Two former European Cup winners meet in Lisbon as Benfica welcome Liverpool, who have a formidable recent record in Portugal, in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final.
• While Benfica are in the last eight for the first time in six seasons – and have gone no further since 1990, losing all four of their previous UEFA Champions League quarter-finals – Liverpool have reached this stage for the fourth time in five years, although their 2020/21 campaign ended at the same juncture.
• The English club won their first seven games in this season’s competition, a run ended by a defeat at home by Inter in the round of 16 second leg. Benfica, by contrast, have recorded only three victories in their eight outings since Matchday 1, although they edged out Ajax in the first knockout round.
• This is one of two quarter-finals between former European Cup winners, Chelsea’s tie against Real Madrid the other.
• The winners of this tie will play Villarreal or Bayern München in the semi-finals.
• The most recent of the sides’ last ten meetings came in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League quarter-finals, when Benfica came from behind to win 2-1 in the Lisbon first leg before Liverpool turned round the tie with a 4-1 victory at Anfield in which Fernando Torres scored twice. Óscar Cardozo was on target in both legs for the Portuguese side.
• Benfica ended Liverpool’s reign as UEFA Champions League holders in the 2005/06 round of 16. Luisão, now a club director, scored the only goal of the first leg in Lisbon six minutes from time before Simão (36) and Fabrizio Miccoli (89) secured a 2-0 win on Merseyside.
• The sides’ other three ties all came in the European Cup, and all in campaigns in which Liverpool went on to reach the final. In 1984/85 Ian Rush’s hat-trick in the second round first leg proved crucial as Liverpool won 3-1, progressing despite a 1-0 loss at Benfica; the Reds finished as runners-up to Juventus in that season’s competition.
• Rush had also scored in both legs of the 1983/84 quarter-final between the clubs, the English side winning 1-0 at home and 4-1 away, Ronnie Whelan scoring twice in Portugal, and going on to beat Roma in the final.
• Holders Liverpool beat Benfica in the 1977/78 quarter-finals en route to retaining the trophy, a 2-1 away win preceding a 4-1 home victory. That was their first tie against Portuguese opponents.
• Benfica’s European Cup quarter-final record is W8 L9:
2015/16 Bayern München L 2-3 (0-1 a, 2-2 h)
2011/12 Chelsea L 1-3 (0-1 h, 1-2 a)
2005/06 Barcelona L 0-2 (0-0 h, 0-2 a)
1994/95 AC Milan L 0-2 (0-2 a, 0-0 h)
1989/90 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk W 4-0 (1-0 h, 3-0 a)
1987/88 Anderlecht W 2-1 (2-0 h, 0-1 a)
1983/84 Liverpool L 1-5 (0-1 a, 1-4 h)
1977/78 Liverpool L 2-6 (1-2 h, 1-4 a)
1975/76 Bayern München L 1-5 (0-0 h, 1-5 a)
1971/72 Feyenoord W 5-2 (0-1 a, 5-1 h)
1968/69 Ajax L 0-3 replay (3-1 a, 1-3 h, 0-3 n)
1967/68 Vasas W 3-0 (0-0 a, 3-0 h)
1965/66 Manchester United L 3-8 (2-3 a, 1-5 h)
1964/65 Real Madrid W 6-3 (5-1 h, 1-2 a)
1962/63 Dukla Praha W 2-1 (2-1 h, 0-0 a)
1961/62 Nürnberg W 7-3 (1-3 a, 6-0 h)
1960/61 AGF W 7-2 (3-1 h, 4-1 a)
• Benfica are yet to win a match in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals (D3 L5).
• The Eagles have lost their last four European Cup quarter-final ties, and seven of the last nine.
• The Lisbon side won two, drew two and lost two of their Group E games this season, both victories coming at home – 3-0 against Barcelona on Matchday 2 and, decisively, 2-0 against Dynamo Kyiv on Matchday 6 – while they shipped nine goals in losing both games against Bayern (0-4 h, 2-5 a).
• In the round of 16, Benfica twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at home against Ajax – who had won all six of their previous games in this season’s UEFA Champions League – before Darwin Núñez headed the only goal of the second leg in Amsterdam to seal progress.
• Third in the Portuguese Liga in 2020/21, nine points adrift of champions Sporting CP, the most recent of Benfica’s 15 previous UEFA Champions League group stage campaigns came in 2019/20 – their tenth in succession.
• Two seasons ago Benfica bowed out after the group stage for the third year running, finishing third in their section behind Leipzig and Lyon with seven points, ahead of Zenit on head-to-head record. They went on to lose 5-4 on aggregate to Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.
