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Liverpool out to equal Man United record as Benfica move clear of Chelsea

Liverpool have never faced another side more times in Europe than tonight’s opponents, with Benfica breaking a record previously shared with Chelsea.

This is the ninth time the Reds have reached the quarter-finals and they hope to reach the last four for the sixth time in the Champions League era.

They could contest a 12th European Cup semi-final which would equal Man United’s English record in the competition.

In all European competitions, this is their 27th quarter-final, and they seek their 20th semi-final appearance.

 

Old friends

LISBON, PORTUGAL - APRIL 05: Darwin Nunez of S.L. Benfica celebrates after scoring their side's first goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One match between SL Benfica and Liverpool FC at Estadio da Luz on April 05, 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues - UEFA)

Tonight’s decider will see the teams meet for the 12th time, with Benfica becoming the club the Reds have faced more times than any other in European competition.

Chelsea, in second, have faced Liverpool 11 times.

So far, Liverpool have won seven to Benfica’s four. They have never played out a draw.

The Reds won all of the first five meetings but have only won two of the last six, with four losses.

 

Import tax

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, April 8, 2010: Liverpool's Lucas Leiva celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Sport Lisboa e Benfica; a finish team-mate Fernando Torres would have been pround of, during the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg match at Anfield. (Photo by: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In England, Benfica have won four and lost 12 of 18 visits in European competition.

In the European Cup, those victories came at Arsenal in 1991/92 (3-1) and at Liverpool (2-0) in 2005/06, while in the Europa League have won at Everton (2-0) in 2009/10 and at Tottenham (3-1) in 2013/14.

Benfica are without a win in their last nine Champions League matches against English clubs (two draws, seven defeats), since the 2-0 victory at Anfield in March 2006.

 

Ibou’s milestone goal

LISBON, PORTUGAL - APRIL 05: Ibrahima Konate of Liverpool celebrates after scoring their side's first goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One match between SL Benfica and Liverpool FC at Estadio da Luz on April 05, 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues - UEFA)

Ibrahima Konate scored his first goal for the club in the first leg at Estadio da Luz.

The goal came in his 20th Liverpool appearance and was Liverpool’s 50th European goal against teams from Portugal.

It was also Liverpool’s 350th goal scored as the away team under Jurgen Klopp.

 

Ever-presents

LISBON, PORTUGAL - Tuesday, April 5, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the pre-match warm-up before 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)

Alisson and Mo Salah have started all nine Champions League games this season, while Fabinho and Sadio Mane and have also appeared in every game.

Mane and Diogo Jota are both one yellow card away from missing the first leg of the semi-final should Liverpool progress.

This will be Benfica’s 14th game in Europe this season having come into the competition at the third qualifying stage.

Only three players have played in all 13 games so far: goalkeeper Odisseas Vlachodimos, left-back Alex Grimaldo and winger Rafa Silva.

 

Tonight’s referee

Serdar Gozubuyuk (Netherlands) has never refereed Liverpool or Benfica before in European competition.

In three Champions League matches this season he has issued 13 yellow cards and one red.

 

This season’s scorers

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 3, 2021: Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the first goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 4 game between Liverpool FC and Club Atlético de Madrid at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool: Salah 28, Jota 21, Mane 16, Firmino 9, Minamino 9, Fabinho 7, Origi 5, Henderson 3, Keita 3, Oxlade-Chamberlain 3, Van Dijk 3, Diaz 3, Alexander-Arnold 2, Thiago 2, Elliott 1, Gordon 1, Jones 1, Konate 1, Matip 1, Robertson 1, own goals 1

Benfica: Nunez 31, Rafa 12, Yaremchuk 8, Everton 7, Ramos 7, Grimaldo 6, Seferovic 5, Gilberto 4, Mario 4, own goals 4, Verissimo 3, Weigl 3, Pizzi 2, Waldschmidt 2, Almeida 1, Araujo 1, Morato 1, Radonjic 1, Pinho 1, Taarabt 1


* Stats courtesy of LFC statistician Ged Rea (@ged0407).

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