Clocking up the minutes
While the match ultimately fell short in the entertainment stakes, it did serve as an opportunity for Jürgen Klopp to give game time to a number of players who needed it.
The returning trio of Joe Gomez, Adam Lallana and Alberto Moreno each made their first starts since January, clocking up welcome minutes for the Premier League run-in and Champions League participation to come.
“Joe Gomez is fit and a fantastic player. That’s not ‘rotating’, it’s only bringing in Joe in a good shape and at the highest motivation level,” the manager had explained before kick-off.
“It is exactly the same for Alberto Moreno. Adam Lallana, it was clear that at one point we needed to use him.”
Five clean sheets in seven
While Liverpool – the competition’s highest scorers – were frustrated at one end, they did the same to their opposition for the fifth time in the past seven fixtures.
A crisp, low effort from Majeed Waris early in the second half aside, the evening passed by with Loris Karius largely untroubled.
It was a 10th shutout for the No.1 in his 19th appearance of the campaign.
A touch of class from Casillas
The Kop’s tradition of clapping in the visiting goalkeeper found a welcome recipient in the form of Spain legend Iker Casillas, who responded in kind at the outset of the second half.
It was the stopper’s third appearance at Anfield, the previous two having come with Real Madrid –a 4-0 defeat against a rampant Reds side in March 2009 and a 3-0 win in the 2014-15 Champions League group stage.
Casillas was tested on a handful of occasions – but saved his best until the last…
Ings inches away from that goal
Danny Ings came agonisingly close to ending his wait for a first Liverpool goal since October 2015.
Sent on with around half an hour remaining, the Englishman’s chance came with two minutes left on the clock as Mohamed Salah sent a perfect cross into the Porto area.
Ings connected well with his header, attempting to loop the ball over Casillas and under the crossbar, but the Spanish custodian stretched to tip it away and make the No.28 wait a little longer for that sought-after strike.
Who’s next for the Reds?
Well, we’ll have to wait to find out.
With two last-16 ties to be concluded on Wednesday night, and four more next week, the only other confirmed quarter-finalists as it stands are Real Madrid.
The draw therefore takes place next Friday, March 16, in Nyon. It will be open, with no seeding, and teams from the same country can be paired together.
Whichever side is drawn first will play the opening leg at home, with the ties to be played on April 3/4 and April 10/11.