Match Preview - Benfica vs Liverpool - Key Battle, Team News, Prediction

Match Preview - Benfica vs Liverpool - Key Battle, Team News, Prediction

Tonight, Liverpool will face Benfica at the Estadio da Luz in the Champions League quarter-finals (first leg).

The Portuguese side don't enter the match in the greatest of touch.

Last Friday, Benfica lost 3-2 loss to Braga in the Primeira Liga. However, they are still having a reasonable season in their homeland. Benfica sit in third-place on the table.

In terms of the Champions League, the Primeira Liga team defeated Ajax 3-2 on aggregate in the last-16 to progress to the quarter-finals.

Liverpool on the other hand are humming at the moment. They defeated Watford 2-0 at Anfield in the Premier League last week.

The Reds have only lost one game in all competitions since the turn of the year. In regards to the Champions League, Liverpool defeated Inter Milan 2-1 on aggregate in the last-16 to progress to the quarter-finals.

Key Battle:

For most Champions League sides, they are happy to still be in the tie after the first leg. For Liverpool, they are ultimately looking to end the tie after 90 minutes.

The Reds possess so much attacking talent. Jurgen Klopp's team scored 17 goals in six group stage matches this season. As the German pointed out during his pre-game press conference, Benfica are a "football playing-side."

But, we can see the Primeira Liga club taking a slightly more cautious approach tonight because of the threat Liverpool possess in attack. Benfica won't want to be out of the tie after the first leg.

Benfica boss Nelson Verissimo has hinted that his side will have to defend very well to stop Liverpool's attackers, which does suggest he fears that particular aspect of their game.

As quoted by wtopnews, he said the following during his pre-match press conference: “We have to recognize that Liverpool is a team with great collective and individual competence, with a great coach, and that will force us to be at a very high level in both games.

"It’s going to be a tricky tie."

It will be interesting to see who starts in attack for Liverpool. Sadio Mane and Luis Diaz were named on the bench against Watford last weekend, so they could potentially lead the club's attack tonight.

Team News:

Benfica forward Haris Seferovic returned from injury as a substitute against Braga last week. The 30-year-old had been out of action with a leg injury since the beginning of January.

In team news for Liverpool, the club's official website has confirmed that Klopp has a full squad to pick from for tonight's match. However, reserve goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher has not been spotted in Portugal.

You can view our predicted Liverpool XI for the game here.

Klopp's View:

Klopp has identified that Benfica like to play a certain way. However, he is aware that they could change their style as a result of playing Liverpool.

"It's a football-playing side, they have odd positions, high full-backs, stuff like this as well," Klopp said during his pre-game press conference, as quoted by Liverpool's official website.

"We have high full-backs as well in moments but it just shows they are ready to take a risk, (it) means when they are in possession they open up the formation.

"There's a lot of space to defend, so we have to make sure that we can win balls so we could use that as well. We expect that they do that, because that's what they did so far in pretty much all the games.

"But, maybe against us they play completely different. We have to adapt to that. It's a mix of these technical players, of speed, and good organisation, I have to say, and that's what makes them dangerous."

Prediction:

We do expect Liverpool to win the first leg. Benfica have shown that they are more than capable this season. But, the reality is, the Reds are one of the best teams in the world.

Also, with Klopp having a full squad to pick from, it only gets harder for the Portuguese side.

Benfica 0 Liverpool 2

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