Liverpool booked a date with Spanish side Villareal after qualifying for the Uefa Champions League semi finals after a 3-3 draw with Benfica on a 6-4 aggregate on Wednesday, April 13th at Anfield.
A header from Ibrahima Konaté and a brace from Roberto Firmino extended the comfort of their 3-1 first leg lead.
Benfica fought back from 3-1 down on the night courtesy of two late goals that were disallowed for offside before being awarded by VAR.
Núñez had two other goals ruled out for offside. Their efforts were in vain. Liverpool march on to a 12th European Cup/Champions League semi-final, equalling Manchester United’s record for an English club, and remain confidently on course for a third Champions League final in five seasons under Gerrman tactician Jurgen Klopp.
On the two previous occasions Liverpool defeated Benfica in the quarter-finals – 1978 and 1984 – they went on to lift the trophy.
There was a minute’s silence before the game in memory of the 97 Liverpool fans unlawfully killed at Hillsborough 33 years ago this Friday.
- Liverpool have reached the semi-final of the European Cup/Champions League for a 12th time; no English club has reached the last four more times (level with Manchester United).
- Klopp has reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League for a fourth time, three of which have been with Liverpool (other one with Borussia Dortmund). Only Alex Ferguson (seven) has reached the competition’s final four more times with English clubs as a manager.
- Firmino became the fourth player to score 20 European Cup/Champions League goals for Liverpool, after Mo Salah (33), Sadio Mané (22) and Steven Gerrard (21). The Brazilian scored twice in a single match at Anfield for the Reds in any competition for the first time since March 2019 against Burnley.
- Núñez has scored six UEFA Champions League goals this season, the outright most ever by a Benfica player in a single campaign in the competition proper, surpassing Nuno Gomes with five in 1998-99.
- Aged 36 years and 99 days, Liverpool’s James Milner was the oldest English player to start a UEFA Champions League knockout stage match since David Beckham for PSG v Barcelona in the 2012-13 quarter-finals (37y 335d).
Champions League semi-final draw
- Man City vs Real Madrid
- Liverpool vs Villarreal
First legs to be played April 26/27; Second legs to be played May 3/4.
Final to be played in Paris on May 28.