There was plenty of entertainment at Anfield as the sides shared six goals and Liverpool assured progress to the semi-finals.
Liverpool 3-3 Benfica
Liverpool progress 6-4 on aggregate
Champions League Semi-Final Second Leg, Anfield
April 13, 2022
Goals: Konate 21′, Firmino 55′ 65′; Ramos 32′, Yaremchuk 73′, Nunez 81′
Alison – 6 (out of 10)
The goals were the only shots he faced. The first was well-placed into the corner by Goncalo Ramos so he couldn’t do much about it.
Otherwise, it was more of the same. There were a couple of stray longer passes, but his distribution is generally confident and reliable.
Decent save from Nunez to keep it at 3-3.
Joe Gomez – 7
Hints of his Alexander-Arnold impression when he crossed for Jota to head in before the referee’s whistle went for a foul by the Portuguese.
Sent a shot with power straight at Benfica keeper Odisseas Vlachodimos.
Another good display standing in for Trent, but blotted by playing them onside for the second goal.
Ibrahima Konate – 7
Rose above everyone at a corner to nod Tsimikas’s corner just inside the post for his second goal against Benfica across the two ties. Not much power on the header but the placement left Vlachodimos with no chance of getting to it.
Pro-active defending throughout, but plays Nunez onside for the third goal.
Joel Matip – 6
Can the team concede three goals and each of the defenders still play well? Matip didn’t seem to do too much wrong, but two of the goals were the result of an offside trap not as perfect as it usually is.
The team no doubt miss Van Dijk in this area, who is the natural leader at the back, and if there’s a criticism of Matip or any of the other defenders, it’s that they don’t seem to be able to take this role on in his absence.
Though comparing any of them with the best defender in the world is maybe a bit unfair.
Kostas Tsimikas – 8 – Man of the Match
Hung a corner up in a perfect area for Konate’s cushioned header to open the scoring.
One of the biggest threats in the Liverpool squad from dead balls, showing this again with his cross from a free-kick to set up Firmino’s second.
Would be a starter for most other teams in Europe on this form.
Jordan Henderson – 6
Kept things ticking over and played a couple of notable passes in the first half.
The midfield was fairly quiet and functional before the second-half subs, providing a platform for the rest of the team, and Henderson epitomised this.
James Milner – 6
Unlucky for the Benfica goal as his intervention ends up rebounding off the opponent and putting Goncalo Ramos through on goal.
A decent outing on what was a rare start, and meant other players could get some rest ahead of City on Saturday.
Naby Keita – 7
Had a couple of goes from a distance in the first half, and seems to have the go-ahead to do so.
There was applause from the manager as his second flew just wide, but the least said about the first effort the better.
Played the full 90 minutes and was always a willing runner in defense and attack.
Diogo Jota – 6
Is becoming known for contributing little more than goals — not a bad thing — but here he was asked to contribute a bit more in general play from the left.
There were a couple of early forays into the area early on and a headed goal not given for a foul on the defender as the ball came in.
Though he didn’t affect the game as much in terms of goal contributions, he was generally neater and tidier than he has been of late.
This was useful at times, but maybe the player who just scores goals is better?
Roberto Firmino – 8
Back in the starting lineup after being named on the bench for the City game and the first leg against Benfica.
Made the most of it, scoring two well-taken goals at the far post, the first from a Jota ball in and the second from a Tsimikas free-kick.
Was presented with a great chance prior to his goals after Milner cleared the ball and Vlachodimos was caught in no man’s land but didn’t take the option of chipping the keeper and his pass to Diaz was under-hit.
Luis Diaz – 7
A constant threat, from winning a foul early on to testing Vlachodimos with a well-hit shot after a feint to sit a defender on the turf.
Started the game on the right-wing and showed he’s as useful there as he is on the left, which isn’t always the case with Liverpool’s wingers.
Mohamed Salah (on for Jota, 57′) – 6
His first job after coming on was to sprint back and cover in the right-back position, dealing with Nunez’s break.
Had a chance to play Mane in but under-hit his pass. Doesn’t look himself.
Fabinho (on for Henderson, 58′) – 6
Needed to regain some confidence after a rare off-day against City, not sure this really happened, with two goals conceded after he came on when the game was too open.
Thiago (on for Milner, 58′) – 6
To give the punters their money’s worth, Thiago should play at least some part in every game, and Klopp duly obliged here.
Sadio Mane (on for Diaz, 66′) – 6
Tried to play Salah in on a couple of occasions and almost was played in himself.
Divock Origi (on for Firmino, 90’+1′) – N/A
Subs not used: Caoimhin Kelleher, Virgil van Dijk, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Curtis Jones, Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harvey Elliott.
Jurgen Klopp – 8
The manager was able to rotate his lineup, demonstrating the strength in depth that is allowing Liverpool to challenge in three remaining competitions, having won one already.
There was a feel-good factor to the game at one point in the second half until Benfica scored two goals within a ten minute period.
It’s not bad to be able to bring on the subs he did, but they probably had an eye on Saturday, as will Klopp now, too.
It didn’t really matter how the Reds progressed, doing so with being able to rest so many players is key.