Champions League

Jurgen Klopp relieved to survive Benfica scare in Champions League quarter-final

Tom Gott
Benfica gave Liverpool a real test
Benfica gave Liverpool a real test / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages
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Jurgen Klopp has expressed his delight at seeing his much-rotated side survive a real scare from Benfica as the two sides drew 3-3 in Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg.

Klopp made seven changes to his side, who brought a 3-1 lead from the first leg, and had to battle to hold on to that. Ibrahima Konate's opener was soon followed by a Goncalo Ramos goal, before late strikes from Roman Yaremchuk and Darwin Nunez cancelled out a Roberto Firmino double in what was a truly enthralling affair.

The 6-4 aggregate scoreline was more than enough to book Liverpool's spot in the final four, and after the game, Klopp played down concerns over his team's unconvincing showing.

"The day we qualify for the Champions League semi-final and I'm not happy please come and knock me out," he told BT Sport.

"We made seven changes, the situation was the last line had never played together and it was about details, staying 100% concentrated.

"It was not exactly what we wanted but it is absolutely not important because if we played the best game of the season tonight it wouldn't have made it more likely to get to the final. We are through and that's all that matters and I'm really happy.

"The one thing we knew is it will be hard as the last line never played together. You lose the boys like Virgil [van Dijk] and these things are normal. This is not a problem. Benfica kept believing and kept going that's all. It was important we could make changes and still be successful. that's fine."

All that stands between Liverpool and a spot in the Champions League final are Villarreal, whom many would have seen as the underdogs before they knocked out the mighty Bayern Munich in their own quarter-final.

"If I could do an analysis of Villarreal right now that would be very strange," Klopp said when asked about his upcoming opponents. "I saw the results, the game was very impressive. I only picked up pieces but to beat Juventus and Bayern Munich they deserve to be in the Champions League semi-finals.

"Unai Emery is the king of the cups, it is unbelievable what he is doing. But give me a bit of time to prepare it properly."

Klopp's men could well meet rivals Manchester City in the final. Pep Guardiola's side have their own Spanish opposition to get through in the form of Real Madrid, who eliminated reigning champions Chelsea to get to the final four.


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