The game: 3-3
Difficult to crack the impression of constancy and serenity released by such a collective. Benfica again had the painful experience this Wednesday evening at Anfield, against a Liverpool bis team. Ambitious as in the first leg, the Portuguese come out of the competition with their heads held high after having bravely played their luck and recovered from a two-goal deficit. But they never really panicked the Reds who had already taken shelter (3-3). The 2019 European champions are back in the last four.
Liverpool reached the last four of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup/Champions League for the 12th time in their history. No other English club does better (tied with Manchester United). (Opt)
The end of the match will leave regrets in Benfica and a surely bitter taste in Jürgen Klopp. Comfortably installed in control of the game, the English paid for their relaxation with two gross alignment errors 40 meters from their goal. Launched behind the defense of the Reds, Roman Yaremchuk then Darwin Nunez were able to adjust Alisson to bring the Eagles up (72nd and 82nd). The pressure could have gone up a notch in stride, but Nunez stumbled on the Reds goalkeeper (83rd) and was flagged offside at the very end of the match (90+5).
Before this chaotic last quarter of an hour, Liverpool had been able to manage and even build on the advantage gained in Lisbon. The opener came from a copy-and-paste goal from Ibrahima Konaté on a corner kick from Konstantinos Tsimikas (21st). Benfica may have equalized quickly by Ramos (32nd), the Reds remained the most dangerous like these rescues from Odysseas (26th), Jan Vertonghen (30th) and Alejandro Grimaldo (38th). The second goal came after the break, when Roberto Firmino coolly punished Vertonghen’s failed clearance (55th). On a free kick from Tsimikas, the Brazilian folded the case by signing a double (65th).
The player: Firmino was full of confidence
In a chaotic season on an individual level, marked by injuries and a questioned status, Firmino has shown that his coach can count on him for the big deadlines that await the Reds. Only tenured for the second time this season in the Champions League, the Brazilian shone. If Vertonghen took away a goal and Grimaldo an assist in the first half, he put Liverpool in control with a fox goal after the break. Precious for conservation and for finding Diaz or Jota, it came out of its box to seal the result at the hour of play.
The fact: Klopp sure of his group
24 hours after the breathtaking scenarios of the first two quarter-finals, Jürgen Klopp could have been tempted to maintain his eleven type to avoid cold sweats despite the advantage acquired in Lisbon. But coming out of a tiring match against Manchester City (2-2, last Sunday), the German preferred to make seven changes from the first leg. Without Salah, Mané, Van Dijk, Fabinho, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson or Thiago at kick-off, his group gave him back this confidence, despite costly defensive mistakes at the end of the match. But the Reds’ substitutes had done the job earlier and proved that this team has a depth that could prove decisive to go all the way in this C1.