Liverpool

Benfica's favour that helped Liverpool win 2019 Champions League

Sean Walsh
Liverpool won the Champions League three seasons ago
Liverpool won the Champions League three seasons ago / MB Media/GettyImages
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Benfica allowed their B team to play a friendly in the guise of Tottenham to help Liverpool prepare for the 2019 Champions League final.

Jurgen Klopp's Reds triumphed 2-0 in the showpiece event in Madrid thanks to goals at either end of the game from Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi.

However, Liverpool needed to keep their players fresh and sharp for the fixture as there was a three-week gap between their last Premier League game of the season and the final - something they didn't account for when they met Real Madrid in Kyiv in 2018.

Goal report that Benfica agreed to let Klopp's men take on their B team at a training camp in Marbella, and the youngsters were given a set of tactical instructions to replicate how Liverpool thought Spurs would set up. Players with particular profiles were tasked with modelling their game on a Tottenham counterpart.

Technical director Pedro Marques added that while the Reds had passed on details of how they wanted Benfica to press and attack, Liverpool also asked for them to play freely in order to make it feel like a normal match.

"It was a great opportunity, of course," Marques said. "The boys wanted to give a good account of themselves, but they were also very aware that if they accidentally gave someone a knock and put them out of the final, it would not be good."

The friendly ended 2-0 with Sadio Mane grabbing an early goal in a match that would ironically mirror that of the final the following week.

Liverpool take on Benfica's senior side in the quarter-finals of this season's Champions League, with the first leg coming at the Estadio da Luz on Tuesday.

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