While Man City and Atletico Madrid played out a cagey match in their QF fixture, Liverpool cruised past Benfica and emerged 3-1 victors at the Estádio da Luz in Portugal.
With a key week in their season beginning, Jurgen Klopp chose to put out a strong line-up against Benfica on Tuesday, with Salah, Mane and new signing Luis Diaz spearheading the attack.
It took the visitors only 17 minutes to lead on the night as Ibrahima Konate nodded in a far-post header from an Andrew Robertson corner.
As Liverpool continued to dominate the ball, this time Trent Alexander-Arnold put Luis Diaz through on goal with a superb cross-field pass and the Colombian teed up Mane to make it 2-0 before halftime.
The halftime joy for the Liverpool supporters was quickly pegged back by young Darwin Nunez who capitalized on a Konate mistake inside the box to score past Alisson.
The Uruguayan’s goal did open the game up in the second half with either side seeing good goal scoring chances being squandered. But it proved to be Diaz’s night in Portugal as the ex-Porto man came back to haunt Benfica as he latched onto a through ball from Naby Keita to make it 3-1 to Liverpool in the 87th minute.
Benfica supporters would have taken a 2-1 deficit to Anfield but Diaz’s goal has given the team a tough task to overcome in the second leg.
This last heartbreak seemed to have affected the Portuguese supporters as they took out their frustrations on Liverpool’s left-back Andrew Robertson in the final minutes of the game.
As the Scotsman walked over to take a Liverpool corner in added time, he was quickly ambushed with all sorts of objects such as lighters and sticks by the home crowd behind the corner flag.
But instead of making being sour about it, Robertson chose to see the positive side and shared a brilliant anti-smoking message while he was at it.
“Yeah they (Benfica fans) weren’t best pleased were they. Quite a few lighters were thrown at me so maybe it will help them stop smoking so I’ll take the positives…They (the objects) were all so close to me but none of them hit me…I get that it’s so late in the game, they’re so frustrated but you should try not throwing stuff onto the pitch because it can hurt people,” said Robertson in his post-match interview.
Robertson looked to have enjoyed frustrating the opposition fans as he did manage to have the last laugh following Liverpool’s comfortable win having also assisted a goal on the night.
While he would be facing the Portuguese outfit one more time next week, Robertson and Liverpool would now be turning their attention to their blockbuster title-deciding clash with Man City at the weekend.