Liverpool, Benfica play out a thrilling draw at Anfield

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Liverpool, Benfica play out a thrilling draw at Anfield

Liverpool qualified for the semi-final of the Champions League after securing a thrilling draw against Benfica in the second leg at Anfield.

Ibrahima Konaté and Roberto Firmino’s brace helped the Merseyside side club draw 3-3 in the second-leg at home to ensure a 6-4 aggregate win.

With a 3-1 lead from the first leg in Lisbon, Jurgen Klopp had the luxury of making seven changes to the team which drew with Manchester City at the weekend.

Benfica showed they had confidence to go toe-to-toe with the Premier League club as Everton went close with a curling shot to remind of Liverpool of the danger that still existed.

Liverpool, however, where the ones who took the lead Ibrahima Konate in the 21st minute to settle any nerves for a makeshift lineup.

Konate, just like in the first leg, rose well to meet Tsimikas’s corner and give Liverpool a three-goal cushion.

Benfica did not bow down and responded positively though with Darwin Nunez having a delicate chip over Alisson Becker ruled out for offside.

The Portuguese side pulled level through Goncalo Ramos, who beat Alisson to give the visitors some hope.

Firmino, thorugh, had other plans as the Brazilian scored twice after the break as Liverpool looked to make sure of a place in the semi-finals for the third time in five seasons.

His first came in the 55th minute after Benfica keeper Odysseas Vlachodimos spilled the ball out, his defenders could not clear their lines and Diogo Jota’s slightly mishit cross was turned in by the Brazilian at the back post.

Firmino’s second goal came ten minutes later when he volleyed Tsimikas’ floated free kick past Vlachodimos.

But Benfica stuck to their task well and pulled two goals back in the latter stages to return a degree of tension to Anfield. Substitute Roman Yaremchuk made it 3-2, the Ukrainian forward latching on to a through ball from Alejandro Grimaldo and rounding Alisson before sliding his finish into the empty net.

The goal was initially flagged for offside but allowed after a video review.

It was a similar story for their equalizer on the night with Nunez’s effort also ruled out, after Benfica sprung Liverpool’s offside trap, before the intervention from VAR.

The impressive Nunez had an effort disallowed in stoppage time but this time VAR backed the on-field call and Liverpool could evade what might have been a scary final few minutes.

Liverpool will face Villarreal in the semi-finals after the La Liga side outlasted the mighty Bayern Munich.

Before that they will turn their attention to an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City on Saturday.

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