Liverpool 3-3 Benfica: Player ratings as Klopp rotates and Firmino finds finishing touch

Don Kopleone rates the Reds as they made history by securing their place in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

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What a crazy night of football.

Jürgen Klopp made seven changes for Liverpool’s quarter-final second-leg against Benfica, a tie sandwiched between two crucial clashes against Manchester City.

The German’s rotation risk paid off – the contest looked over when Roberto Firmino turned home his second, Liverpool’s third, to make it 6-2 on aggregate an hour into the game.

Benfica continued to attack Liverpool’s high line and had the ball in the net four times in total, with VAR awarding two goals that had initially been ruled offside. That made for a nervy last few minutes.

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But ultimately, the hosts found their way over the line, and Liverpool will play Villarreal in the Champions League semi-finals.

It also marks the first time in the club’s history that the Reds have reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup in the same season. Just another record to fall under Klopp…

Your ratings, after a six-goal thriller:

Starting XI

Ali 7 – Conceded three but could not be faulted for any of the goals as Benfica’s forwards were extremely clinical with their chances. Stopped a late Darwin Núñez volley at his near post.

JoGo 6.5 – Impressive until lazily playing Roman Yaremchuk onside for the Benfica second.

Joel 6.5 – Defended well but you feel the Cameroonian has far less authority when commanding the defence than Virgil van Dijk does.

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Ibou 7.5 – Some superb early passing was followed up by the opening goal of the night. It really was a tremendous header from the Frenchman.

Shimmy Cash 8.5 – His delivery from the left caused endless trouble and the Greek won back possession with fervency and regularity. Man of the match after an outstanding showing.

Nabs 6 – Decision making was occasionally lacking, and tried a stupid 40-yard volley before going very close when slightly nearer to goal. Out of position in the build-up for Benfica’s first.

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Hendo 6 – Too willing to hit the long ball at times, though admittedly Liverpool had less control on the game after he was subsituted.

Milly 5.5 – Struggled to play five-yard passes at times.

Luis Suárez Díaz 7.5 – The Colombian’s speed and energy is virtually impossible to defend against.

Bobby 7.5 – Pressed as well as ever and might have shot before his first-half pass to Díaz was cut out. Turned home two crosses after the break, the second of which was a very impressive finish.

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Di-no-goal 7.5 – Was terrier-like hunting loose balls down. Fired one across the box for Firmino’s goal.

Subs

Mo 7 – Was very lively, and a dragged shot was bundled home but Mané was offside. Still no goal, but looked sharper.

ThiaGOAT 8 – An absolutely sumptuous cameo from a man who has really hit his stride in a Liverpool shirt.

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Fabs 6.5 – Some first-touch passing started a few counter-attacks, but the Brazilian might have opted to settle things down more.

Sadio 6 – Lost the ball a fair amount.

Divvy N/A – Didn’t need to come up clutch this time. Will he play a part in the semi-final?


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Don Kopleone

Scouse, not Sicilian.

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