• Benfica began their 2021/22 European campaign in the third qualifying round, where they won 2-0 both away and at home against Spartak Moskva. They then edged out PSV Eindhoven in the play-offs (2-1 h, 0-0 a) in a repeat of the 1988 European Cup final they had lost on penalties to the Dutch club.
• Benfica’s 2020/21 UEFA Champions League campaign lasted a single match, a 2-1 defeat at PAOK in the third qualifying round. They went on to finish second in their UEFA Europa League section behind Rangers before losing 4-3 on aggregate to Arsenal in the round of 32, a 1-1 draw in Rome preceding a 3-2 loss in Piraeus with both games played at neutral venues.
• The Portuguese side were unbeaten in nine European games in Lisbon (W7 D2), and had won four in a row, before losing to Bayern on Matchday 2; a 2-1 loss against Leipzig on Matchday 1 of the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League is their only other defeat in 18 European matches at their own stadium (W11 D5).
• The Lisbon giants have reached seven European Cup finals, winning the trophy in 1961 and 1962 but losing on their five subsequent appearances, most recently against AC Milan in 1990.
• Those meetings with Arsenal in the 2020/21 UEFA Europa League round of 32 were Benfica’s last games against an English club.
• At home against English visitors, Benfica’s record is W7 D5 L6 including the draw against Arsenal in Rome, but the last five matches in Lisbon have yielded one win, two draws and two defeats, the most recent game a 0-1 loss to Manchester United in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• The Portuguese club’s record in two-legged ties against English opposition is W5 L8, with victories in two of the last three.
• Benfica have won just 11 of their 38 matches against English clubs (D7 L20), losing European finals to Manchester United (1968 European Cup, 1-4 aet) and Chelsea (2013 UEFA Europa League, 1-2).
• Liverpool have won 11 of their previous 16 European Cup quarter-finals:
2020/21 Real Madrid L 1-3 (1-3 a, 0-0 h)
2018/19 Porto W 6-1 (2-0 h, 4-1 a)
2017/18 Manchester City W 5-1 (3-0 h, 2-1 a)
2008/09 Chelsea L 5-7 (1-3 h, 4-4 a)
2007/08 Arsenal W 5-3 (1-1 a, 4-2 h)
2006/07 PSV Eindhoven W 4-0 (3-0 a, 1-0 h)
2004/05 Juventus W 2-1 (2-1 h, 0-0 a)
2001/02 Bayer Leverkusen L 3-4 (1-0 h, 2-4 a)
1984/85 Austria Wien W 5-2 (1-1 a, 4-1 h)
1983/84 Benfica W 5-1 (1-0 h, 4-1 a)
1982/83 Widzew Łódź L 3-4 (0-2 a, 3-2 h)
1981/82 CSKA Sofia L 1-2 (1-0 h, 0-2 a)
1980/81 CSKA Sofia W 6-1 (5-1 h, 1-0 a)
1977/78 Benfica W 6-2 (2-1 a, 4-1 h)
1976/77 St-Étienne W 3-2 (0-1 a, 3-1 h)
1964/65 Köln W 2-2, Liverpool won on coin toss (0-0 a, 0-0 h, 2-2 n)
• The Reds are in the UEFA Champions League for the 14th time; this is the ninth season in which they have reached the quarter-finals.
• Liverpool enjoyed a faultless record in this season’s group stage having won 2-1 against AC Milan on Matchday 6 to conclude their perfect Group B campaign. Liverpool had opened with a 3-2 win at home to Milan before beating Porto (5-1 a, 2-0 h) and Atlético de Madrid (3-2 a, 2-0 h).
• The Merseyside club made it four away wins from four games with a 2-0 victory at Inter in the round of 16 first leg, going through despite a 1-0 loss at Anfield.
• Liverpool were one of three teams who won all six group games this season, along with Ajax (Group C) and Bayern (E), although they were the only one of the three who made it seven successive victories in the round of 16 first leg before their run was ended by Inter. Milan (1992/93), Paris Saint-Germain (1994/95), Spartak Moskva (1995/96), Barcelona (2002/03), Real Madrid (2011/12, 2014/15) and Bayern (2019/20) have all previously recorded six wins from six in a UEFA Champions League group stage; only Bayern went on to lift the trophy.
• This season was Liverpool’s 14th UEFA Champions League group appearance; they have only failed to progress to the last 16 or further three times.
