Benfica have an almighty task at hand should they get past Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-finals, although they are doing all they can to gain the upper hand.
Video not available
The Reds meet Portugal at Anfield in the quarter-finals of the tournament as Jurgen Klopp’s side want to continue their pursuit of a historic treble. But Benfica won’t be the pusher.
Nelson Verissimo’s team beat Ajax, managed by Manchester United managed goal Erik ten Hag, 3-2 in the final half and could take confidence from that result. However, their nine-match unbeaten streak ended last week with a league defeat to Braga.
But despite being underrated on Tuesday, Benfica will be well prepared for the draw thanks to Wolves, according to the Portuguese news agency A Bola. They report that analysts from both sides have contacted each other, and will then analyze Liverpool’s play in detail.
Information is exchanged about the team’s position in attack and defence, how the full-backs play, and how to adjust tactics when Thiago Alcantara plays. Wolves boss Bruno Lage arrived at Molineux Stadium from Benfica and worked with their current interim boss Verissimo – who was on the technical team at the time.
The preparation from Benfica put them in good shape for the draw and there was a sense of optimism going into the game, which affected their players. Their midfielder Adel Taarabt, formerly of Fulham and QPR, said recently: “Liverpool is a team that has played four or five years together so I think they are motivated and understand each other very well.
“When I played with Liverpool they were an inconsistent team, already a great team but with players coming in and out. This one is stronger.
“They are very experienced players. Also, they have played many games in England so they know the Liverpool team very well. It’s very important but I think tomorrow we will try to do our best and I hope our quality will be very important. The most important thing for us is to be good tactically and as a team. “
But it’s not just Benfica who are trying to get the upper hand over their opponents, as Klopp has admitted he tried to win the ‘inner lane’ in third-place Primeira Liga through Luis Diaz. The Colombian winger will know all about The Eagles when he arrives at Anfield from rivals Porto in the January transfer window.
Who will win on Tuesday night? Let us know in the comments below!
Unfortunately for the German, he couldn’t get any more information about the opponent. When asked about whether he has spoken to Diaz about Benfica, Klopp replied with a smile: “He’s been trying for ten minutes but I don’t understand a word.”
Liverpool go into the game after their usual 2-0 win Watford At the weekend, with Diogo Jota’s opening goal before Fabinho doubled the Reds’ lead from the penalty spot. Klopp will be hoping for a win in a similar fashion midweek.