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Benfica 1-3 Liverpool: Reds take big advantage to Anfield

Though the away goals rule no longer applies, Liverpool gained a big advantage in their Champions League quarter-final against Benfica, winning 3-1 in the first leg.

Benfica 1-3 Liverpool

Champions League Quarter-Final First Leg, Estadio da Luz
April 5, 2022

Goals

Konate 17′ (assist – Robertson)
Mane 34′ (assist – Diaz)
Nunez 49′
Diaz 87′ (assist – Keita)


As hundreds of Liverpool supporters waited to get into the Estadio da Luz after the game had already kicked off, a fierce home crowd welcomed the yellow-kitted Reds to Lisbon.

Having made six changes to his side, Jurgen Klopp will have been elated with their start, with Mohamed Salah denied at the last minute after a brilliant backheel from Sadio Mane dropping deep.

LISBON, PORTUGAL - Tuesday, April 5, 2022: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté celebrates after scoring the first goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg game between SL Benfica and Liverpool FC at the Estádio da Luz. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The returning Naby Keita blasted at the ‘keeper, but Ibrahima Konate made no mistake with his effort, towering over every other player to head home an Andy Robertson corner for his first-ever Liverpool goal.

Benfica were ridiculously open against a free-flowing Liverpool side, with Keita and Thiago given the freedom of the midfield as they produced excellent displays.

LISBON, PORTUGAL - Tuesday, April 5, 2022: Liverpool's Sadio Mané scores the second goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg game between SL Benfica and Liverpool FC at the Estádio da Luz. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

When the hosts did have the ball they were sloppy with it, and one case from Adel Taarabt led to a ruthless move from the Reds that saw Luis Diaz head down Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s long ball for Mane to touch in for 2-0.

Expert defending from Konate and a sumptuous pass from Alexander-Arnold then set Salah on for a one-on-one, but the Egyptian, struggling for his elite fluency, could only hit the goalkeeper.

HT: Benfica 0-2 Liverpool

LISBON, PORTUGAL - Tuesday, April 5, 2022: Benfica's Darwin Nun?ez scores his side's first goal past Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker after a mistake by Ibrahima Konaté to make the score 1-2 during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg game between SL Benfica and Liverpool FC at the Estádio da Luz. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The pendulum swung straight after half-time, and it was a mistake from Konate that handed Benfica the goal to close the gap, with Darwin Nunez capitalising with a simple finish for 2-1.

Klopp responded with a triple substitution, with Salah unsurprisingly one of those to go off after a frustrating night for the No. 11, as Jordan Henderson, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino all came on.

Those changes – and particularly the boundless Firmino – managed to settle the tempo down in Liverpool’s favour, though Benfica still threatened on the break.

LISBON, PORTUGAL - Tuesday, April 5, 2022: Liverpool's Luis Díaz runs past Benfica's goalkeeper Odisseas Vlachodimos to score the third goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg game between SL Benfica and Liverpool FC at the Estádio da Luz. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was two of those kept on who clinched the result, though, with Keita able to surge through midfield and play it through for Diaz to round Odysseas Vlachodimos and make it 3-1 on the night.

It was a more difficult night in Lisbon than perhaps expected, but Liverpool will take the boost of their resounding lead into the weekend, where a trip to Man City awaits.


TIA Man of the Match: Naby Keita

Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano (ESP)

Benfica: Vlachodimos; Gilberto, Otamendi, Vertonghen, Grimaldo; Weigl, Taarabt (Meite 70′); Rafa, Ramos (Mario 86′), Everton (Yaremchuk 82′); Nunez

Subs not used: Leite, Seferovic, Goncalves, Lazaro, Radonjic, Dias, Almeida, Bernardo, Morato

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold (Gomez 90′), Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Keita (Milner 90′), Thiago (Henderson 61′); Salah (Jota 61′), Diaz, Mane (Firmino 61′)

Subs not used: Kelleher, Matip, Tsimikas, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Elliott, Minamino

Next match: Man City (A) – Premier League – Sunday, April 10, 4.30pm (BST)

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