• This is Liverpool’s fifth successive campaign in the UEFA Champions League proper, all under Jürgen Klopp; runners-up to Real Madrid in the 2017/18 final, they claimed their sixth European Cup at the expense of Tottenham with a 2-0 victory in the 2018/19 final.
• Liverpool’s last two UEFA Champions League campaigns have ended in defeat against clubs from Madrid. Dethroned by Atlético in the 2019/20 round of 16 (0-1 a, 2-3 h aet), they lost to Real Madrid in last season’s quarter-finals (1-3 a, 0-0 h).
• Klopp’s side had finished first in Group D on 13 points, ahead of Atalanta, Ajax and Midtjylland, before beating Leipzig 2-0 in both legs of their round of 16 tie with both games played in Budapest.
• Liverpool have won ten of their last 13 UEFA Champions League matches away from Anfield (D1 L2).
• Champions of England for the 19th time in 2019/20, their first league title since 1990, Liverpool finished third in the 2020/21 Premier League.
• This is Liverpool’s third game against Portuguese opponents this season. The English club won 5-1 at Porto on Matchday 2, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino both scoring twice and Sadio Mané once, before second-half goals from Thiago Alcántara and Salah secured a 2-0 Matchday 5 win at Anfield.
• The Reds have the record W5 D3 L4 in Portugal; they have won the last three away games against Liga clubs, all at Porto, scoring 14 goals and conceding only one.
• Liverpool have won their last four games against Portuguese opponents, scoring 13 goals and conceding two, and are unbeaten in seven matches (W5 D2) since a 1-0 loss at Braga in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League round of 16 (0-1 agg).
• Liverpool’s record in two-legged ties against Portuguese clubs is W7 L2. Their last knockout tie against Portuguese opponents was also their only meeting against a club from the country in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, a 6-1 aggregate win (2-0 h, 4-1 a) against Porto in their victorious 2018/19 campaign.
Links and trivia
• Have played in Portugal:
Diogo Jota (Paços de Ferreira 2013–16, Porto 2016/17 loan)
Luis Díaz (Porto 2019–22)
• Jota lost both games against Benfica with Paços de Ferreira – scoring in a 3-1 home Portuguese Liga loss on 20 February 2016 – and drew both with Porto. His goal earned Porto a 1-1 home draw against the Eagles on 6 November 2016.
• Díaz was unbeaten in his seven games for Porto against Benfica (W5 D2), his only goal coming in a 2-0 victory in the Portuguese Super Cup on 23 December 2020. The Colombian was sent off in the first half of Porto’s 2-1 Portuguese Cup final victory against their Lisbon rivals on 1 August the same year.
• Have played in England:
Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham 2012–20)
Nicolás Otamendi (Manchester City 2015–20)
João Mário (West Ham 2018 loan)
Valentino Lázaro (Newcastle 2020 loan)
Adel Taarabt (Tottenham 2007–09, Queens Park Rangers 2009–15, Fulham 2013/14 loan)
• Vertonghen played 90 minutes of Tottenham’s 2-0 defeat by Liverpool in the 2019 UEFA Champions League final in Madrid. His record against the Reds for Spurs was W2 D3 L7, both his goals coming in his debut campaign, a 3-2 Premier League loss at Anfield on 10 March 2013.
• Otamendi played all 180 minutes as Manchester City lost 3-0 away and 2-1 at home to Liverpool in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. His overall record against the Merseyside club with City was W3 D3 L5; he was in the team that beat Liverpool on penalties in both the 2016 English League Cup final (1-1 aet, 3-1 pens) and the 2019 FA Community Shield (1-1, 5-4 pens).
• International team-mates:
João Mário, Rafa Silva & Diogo Jota (Portugal)
Everton & Alisson Becker, Fabinho, Roberto Firmino (Brazil)
Odysseas Vlachodimos & Kostas Tsimikas (Greece)
Jan Vertonghen & Divock Origi (Belgium)
• Alejandro Grimaldo made his 50th appearance in UEFA club competition in the round of 16 second leg.
• Benfica have won four of their last six matches in all competitions (D1 L1) although they were beaten 3-2 at Braga on Friday, coming from two goals down to level only to concede again. That ended the Lisbon club’s nine-match unbeaten run in all competitions (W6 D3).
• Darwin Núñez, who scored his team’s first goal at Braga, has 21 in 23 Liga appearances this season and 17 in his last 15 league outings. He is Benfica’s top scorer with 27 goals in all competitions.
