Tyler Morton’s highlight says volumes, but Ibrahima Konate will have to wait.
Tyler Morton’s incredible rise at Liverpool continues.
After making his Premier League debut as a late replacement against Arsenal on Saturday, the teenage midfielder was granted his whole Champions League debut against a Porto side that included veteran Pepe, who had been a senior professional before Morton was born.
The 19-year-old was forced to line up beside Thiago Alcantara, a player he has previously stated he idolizes.
Throughout his quick rise through the ranks, though, there has never been a sense that the adolescent has been anything other than grounded.
After a historic moment with Porto, Thiago Alcantara sets a fresh challenge for Liverpool.
Thiago was “outstanding” against Porto, while one Liverpool player was “nervous and severely off the pace.” Liverpool’s probable Champions League round of 16 opponents are currently unknown.
And he didn’t seem out of place in this setting.
A pass around the corner by Morton to begin an early counter-attack was heartily cheered by Liverpool fans eager to express their support for the childhood Red.
During a tense first half, there was audible relief as the teenager made a timely reception as Porto surged for the opener.
The highlight, however, was Mohamed Salah’s game-winning score with 20 minutes remaining, which began with a searching pass over the top that dropped in behind visiting left-back Zaidu Sanusi.
Pepe, by the way, had been wounded and had left the field before the final whistle. Morton, on the other hand, is only getting started.
Ibrahima Konate could have done without the unfortunate coincidence.
The Kop launched into a song applauding fellow centre-back Virgil van Dijk, who was warming up on the touchline among the substitutes, seconds after the Frenchman was cautioned for a clumsy foul on Joao Mario.
Konate recently stated that his ultimate goal is to rival, if not surpass, the Dutchman. There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious.
However, his wobbly, nervous performance against Porto highlighted why Jurgen Klopp has kept him mainly under wraps since his £36 million summer transfer from RB Leipzig.
Konate, who was given only his fifth Liverpool start — and his first in the Champions League – looked flustered during a tense first half.
Indeed, it was his error that led to Otavio’s early Porto opportunity, which he somehow managed to pass up. The game would have been an if that had gone in. “The summary has come to an end.”