Liverpool – Benfica: Liverpool Draw Despite Dominance (3-3)
Liverpool were the better team in most aspects here, as Benfica’s tactical approach was fairly unsuitable on both sides of the ball. However, the away side were clinical in front of goal and Liverpool never really kicked into top gear in the game, which meant that Benfica were able to score three times at Anfield, although Liverpool were always in control of the tie.
Tactical analysis and match report by Josh Manley.
A 3-1 victory in Portugal in the first leg of this tie had clearly given Jürgen Klopp the belief that Liverpool were not in much danger for the second leg, as he named a starting lineup with key names rested in an attempt to keep his players fresh for other competitions. Liverpool started with a back four of Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konaté, Joël Matip and Kostas Tsimikas. In midfield there was the trio of James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Naby Keïta, while Diogo Jota, Firmino and Luis Díaz played up front in their 4-3-3 system.
Benfica meanwhile arrived in a 4-4-2 shape to try and chase this game. Nicolás Otamendi and Jan Vertonghen were the center-backs, flanked by Gilberto and Álex Grimaldo at fullback. Everton and Diogo Gonçalves were the wingers, with Julian Weigl partnered by Adel Taarabt in central midfield. Up front was the duo of Gonçalo Ramos who played slightly deeper than star striker Darwin Núñez.
Liverpool take control
Benfica were the team that needed to assert themselves given the scoreline coming into this match. However, they struggled in the first thirty . . .