Liverpool vs Benfica player ratings as Jurgen Klopp’s side reach the Champions League semi-finals



Liverpool drew with Benfica in the second leg of their quarter-final at Anfield but advanced to the Champions League semi-finals 6-4 on aggregate.

Roberto Firmino’s double followed Ibrahima Konaté’s opener as Jurgen Klopp’s side set up a semi-final clash with Villarreal, the club they beat in the semi-finals of the Europa League in 2016.

Jurgen Klopp made seven changes to the side that started the first leg in Lisbon, with the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane starting on the bench, as Liverpool head to Wembley on Saturday for the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City.

It was Benfica’s first visit to Anfield in 12 years and goals from Gonçalo Ramos, Roman Yaremchuk and Darwin Núñez helped them impress but were not enough to send the Portuguese side through.

Here are the player ratings from Anfield.

Liverpool

Alison, 6. Had very little to do over the course of 90 minutes but couldn’t get near Gonçalo Ramos’ thunderous strike. He showed a safe pair of hands when called upon to deny Núñez with 11 minutes left on the clock.

Joe Gomez, 6. Looked calm on the ball and showed a clear pair of heels in the early stages. He stung the palms of Vlachodimos in first half added time, while still searching for his first Liverpool goal from him. He kept Yaremchuk onside for Benfica’s second goal.

Ibrahima Konate, 7. Opened the scoring, just as he did in the Estádia da Luz last week, with a textbook header, towering over three Benfica defenders. He showed his pace and strength throughout the 90 minutes.

Joel Matip, 6. The only back-four survivor from Sunday’s draw with Manchester City. A calming presence and brought his usual quietly commanding aura to Liverpool’s defence.

Konstantinos Tsimikas, 9. Never seems to put a foot wrong when picked. Looked lively down the left with crosses, and a constant threat for the home side. His outswinging corner from him set up Konaté for the Liverpool opener and his whipped-in free kick put the ball on the plate for Firmino to tap home Liverpool’s third.

Naby Keita, 6. Blazed one over with 35 minutes gone when he should have played the ball wide. He fizzed one just wide from 2 yards on the stroke of half time. Nice touches and busy throughout.

James Milner, 6. Lost his footing a few times in the early periods and was unfortunate for the ball to be deflected off him into Gonçalo Ramos’ path for Benfica’s goal. The 36-year-old was relieved of his night’s work on the hour mark by Thiago.

Jordan Henderson, 6. His usual busy self in the Liverpool engine room, keeping the tempo high. Replaced by Fabinho with 30 minutes to go.

Diogo Jota, 6. A few tidy flicks in the first half and set up Firmino for Liverpool’s second of the night. Made way for Salah on the hour mark with Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final on Klopp’s mind.

Roberto Firmino, 8. Got on the end of Jota’s cross after a series of mistakes from Vlachodimos and Vertonghen, extending Liverpool’s aggregate lead to three. A smart volley from Tsimikas’ free kick earned him his second goal of the night.

Roberto Firmino scored twice for Liverpool

(Getty Images)

Luis Diaz, 7 Forced a smart save from Vlachodimos in the first half. Full of energy and commitment throughout, before making way for Sadio Mane with 25 minutes remaining.

Subs: Salah (6), Thiago (7), Fabinho (6), Mane (6), Origi (N/A)

benfica

Odysseas Vlachodimos, 6. The Greek goalkeeper came rushing out and was brave to prevent Jota in the first half, but found himself in no-man’s land when rushing out to Firmino and needed Grimaldo to save his blushes. He held Gomez’s powerful half-volley on the stroke of half time.

Gilbert, 5. Had a tough night with the bombardment of runs from Tsimikas, offered near nothing going forward.

Nicholas Otamendi, 7. Benfica’s captain was commanding in defence, showing the same brave characteristics Manchester City fans know well form his time at the Eithad.

Jan Vertonghen, 6. The referee took the lenient view and decided against booking the Belgian for a late challenge in the first half. The former Spurs defender got his body in the way to prevent Firmino heading in from six yards. Made a very panicked clearance in the build-up to Liverpool’s second.

Alex Grimaldo, 6. Took the ball off Díaz’s toe to prevent a certain goal just before half time and played in Yaremchuk for Benfica’s second goal of the night.

Adel Taarabt, 6. The former Tottenham and QPR man looked the bright spark in Benfica’s midfield, always looking to make things happen. Replaced with 25 minutes to go.

Julian Weigl, 6. The former Borussia Dortmund midfielder had a very tidy first half, keeping Benfica ticking along. His influence diminished in the second half as Benfica started to pull.

Diogo Goncalves, 5. The only Benfica change from the first leg, offered very little and was substituted at half time.

Gonçalo Ramos, 7. Had to wait for VAR confirmation but smashed home Benfica’s equalizer on the half-hour mark and gave the Portuguese side a life line. He struggled to make much of an impact after his goal and was substituted with 15 minutes left on the clock for Paulo Bernardo.

Everton Soares, 5. Came close with a shot from distance with 12 minutes gone that had Alisson flinging himself across his goal, his only noticeable involvement before making away in stoppage time.

Darwin Nunez, 8. Showed his pace when he breezed past Matip with 10 minutes gone. He had the ball in the back of the net after 23 minutes and was correctly ruled offside. He finally got his goal with 11 minutes to go with a smart finish, making it 3-3 on the night. He nearly got his second soon after but Alisson got down well to keep it out. He put the ball in the net again in stoppage time but again was correctly ruled out.

Subs: Roman Yaremchuk (7), João Mário (5), Paulo Bernardo (6), André Almeida (N/A), Bastião Dias (N/A)


www.independent.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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