LIVERPOOL VS BENFICA: PREVIEW
The second leg of the Champions League quarter finals rolls around tomorrow night, with Liverpool holding a 3-1 first leg lead over Benfica. The Reds will be seeking to progress to the last four for the first time since they won the competition back in 2019. Here’s a preview of the game.
Nelson Verissimo’s side looked out of their depth in the first half of the first leg as Liverpool took a 2-0 halftime lead and missed further chances to add to their tally. To Benfica’s credit, they stayed in the game and when Nunez punished Konaté’s error, they poured forward and put the Reds under pressure.
For about thirty minutes after their goal, Benfica were the better side. They will take a lot of belief from that period of the game and hope to reproduce it at Anfield to spark an unlikely comeback. Following that defeat they beat bottom of the table Belenenses 3-1, with Darwin Nunez netting a hat trick.
They have fallen 15 points off the pace in the league, and having been knocked out of the two domestic Cup competitions, will know this is their last chance to keep their season alive. With the away goal rule no longer in effect, a repeat of the 2-0 win they earned at Anfield in 2006 will see them force extra time.
Liverpool however will look to kill off the tie as early as possible. The Reds are coming off an incredibly intense and breathless 2-2 draw at the Etihad. They face City again on Saturday, at Wembley this time, with a place in the FA Cup final at stake.
This is likely to see Jürgen Klopp run the changes, with the likes of Konaté, Tsimikas, Keita, Firmino and Luis Diaz all likely to get a recall here. With the strength in depth currently available, the gaffer can make a number of changes and still field a strong team.
He indeed made six changes to his side in the first leg and a similar number is expected tomorrow night. The Reds are heavy favourites to go through and are aware an early goal will mean Benfica have to score three unanswered goals to force extra time. That is more than a tall order against this Liverpool side.
The Reds have conceded two goals in a single game just twice this calendar year (away to Chelsea and Manchester City). They’ve only let in three goals in a single home match once this season, that coming in the mad 3-3 draw against Leicester City in the League Cup. This sums up the task Benfica face tomorrow night.
It is exciting times to be a red. The club is on the verge of sealing their place in the semi finals of the UEFA Champions League for the third time under Jürgen Klopp. It is incredible just how many strides have been made under the German.
Before he arrived at the club, the last time we partook in the last four of Europe’s premium competition was way back in 2007/08 under Rafa Benitez. We simply can’t take this for granted and hopefully the fans make it another raucous atmosphere to remember.
Benfica will not roll over. There is still a job to be finished. Verissimo’s side are the topscorers in the Portuguese league having scored 73 goals in 29 league games. They will carry a threat, and should make it a competitive game tomorrow night.
Any chance to watch this Liverpool side should be gobbled up. Who knows how long it will be till we see an era as successful as this again?
Jürgen Klopp didn’t report any injuries in his pre-match press conference but did suggest there will be rotation due to the relentless schedule. For Benfica, Rodrigo Pinho and Lucas Verissimo are long-term absentees.
The Colombian was tormentor-in-chief at the Estadio da Luz last week, registering a goal and assist in a Man of the Match display. He is in line for another start here and will want to continue where he left off against his former rivals.
The 22 year old Uruguayan was Benfica’s biggest threat last week. His goal breathed new life into his side and he will once again be the man to watch. His hat trick at the weekend now sees him on 31 goals and 3 assists in 36 appearances this season.
The 22 year old scored his first goal for the club in the first leg and shackled Nunez expertly in the first half. His error early in the second half saw him have a bit of a wobble before recovering to see the game out strongly. He will be up against Nunez again and will want to make up for that error by keeping him all the way quiet.
One thought on “LIVERPOOL VS BENFICA: PREVIEW”