Soccer-Porto's Conceicao still hopeful for last 16 despite Liverpool defeat

Soccer Football - Champions League - Group B - Atletico Madrid v FC Porto - Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - September 15, 2021 FC Porto coach Sergio Conceicao reacts REUTERS/Susana Vera

LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) - Porto coach Sergio Conceicao rued his side's poor finishing in a 2-0 loss at Liverpool in the Champions League on Wednesday but said he always thought their fate would be decided in the last group game at home to Atletico Madrid.

Conceicao was furious at times in the opening 45 minutes as his side carved out several opportunities, the best falling to Otavio who sliced a glorious chance horribly wide.

Liverpool then struck twice after the break through Thiago Alcantara's stunning strike and Mohamed Salah's sixth goal in Group B which they lead with a maximum 15 points from five games, 10 ahead of second-placed Porto.

Milan's 1-0 win at Atletico Madrid limited the damage to Porto's hopes of reaching the last 16 and a win at home to Atletico on Dec. 7 will see them progress as runners-up.

"We probably had the best of the first half, we created three or four chances and defensively we were disciplined," Conceicao said.

"But then the individual quality of Liverpool players and our lack of offensive effectiveness made the difference. We were not efficient enough tonight.

"But I always said that the group would be decided in the final game and we can still get to the round of 16."

While Porto are sweating on finishing as runners-up, Liverpool are one of three clubs going into the last round of group games with maximum points and finishing with a 100% record will focus minds in Milan.

"It would be good to go through with all wins to take forward into the competition," Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain said.

"Everyone dreams of playing at the San Siro in the Champions League, away at Milan and that is what we are here to do."

Liverpool may well field some of their fringe players in Milan, as they did on Wednesday when midfielder Tyler Morton was handed his Champions League debut.

"People might be surprised with Tyler Morton but he did exceptionally well," manager Juergen Klopp said.

"He is a good player and really pleased for him that he put a performance in like this."

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)

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