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Salah’s struggle & ‘sharing the intensity’ – 4 things from Klopp’s post-Benfica press conference

Jurgen Klopp knows his side could have made their night a lot more comfortable but he was more than content with Liverpool’s advantage over Benfica at the halfway point of the tie.

Here are four key points the boss made after Liverpool’s 3-1 win on Tuesday evening:

 

‘Now they have to come to Anfield’…

LISBON, PORTUGAL - Tuesday, April 5, 2022: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (L) challenges Benfica's Rafa Silva 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)

While Liverpool initially made the match look straightforward, they were given a reminder not to underestimate their opponent in the second leg.

Klopp conceded his side ought to have hit the back of the net more times than they did as he praised Benfica, and goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos in particular.

“I think everyone in the room agrees we could have scored more goals, maybe should have – but a big compliment to Benfica.

“Their best player was their goalkeeper, probably, that says a lot.

“It’s half-time, two goals up. We were two goals up today at half-time and knew it was not over and it is the same information we have now.

“Now they have to come to Anfield and we have to use that.”

 

Fabinho is A-OK

LISBON, PORTUGAL - Tuesday, April 5, 2022: Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' 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)

Fabinho sustained a nasty-looking head injury late in the game, with Otamendi making an impact with the back of his head.

He required some treatment and it did create a ripple of concern but Klopp confirmed that “he should be completely fine.”

Adding, “He had a cut in the back of his head and obviously he has no hair to hold the blood back, that’s why they needed a bit of time.”

That’s the news we wanted to hear!

 

A toll on Salah…

LISBON, PORTUGAL - Tuesday, April 5, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah shakes hands with manager Jürgen Klopp as he is substituted 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)

With recent heartbreak over Egypt’s fortunes, ongoing contract talk and eight games without a goal in open play, there is a lot on Salah’s plate.

Klopp acknowledged as much after the No. 11 struggled throughout his 61-minute outing, but he just needs “time to settle.”

“Each player in that situation wants to score, and obviously with all the stories around, it’s clear that Mo wants to score as well, especially in this moment,” Klopp said.

“But it’s all fine. It’s a tough period, both boys came back from Africa, it’s really not easy, massive pressure on both of their shoulders.

“Both had to sort it for their countries – the managers have their part in that as well, to put it on them, I think – and that now needs a bit of time to settle. That’s all.”

He looks like he could do with a break, but when Liverpool can offer him one is another matter entirely.

 

Thank goodness for 5 subs

LISBON, PORTUGAL - Tuesday, April 5, 2022: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson celebrates after the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg game between SL Benfica and Liverpool FC at the Estádio da Luz. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The intensity of the fixtures will not relent any time soon and Klopp knows the use of five substitutions will continue to be particularly helpful.

“Hopefully, at one point this discussion will stop about changing five times – it’s a necessity,” he said.

“It’s April, we’ve had about 49 club games plus the games the boys played for their countries.

“The boys have to dig deep and fight with all they have, but the more chances you have to share this intensity, the better it is for the players and the game.”

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