Football News

Liverpool XI vs Benfica: Team news and predicted line-ups as Klopp talks up unlikely “game-changer” knocking on the door

By Ben Green

Liverpool predicted XI to face Benfica: Team news as Klopp talks up unlikely "game-changer" knocking on the door

Published: 11:18, 3 April 2022 | Updated: 13:32, 1 May 2022

Benfica and Liverpool contest in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie on Tuesday at 8pm (UK time).

The Reds face a season-defining clash in the Premier League against title rivals Manchester City at the weekend, but before that showdown, the Estadio da Luz braces itself for the visit of the Merseyside giants. Jurgen Klopp’s men have been formidable in Europe so far, perfecting Group B before eliminating Italian champions Inter Milan in the previous round.

Benfica meanwhile are headed up by interim boss Nelson Verissimo, and may feel they were somewhat fortunate to come through against Ajax in the previous round, registering just the single shot on target in the second leg, and winning 1-0. But when you have a talent like Darwin Nunez, sometimes all you need is just one sniff at goal. Liverpool, therefore, should be wary of the Uruguayan.

Liverpool team news vs Benfica: TAA expected to start

  • Ins: Trent Alexander-Arnold
  • Outs: N/A
  • Doubts: Naby Keita

Trent Alexander-Arnold looked set to face a lengthy spell on the sidelines after pulling out of the England squad with a hamstring injury, sustained in the 2-0 win over Arsenal, but the attacking No. 2 returned to light training last week and even made the bench against Watford at the weekend, with the expectation being that he will now supplant Joe Gomez in Lisbon.

On the topic of Alexander-Arnold’s stand-in right-back, Gomez, Klopp recently lavished praise on the versatile defender following his side’s win over Watford, describing him as one of his “game-changers” from the bench.

He told reporters of Gomez’s performance after Liverpool beat Watford 2-0: “Not only this today, but this as well when we had now really from the bench a lot of game-changers in the games. Even when we rotated and the boys started, they never disappointed and Joey was the opposite of disappointing today. “It was pretty clear Joey could, unfortunately, train with us the full week because he was not on international duty, but then we already knew it would be tight for Trent.

“At the beginning of the week we didn’t even know there was a chance, but obviously there was a chance, but because we saw Joey the whole week in training it was clear he would start there.

“He did really well and he could have set up a second goal in the second half, the cross was an incredible one as well. Joe is an outstanding football player and he will play a lot of games during his career, 100 per cent, he will play here a lot of games definitely.

“This season was tricky so far for him, but who knows how these things can change. He is obviously ready to use the opportunity when he gets it.”

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Predicted Liverpool XI vs Benfica:

  • Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago; Jota, Mane, Salah. (4-3-3)

Benfica team news vs Liverpool: Seferovic back in the fold

  • Ins: Haris Seferovic
  • Outs: Rodrigo Pinho and Lucas Verissimo
  • Doubts: Adel Taarabt

Haris Seferovic’s return has proven timely for Benfica. He has been struggling with a leg injury for much of 2022, but was able to return to the bench in Friday night’s 3-2 loss to Braga, and he enjoyed a 25-minute cameo to build up his match fitness ahead of this tie. Rodrigo Pinho and Lucas Verissimo meanwhile remain out of action, and indefinitely, while Adel Taarabt is a slight doubt after missing the Braga trip.

Predicted Benfica XI vs Liverpool: 

  • Vlachodimos; Gilberto, Otamendi, Vertonghen, Grimaldo; Mario, Weigl; Everton, Silva, Nunez, Yaremchuk. (4-2-3-1)

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