• João Mário, who like Núñez was a half-time replacement, was also on target at Braga, his third league goal of the season making this his most prolific campaign since 2016/17.
• Benfica had followed the victory at Ajax with a 2-1 home win against Estoril Praia in the Portuguese Liga on 20 March.
• Gonçalo Ramos found the net against Estoril and has seven goals in the Portuguese Liga this season and five in his last nine league appearances.
• Rafa Silva’s fine solo strike against Estoril was his eighth goal in the league this season, ending a run of 11 Liga matches without scoring.
• Julian Weigl made his first appearance for Germany since 2017 in a 2-0 friendly win against Israel on 26 March.
• Gonçalo Ramos scored in Portugal’s 1-1 draw against Iceland on 25 March in 2023 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying; four days later, Henrique Araújo was on target in a 4-0 win against Greece in the same competition.
• Benfica reached the Portuguese League Cup final by beating Boavista 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw on 25 January, but lost the final 2-1 against Lisbon rivals Sporting CP in Leiria four days later.
• Benfica bowed out of the Portuguese Cup with a 3-0 loss at Porto on 23 December, a match that proved to be Jorge Jesus’s last in charge. Nélson Veríssimo, the club’s B team coach, will take charge of the senior side until the end of the season.
• Haris Seferović came on as a substitute on Friday, his first appearance since 15 January due to a muscle injury.
• Lucas Veríssimo, who has been removed from Benfica’s UEFA Champions League squad, and Rodrigo Pinho are both expected to be sidelined for the rest of the season due to cruciate knee injuries suffered in the autumn.
• Sadio Mané made his 50th appearance in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final on Matchday 8, a mark Joël Matip will reach when he next features.
• The home defeat against Inter in the round of 16 second leg ended Liverpool’s 15-match unbeaten run in all competitions (W12 D3).
• The Merseyside club have won all four games since without conceding, triumphing 2-0 at Brighton and Arsenal and, on Saturday, at home to Watford in the Premier League.
• Diogo Jota has scored in Liverpool’s last three games including the opener against Watford at the weekend.
• Jürgen Klopp’s side have suffered only two defeats in their 30 Premier League games this season (W22 D6), winning their last ten league matches. Only Liverpool and Manchester City have won ten successive Premier League games five times.
• They were also 1-0 victors at Championship club Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup quarter-finals on 20 March and will play Manchester City in the last four at Wembley on 16 April.
• A 1-0 win against West Ham at Anfield on 5 March was Liverpool’s 600th Premier League victory.
• Liverpool have won their last seven away games in all competitions and have kept six successive clean sheets away from Anfield.
• The Merseyside side have managed 13 clean sheets in their last 18 games, and ten in the last 13.
• On 27 February Liverpool won the League Cup for the record ninth time, beating Chelsea 11-10 on penalties at Wembley after a goalless 120 minutes.
• The Reds had been level with Manchester City on eight League Cup wins.
• Aged 36 years 54 days, James Milner became the oldest player to represent Liverpool at Wembley in the final, beating Kenny Dalglish’s record (36 years 32 days). Harvey Elliott, aged 18 years 329 days, was the club’s youngest Wembley player and the first 18-year-old to appear for Liverpool in a major final.
• Mohamed Salah is the Premier League’s top scorer this season on 20 goals. Diogo Jota is second on 14 with Mané joint fourth on 12.*
• On 29 March Mané scored the winning penalty as Senegal defeated Egypt in a shoot-out to reach the FIFA World Cup finals; Salah missed the target with his spot kick for Egypt.
• Curtis Jones supplied England’s second goal in a 3-0 2023 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying win against Albania on 29 March.
• The following day Alisson and Fabinho both played 90 minutes as Brazil beat Bolivia 4-0 to set a new World Cup qualifying points record for South America; their tally of 45 is two more than Argentina managed in qualifying for the 2002 finals.
• Jota was on target in Portugal’s 3-1 play-off semi-final win against Turkey on 25 March and also started the 2-0 home victory against North Macedonia four days later that booked a World Cup finals place.
• Luis Díaz scored in Colombia’s 3-0 World Cup qualifying victory at home to Bolivia on 24 March.
• Also on 24 March, Takumi Minamino helped Japan qualify for the World Cup with a 2-0 victory away to Australia.
• Trent Alexander-Arnold has been sidelined since the 2-0 win at Arsenal on 16 March due to a hamstring injury, although he was an unused substitute on Saturday.
• Naby Keïta has been out since 20 March with a knee injury.
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Benfica vs Liverpool facts
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