Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Benfica mistakes prove costly in Liverpool loss

Benfica Blog
Benfica went into their Champions League quarter-final encounter saying all the right things but once the game kicked off, Benfica looked afraid to get any attack going in the first half, a mistake that proved costly in their 3-1 defeat at the hands of Liverpool and now face the impossible task of traveling to Anfield next week and hoping for a positive result in the second leg encounter.

The Estadio da Luz was rocking as the game kicked off but Benfica got their first warning just nine minutes into the game as Salah's chance on goal was shot straight at Benfica keeper Vlachodimos. The game would remain scoreless for just eight more minutes as Liverpool would convert a corner when center back Konate who was left unmarked would smash a header into the Benfica net.

Benfica would get a break at the 23 minute mark but Everton's run on goal should have saw him do better as his shot would go wide into the netting from in close range. Liverpool almost doubled their lead just one minute later but a Luis Diaz attempt was turned aside by Vlachodimos once more as Liverpool's confidence grew.

Liverpool would then make the score 2-0 after a Taarabt pass attempt was intercepted in Benfica's half and a beautiful cross by Alexander-Arnold would see Luis Diaz head pass the ball to an open Sadio Mane who would tap the ball into a wide open goal. Luis Diaz would then come oh so close to scoring but his low shot would go wide of the bottom left corner. Vlachodimos would need to make another stop just before the half, this time to Mo Salah to keep the game within reach.

Benfica were lucky to go into the half down just two as the Lisbon side failed to get anything going and who's passing was piss poor all half.

The second half would see Benfica come out of their 4-5-1 formation and into an attacking 4-3-3, this change seemed to spark the squad and it took just four minutes for Benfica to cut the lead in half after Darwin Nunez would convert a Rafa Silva low cross past Liverpool keeper Allison. Nunez would then get a chance to equalize at the 55 minute mark but his header would sail over the bar.

Benfica would then get their best chance of the game to bring the game level at the 60 minute mark when Everton would have his low shot from just outside the box stopped by Liverpool keeper Allison but some may say he should have passed it to Rafa who would have gotten in on the Liverpool shot stopper alone.

Liverpool would then bring on three substitutes and this seemed to take the air out of the Benfica attack who had been excellent in the first twenty minutes of the second half. Darwin Nunez would get one more chance at the 66 minute mark when he stayed onside and broke on the Liverpool goal but he went down in the box when defender Van Dijk got a hand on him, there was no shot attempt and VAR ruled it a non penalty. 

Benfica would not see another clear chance the rest of the way and an unlucky deflection from a Keita pass off defender Otamendi, would see Luis Diaz dance around keeper Vlachodimos to give Liverpool their two goal lead back just three minutes before the 90 minute mark and that was the game. 

This game was a tale of two halves for Benfica, a scared first half performance that turned into a dominant second half display for the first half of it but in the end Benfica manager Verissimo took too long to adjust his tactics and his substitutions added nothing to keep the clubs momentum going. The good news is that his time at the club should be over soon and that Darwin Nunez looks to have cemented his €80M price tag which should help the club upgrade it's midfield which continues to be the clubs achilles heel.

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