Liverpool powered to a 3-1 win away at Benfica in the Champions League tonight. First half goals from Konaté and Mané gave the Reds a comfortable lead at the break. Nunez halved the scoring early in the second period before Diaz rounded off the scoring. Here are player ratings from the match.

Alisson – 7

Good save from Everton first half and was lucky Fabinho completed the clearance. Not much he could do about the goal. Took an unnecessary risk late on when he checked back with Silva closing in.

Alexander-Arnold – 8

Not as involved as you’d expect early on but came to life with a ridiculous raking ball to find Diaz in behind the Benfica backline. That led to the second goal. Played another fantastic pass to put Robertson in but his cutback was poor. Put Salah through but Mo couldn’t finish past the keeper. Trent put in a solid shift and kept Everton under wraps.

Konaté – 7

Started well with his towering header breaking the deadlock. Showed good pace and strength to halt Nunez’s runs first half. Second half he made an inexplicable error when he completely miskicked and allowed Nunez to nip in and score. His head went for a while after that. He was ridiculously high on one attack and when he failed to win the ball, Nunez countered into the acres of space behind him and almost won a penalty. Settled in the closing stages.

Van Dijk – 8.5

He was imperious at the back, winning almost every single header he contested. He showed a clean pair of heels when he closed down Silva to prevent him from having a free shot on goal. Came across to bail Konaté out a number of times and used all his experience to avoid giving away a penalty on Nunez.

Robertson – 8

Terrific delivery for Konaté to open the scoring. He then overhit a cross for Salah at the backpost. He was too easily beaten by Ramos who proceeded to put in a cross early on. He wobbled a bit when Benfica pulled one back but he quickly regained his composure. Was once again dependable down that left flank.

Fabinho – 9

He was incredible on the night, pinching the ball back time and time again. He was assured in possession as well and played some brilliant passes to boot. Committed the odd foul when he had to. On hand to make several crucial interceptions. Took a bang to the head in injury time.

Keita – 8.5

He was very advanced early on and got on the end of a few chances. Should have done better with a header which he put into the ground. Played a lovely through ball to set Diaz away but the Colombian’s finish was too close to the keeper. He repeated the trick late on after a driving run through midfield. This time Diaz applied the finish. Battled well in midfield and was one of our best players on the night.

Thiago – 8

He ran the show in the first half. Probed with his passes and was always an option for his teammates. He was a key part of a comfortable first half for the Reds as he simply choked the life out of Benfica with the level of control he brought to proceedings. After their goal, Benfica rallied and Thiago was guilty of giving the ball away one too many times. Given a breather midway through the second half.

Salah – 6

Another frustrating night. Started well enough actually, linking up well with Keita on the right wing and going close to scoring after a Mané backheel. It was all downhill from there as his touch deserted him, as well as his finishing touch, and ability to beat a man. Placed his shot too close to the keeper when sent through on goal. Subbed.

Mané – 8

Linked up well with his teammates. Tapped home after unselfish work by Diaz. Created chances for Diaz and Salah as he once again looked promising in the striking role. Given a breather second half.

Diaz – 9

Unselfish header for Mané to tap home. He was lively. Not afraid to take the ball and run at defenders. Should have scored first half when Keita put him through on goal but he didn’t apply enough elevation on his chip. Should have done better from Henderson’s stood up cross late on too. Made up for it with his goal late on when he rounded the keeper before slotting into an empty net. Another impressive display.


Henderson – 6.5

It took him a while to get going, with several passes going astray. Created a chance for Diaz after his first attempted cross was deflected back to him. Played a ball over the top for Jota in injury time for what should have been the fourth goal.

Jota – 6

Another whose touch deserted him. Poorly overhit a pass to an overlapping Trent on the right wing to ruin an attack. Looked busy on the right wing and on the left. Should have wrapped up the tie late on when sent clean through on goal.

Firmino – 6

He lost the ball to Ramos with one of his first touches in the game and chased back to win it back and win a free kick. Didn’t really influence the game much but was industrious out of possession.

Gomez – N/A

On for the final few minutes in place of Trent.

Milner – N/A

Committed at least two fouls in his brief cameo. Never change James Milner, never change.

Jürgen Klopp

The manager made six changes to the side that beat Watford on Saturday. Trent came in for Gomez at right back, with Konaté, Fabinho, Keita, Mané and Diaz starting in place of Matip, Henderson, Jones, Firmino and Jota respectively. It was an impressive first half display by the Reds, with the scoreline flattering the hosts at the break.

The second period was tougher as Benfica piled on the pressure after they were gifted a goal. Klopp made a triple change around the hour mark and his side weathered the storm before wrapping up the game late on. Gomez and Milner were sent on for brief cameos as the manager used his squad well.

A comfortable away win in the quarter finals of the Champions League after a half a dozen changes to the lineup. Not bad at all. All eyes will now turn to the mammoth fixture on Sunday. Benfica will still need to be taken seriously in the second leg but this tie is all but done.



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