Liverpool win on Benfica’s lawn and take big option for half

Surprising fall of Ajax Amsterdam in the previous round, Benfica received Liverpool in the quarterfinals of the first leg of the Champions League. The Lisboètes are betting on 4-2-3-1, with the experienced Nicolas Otamendi and Jan Vertonghen in particular in the central defence, Julian Weigl and Adel Taarabt in the midfield and the duo Darwin Nuñez-Rafa Silva up front. The Reds presented their traditional 4-3-3, Luis Diaz joined Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah at the front of the attack, while Thiago and Fabinho protected the Virgil van Dijk-Ibrahima Konaté hinge. Naby Keita had the first chance of the game, but couldn’t get his head in on a cross from Andy Robertson (4′). Odysseas Vlachodimos then brought the big game up close for Salah, perfectly orbited by a heel from Mané (9′). The Greek goalkeeper, well on his feet, made a double save for Keita and then Salah (12th). By pushing, the Scousers found the error. On a corner kicked by Robertson, Konaté rose higher than everyone else and opened the score with a header (0-1, 17th).

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Keita missed another golden opportunity on the penalty spot (20th) with a header. The SLB tried to react timidly against it. Everton, on the left wing, ran over and decided to strike without a corner rather than center, but couldn’t get the frame (22nd). Odysseas then showed himself imperially face to face with Diaz (23rd). The Lusitanians tried to wake up, especially with a dangerous corner from Everton (30th). Klopp and his band would worsen the score, however. On a long ball from Alexander-Arnold in the area, Diaz headed to Mané who only had to push the ball into the back of the net (0-2, 34th). From his left wing transplant Everton into the ashes and fired a curling shot from the right, caught quietly by Alisson (36th). Diaz reacted immediately, without finding the frame (38th). Vlachodimos then prevented Salah, perfectly launched by Alexander-Arnold, from scoring a third goal (44th). Rafa, he shot too much on an opening drawn Taarabt (45th).

the sting of Diaz

Returning from the dressing room, os Encarnados took advantage of an error to come back to score. On a cross from Rafa’s right, Konaté completely missed his intervention, Nuñez took the opportunity to check and fine-tune Alisson (1-2, 49th), restoring hope for an entire stadium. The Uruguayan, at the entrance on the surface, did not fit in his shot moments later (51st). The Celeste striker, generous in the effort, then completely missed his header on a measured cross from Rafa when he took the best of Alexander-Arnold (55th). Strengthened, the Portuguese continued to accelerate. Everton, perfectly served from the right by Gonçalo Ramos, crossed his shot into the area, but Alisson watched over the grain and lay down perfectly (60th). Sensing his men in trouble, Klopp launched Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Jordan Henderson shortly after the hour in place of Salah, Mane and Thiago. Nuñez, who launched deep, tried to hook Van Dijk into the Reds’ penalty area and collapsed completely. but the Spanish referee of the meeting did not flinch (66th).

The Benfiquist frenzy abated somewhat, while the English, who play a final for the Premier League title against Manchester City on Sunday, seemed content to manage their efforts. Diaz was nonetheless very close to a two-goal lead, only at the far post (81st). Roman Yaremchuk came off the bench in the last ten minutes to fire a shot. Alisson, full of nerves, narrowly managed his dribble on Rafa just before his surface (82nd). Success was on the British side tonight. And Diaz, launched deep by Keita, dodged Odysseas and pushed the ball into the back of the net (1-3, 87th). Cruel for the SLB, especially since the Colombian recently played in Porto… Odysseas made one last parade for Jota (90th +6). Final score (1-3). Liverpool are taking a very serious option for semi-final qualifiers before returning to Anfield in a week’s time. Benfica, voluntarily, will have believed in it for another half an hour in the second half. That won’t be enough…

Relive the film of the meeting thanks to our live commentary

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