Liverpool booked their place in the UEFA Champions League semi-final with an enthralling 3-3 draw with Benfica on Wednesday, securing a 6-4 win on aggregate.
Jurgen Klopp has made seven changes to his squad, putting on the bench black strikers Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Thiago, Andy Robertson, and Fabinho all benched ahead of last weekend’s game against Manchester City.
Liverpool did their best to control the goal early, but Benfica’s threat on the counter was clear. A run from the dangerous Darwin Nunez caused problems early on, before Everton’s shot from a distance not too far from Alisson’s top corner.
Both Darwin Nunez and Everton threatened to open the scoring early, but it was one of the Reds’ changes, Ibrahima Konate, who scored. The defender rose to the top of the corner to do what he did last week and put Liverpool ahead 20 minutes later.
Nunez had the ball behind the net almost immediately with a fine chip over Alisson, but the VAR clearly ruled that the goal was offside.
Liverpool pressure has continued as the half continues. Diaz scored the best for Odysseas Vlachodimos before Jan Vertonghen’s last block blocked Roberto Firmino from point-blank.
The block proved to be crucial as Benfica dropped to the other side and struck a few seconds later. Gonçalo Ramos famously surpassed Alisson and survived a long VAR test to tie things up after 32 minutes.
Alex Grimaldo had to be careful to save Diaz’s goal with a very good free-kick before Naby Keita gave the final highlights in the first half as he fired from the pitch.
An error catalog from Benfica’s backline gave Firmino a goal 10 minutes after the break. Vlachodimos squandered a common save and bad permission from Jan Vertonghen sent the ball to Jota, whose cross was thrown home with joy.
Just an hour or so later, Liverpool fired heavy shots as Salah, Fabinho and Thiago hit the road and rallied to cause Benfica’s defense problems almost immediately.
The third went to Firmino for 65 minutes. Another shocking Benfica defender in Kostas Tsimikas’ free-kick gave the Brazilian another easy point from close range.
Liverpool seemed to have full control of the game after that goal, but, as the game progressed, Benfica released another with Roman Yaremchuk, who needed another VAR check to secure his good strike over the counter.
Eight minutes before it was over, Nunez survived another VAR check to tie things up and found a good save for Alisson a few minutes later with a dangerous volley in the distance.
Benfica continued to push for what would have been an amazing victory on their own, but Liverpool managed to slow down the game.
However, we still had time for two more VAR checks. Sadio Mane and Nunez both had the ball behind the net at the end of the net, but the busy assistant did not need long to clear it.