Reds make history, Konate strikes, Diaz dazzles and more

Talking pointsReds make history, Konate strikes, Diaz dazzles and more

Published 5th April 2022
By Joe Urquhart

Liverpool earned a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Benfica in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday night.

Highlights: Benfica 1-3 Liverpool

Ibrahima Konate and Sadio Mane put Jürgen Klopp’s side ahead at the interval before Darwin Nunez reduced the deficit in the second half.

Luis Diaz, though, restored the two-goal advantage late on in Lisbon to give the Reds an important advantage ahead of the return fixture at Anfield next week.

Here are five talking points on the action at Estadio da Luz…

Reds' record run aided by solid foundations

Victory in Portugal was the club’s fifth successive away win in this season’s Champions League.

It is only the second time Liverpool have achieved the feat in Europe, having last done so under former manager Joe Fagan between 1983 and 1984.

Liverpool also secured an eighth consecutive away win in all competitions for the first time in the club’s history.

Klopp’s side had notched another record in their own right by the half-time interval, having made it 19 games in a row across all competitions without conceding a first-half goal.

Nunez’s 49th-minute effort was only the fifth goal allowed by the Reds in their last 18 matches.

Liverpool also snapped a three-game losing run on the road in Benfica, with the most recent defeat coming 12 years ago in the 2009-10 campaign under Rafael Benitez.

Konate bags first Liverpool goal

Konate found the back of the net for the first time as a Liverpool player in Lisbon.

The centre-back broke free at a corner to send a towering header home from an out-swinging Andy Robertson dead-ball delivery, establishing a 1-0 lead.

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Konate is yet to taste defeat while on the pitch for the Reds, making it 20 games since his move from RB Leipzig.

Magic Mane as Diaz dazzles

Mane moved onto 15 goals for the season across all competitions.

The Senegalese forward made it six in his last three Portugal visits but perhaps more impressively moved onto 22 goals for the Reds in the Champions League.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s inch-perfect ball forward was nodded down by Diaz to allow Mane to surpass Steven Gerrard and sit second on the club’s all-time Champions League goalscorers list.

Mohamed Salah (33) is the only man who has bagged more in the competition for Liverpool.

Diaz also returned to face Benfica for the first time since joining the Reds from the Eagles’ arch-rivals FC Porto.

The Colombian’s late goal ensured the forward remained unbeaten against Benfica in eight matches.

It’s a squad game

In the build-up to the fixture, Klopp discussed the importance of his squad in the coming weeks.

Three substitutions on the hour mark at Estadio da Luz proved the boss right, with Benfica on top at that point in the contest.

The introduction of Jordan Henderson in midfield helped settle the game following Nunez's effort.

Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino brought fresh legs to the attack, while Alisson Becker again proved a vital cog in the defensive machine with a vital save from Everton.

It’s only half-time

Liverpool landed an important blow in their quest to reach the final four of the Champions League.

Klopp, though, was keen to stress that it is only half-time in the two-legged tie, with the reverse game at Anfield set for next week.

“We won it, two goals up, [it’s] half-time. Nothing more, or less,” Klopp reflected post-match.

“We have a better result, much better than before. We know much more about the opponent. They will go for it again [at Anfield].

"They won at Ajax. They grind all the results out in the group stage. So, we are aware of the quality.

"Now, we have a nice game in between, but we will be ready for Benfica.”

Published 5th April 2022