Benfica 1 – 3 Liverpool – The Player Ratings
Alisson Becker – 7.5
A relative spectator in the first half, with only a couple of minor chances created. Was a lot busier after the break, as the home sides ramped up their efforts. Could do nothing for the goal conceded, and was assured as Liverpool weathered the storm.
Trent Alexander-Arnold 7.5
Looked confident from the off, with a willingness to show strength at both ends of the field. 34 minutes brought a spectacular raking cross field ball, that found Luis Diaz, who assisted Mane for a brilliant goal. He looked keen to impose, and will be vital on Sunday.
Subbed 88 mins
Andy Robertson – 7.5
Was a little sloppy with some early possession, and Nunez was able to skip past in the opening stages. The 16th minute then saw a really fine corner nodded in by Konate. He drove forward at will from then on, as the reds started to dominate the first half. Was caught too high for Benfica’s opening goal, and had to cover more defensive ground in a period were the home sides tails rose. A good overall game.
Virgil Van Dijk – 8.0
Was always in command, even with the impressive Darwin Nunez loitering in the first half. Dealt with the resurgence of Benfica, and was able to keep his defence alert of they conceded.
Ibrahima Konate – 7.5
Looked to show his strength straight away, and powered him a fierce header on 16 minutes. A nice dual with Darwin Nunez showed the best of both at times, but the huge French defender remained colossal throughout the first half. An error for Benfica’s goal allowed Nunez to score, which marred his performance till that point. Regained his composure, and rallied to bring his level back up.
Fabinho – 7.5
Looked to cut lanes, and was a good shield through Benfica’s opening periods of possession. Was a lovely conduit for Thiago, with their rhythm building through the first half. The came opened up for a spell, and a scary collision at the death was hopefully not an issue.
Naby Keita – 7.5
Gently played his way into the game, and found two good headed chances wasted, especially from Mane’s clipped cross. A brilliant through ball for Diaz nearly rounded off a great move. Was a good part of Liverpool’s three midfielders, as the reds looked to take the game away from the Portuguese side. Was part of a troubled period, but stayed controlled even more so in moving to the left. A good game, and nice drive and assist for the Diaz goal.
Subbed 88 mins
Thiago Alcantara – 7.5
Tried to dictate play from the off, and had a longe range shot fly over. Began to really control the game after the first goal. Was clearly having his minutes managed, and will be vital once more on Sunday.
Subbed 60 mins
Mohamed Salah – 6.0
A couple of half chances came his way in the opening ten minutes, and his willingness to impact the game was clear. Should have scored on 44 minutes, after some delightful work by Trent. Struggled to impose his game, and needs to find some form.
Subbed 60 mins
Sadio Mane – 6.5
Some heavy touches summed up his early contributions, but his goal showed great awareness. Not his best game, but an important goal.
Subbed 60 mins
Luis Diaz – 8.5
Looked to run and commit his opponents early on, and started to surge across the attacking line. Nearly beat the keeper with a deft chip, after some lovely play by Keita midway through the first half. Assisted Mane on 34 minutes in a tell taken move. Rounded off a really good and vibrant performance with a great goal to round the keeper on 87 minutes.
Roberto Firmino – 6.0 (on 60)
Some sloppy play, but worked hard to press those around him.
Diogo Jota – 6.5 (on 60)
Looked eager to work and create. Good running and urgency.
Jordan Henderson – 6.5 (on 60)
Tried to rally after a period of Benfica pressure.
Joe Gomez – N/A (on 88)
A little more defensive cover after the third reds goal.
James Milner – N/A (on 64)
Came on and kicked someone.
Jurgen Klopp – 8.5
Went super strong, with a clear intent the make the return leg a formality. The midfield selection was scintillating on the eye, with a level of control that Benfica simply couldn’t live with in the first half. The attacking threat is no longer hinged upon the talents of the Egyptian King, with Luis Diaz again showing his phenomenal threat.
The opening period of the second half saw Liverpool step off, and Benfica ramp up. The subs worked well to stifle the momentum, and allowed good management of minutes for some important players. Another good game for the boss, when results matter most.