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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

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Liverpool will take a two-goal lead back to Anfield as they beat Benfica 3-1

A hectic but mainly impressive display from Liverpool all boot books their place in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Goals from Ibrahim Konate, Sadio Mane and Luis Diaz secured the victory for the six-time European champions.

The first half was an electric display from Jurgen Klopp’s side as they should have went into the break about four or five up.

There was a coupe of chances before the first goal as Mo Salah had a toe poked effort saved after a delicate backheel from Mane whilst Naby Keita had a powerful shot parried away by Odisseas Vlachodimos.

However it didn’t taken too long for the goalkeeper to be beaten and it was a bullet header from Konate that opened the deadlock.

It was a fabulous out swinging corner from Andy Robertson and Konate met it ever so sweetly to score his first Liverpool goal in the 17th minute.

After that the chances kept on coming as Keita played a delicious through ball to slide in Diaz but his dinked effort didn’t fool Vlachodimos who stood tall.

With ten minutes to go in the first half Liverpool doubled their advantage thanks to Mane who was playing centrally.

It all came through an immaculate ball by Trent Alexander-Arnold who found Diaz that accurately he was able to head it across goal first time to enable Mane to tap in.

There should have been more goals after that as yet again another sublime pass from Alexander-Arnold set Salah through but yet again he failed to finish as his attempt was tame.

A different side came out in the second half though as Benfica were much more on the front foot and got a goal back out of nowhere through David Nunez.

Rafa Silva’s cross on the right hand side somehow found its way through to Nunez after a miss kick from Konate and he buried the chance without any hesitation.

The Reds lost all control of the game after that point and on the hour mark Everton came close to equalising however another big Alisson Becker save rescued Liverpool.

Luis Diaz back in Portugal finished the game off and eased any nerves for Klopp as he rounded the goalkeeper for an open goal.

https://twitter.com/TheAnfieldWrap/status/1511448806067421185

Now it is the big one on Sunday in the league for Liverpool as they travel to the Etihad.

Player ratings

Alisson Becker: 7

Massive save to deny Everton scoring the equaliser and effectively winning Liverpool the game.

Trent Alexander-Arnold: 8

Passing in the first half was an absolute joke. Robbed of an assist but his pre-assist for the second goal was a pleasure to watch.

Ibrahim Konate: 7

Went from the hero to the villain due to a lack of concentration. A bullet header tp open the scoring for Liverpool but a poot attempted clearance allowed Benfica an avenue back into the game. Did have the better of Nunez apart from that mistake.

Virgil Van Dijk: 6

Far from his best performance in a Liverpool shirt. Passing was off and was hesitant at times nearly causing a mix-up with Alisson. Won all of his ground duels though and four out of his five aerial duels.

Andy Robertson: 7

Immense delivery from the corner for the opening goal. An attacking threat throughout but when Benfica were pushing he left a lot of space which could have been costly on a couple of occasions.

Fabinho: 7

A rock in the six as always. A concern at the end though due to a nasty collision with Nicolas Otamendi.

Naby Keita: 9

One of his best performances in a Liverpool shirt. Could have scored the opener in the first half and also got an assist if Diaz took his time. However he did get his assist in the second half with a ball through to Diaz who this time did compose himself to slot the ball home. An attacking threat throughout but also dominated the midfield when needed.

Thiago: 5

When Liverpool conceded he lost his calmness as they struggled to get a grip on the game. NO surprise to see him brought off for the captain.

Mohamed Salah: 4

A poor performance. Missed two sitters for his standards and his overall play was not on point.

Sadio Mane: 6.5

Touch was a bit off at times but was another good performance in the false nine. A simple enough goal for him to keep his impressive record up in the competition.

Luis Diaz: 8

Took him two minutes to do a no look pass and was a menace for his old rivals from that moment on. A fantastic header to get an assist for the second goal and learnt his lesson from the first half as he was composed and took the ball round the goalkeeper for his goal instead of trying to chip him.

Substitutions:

Jordan Henderson (Thiago 61): 5

Should have got an assist if Jota was more clinical. Controlled the tempo when he came on.

Roberto Firmino (Sadio Mane 61): 4

Struggled to make it stick upfront.

Diogo Jota (Mohamed Salah 61): 3

Should have finished off the tie when he was played through in the last minutes of additional time.

Joe Gomez (Trent Alexander-Arnold 89): n/a

James Milner (Naby Keita 89): n/a

READ MORE: Liverpool win the Women’s Championship with two games to spare

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