roberto Firmino maintained his excellent form with the fourth goal of an extraordinary evening.
Jurgen Klopp praised a ‘perfect’ Liverpool performance away from home on Wednesday night
Klopp punches the air in celebration after Liverpool’s 5-0 win away in Porto
Porto could not contain Liverpool’s rampant forward line but, equally, they got no joy out of a defence in which Dejan Lovren and Virgil Van Dijk, making his European debut for the club, also sparkled.
It was for this reason that Klopp felt compelled to describe the night as ‘perfect’.
He said: ‘Yes you can say that. It was very professional and very mature in the right moments, very aggressive, good defending, good counter-attacking and keeping the ball.’
‘In the end it was a high result but I think everyone saw in the game, in all the moments where we were not as compact as we wanted to be, Porto were strong and had their moments. We scored fantastic goals in the right moment.
‘That’s important. We scored the goals they didn’t score. We had much more chances, more in first half because we defended well most of the time.’
Sadio Mane scored his first Liverpool hat-trick as the Reds ran riot in Portugal
Mohamed Salah showed great improvisation to score his 30th goal of the season
Mane was the hat-trick hero for the Reds after a relatively underwhelming second season at Anfield, and Klopp was full of praise for the ‘fantastic’ forward.
‘I said to him after the last game ‘finally, you are back.’ After the game we met on the pitch and tonight he showed it again. He was always important, he was always fantastic for us even in his ‘not that good’ moments. That’s real quality.’
And Klopp refused to claim the tie was as good as over, despite his side taking an overwhelming advantage to the second-leg at Anfield next month: ‘No, of course not. Why should I?
‘We came here to create the basis for the second game at Anfield, no more no less.’
Liverpool owner John Henry tweeted about the club for the first time since 2016 to praise a ‘tremendous effort’.