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Liverpool smashes Porto, English clubs storming toward Champions League quarterfinals

Through 270 total minutes of soccer in the Champions League Round of 16, English clubs have outscored their opponents 11-2, and appear to be well on their way to ending the Premier League’s dreadful five-year run in the competition.

Liverpool completed an outstanding opening week for the EPL’s top five, smashing Porto 5-0 and all but joining Manchester City in the quarterfinals after the first of two legs.

Since Chelsea won the European title in 2012, only four English teams have advanced past the Round of 16, but the five in contention right now appear to be in position to at least equal that total this year alone.

City and Liverpool, which both take massive leads back home, have already booked their tickets. Tottenham came from behind to get a 2-2 draw at Juventus on Tuesday as well. Next week, Chelsea opens the toughest tie of the five against Barcelona, and Manchester United has Sevilla.

City and Liverpool were expected to advance past inferior opposition, but the thoroughness of their first-leg destructions has been impressive. Especially in the case of the Reds. Porto rode a 24-game unbeaten run into Wednesday, but saw the streak come crashing down at the hands of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino.

Those three were the goal scorers, but Jurgen Klopp’s entire team deserves plaudits. They stayed on the front foot with aggressive pressing and timely interceptions. Dejan Lovren stepped to cut off a goalkeeper’s outlet midway through the first half, and started the move that Mane finished to give Liverpool the lead:


Next it was James Milner’s turn to win the ball high up the field. Milner was brilliant all night. And Mo Salah … well, he is brilliant:


Milner played a key role in the counterattack that might as well have locked up the tie as well. This time he won the ball in his own half, and incited a textbook break. Mane finished it off for his second, and Liverpool’s third:


Oh, and Milner supplied Firmino for the fourth:


Mane completed his hat trick in style:


Liverpool will now enjoy 90 low-pressure minutes at Anfield while it awaits its last-eight opponent.

And not only is it one of two English clubs that are already secure in the next round; both Liverpool and City look capable of doing even more damage. Frankly, so do Spurs.

In addition to their Round of 16 troubles, Premier League sides have struggled once they’ve progressed as well. Since that Chelsea run, only two have reached the semifinals. Some combination of City, Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea and United could equal or eclipse that total too.

As a group, they continue to stick daggers in the narrative that hounded them on the continent. Liverpool’s demolition of Porto might have officially ended the funk.

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane celebrates one of his three goals against Porto on Wednesday. (Getty)

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Henry Bushnell covers global soccer, and occasionally other ball games, for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.