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Liverpool will instill fear and optimism in their opponents in equal measure

SL Benfica v Liverpool FC Quarter Final Leg One - UEFA Champions League
SL Benfica v Liverpool FC Quarter Final Leg One - UEFA Champions League
Onuoha Ifeanyi

Liverpool made one error and wobbled after building a dominating lead at Benfica. Jurgen Klopp's players, on the other hand, are the most tenacious.

Adel Taarabt's decision-making and execution under duress soon after the half-hour mark had a comfortable regularity.

By the time Taarabt got a pressure-relieving pass on the edge of the center circle, the visitors had already gained a lead they didn't appear likely to surrender.

Liverpool have won eight straight away games across all competitions for the first time in the club's history 😤 https://t.co/hHtvwnyQpg

Taarabt decided there was no better time to break into some intricate one-touch play. He cushioned the first-time ball directly between his two closest teammates and into Ibrahima Konate's path.

He then held his begged hands outstretched, as if to ask why no one could teleport 10 yards in time to retain possession.

After only six touches and eight seconds, Liverpool increased their lead. It came as a great shock to practically nobody. Liverpool retaliated viciously and ludicrously for their blunder.

Liverpool continue their winning streak

SL Benfica v Liverpool FC Quarter Final Leg One - UEFA Champions League
SL Benfica v Liverpool FC Quarter Final Leg One - UEFA Champions League

Konate, who scored the game's first goal with a straightforward header, handed the ball on to Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The right-back snatched an incisive Luis Diaz run with a 40-yard throw that even suited the Colombian's long stride. He then allowed him to tip back across goal for Sadio Mane.

The fight had come to an end. That feeling may have infected Liverpool's unconscious collective mind.

Jurgen Klopp frequently praises his team's supreme mindset, but there is no guarantee of immunity from complacency at any level. Nor can collective confidence problems be avoided indefinitely.

Watford found flaws in their imperious armor, and Benfica followed suit to untangle this Champions League tie.

It's one thing to strike a couple of sucker punches on Liverpool. It's quite another to land a knockout blow while avoiding a retaliatory flurry. A growing number of clubs are discovering this in increasingly painful ways.

As Arsenal and Nottingham Forest can attest, they have developed an especially lethal predilection for scoring immediately after conceding a golden opportunity.

After Konate's error allowed Darwin Nunez to cut the lead in half, Benfica's chances were more of a general dominance. Four of the hosts' nine shots came in the first ten minutes after a goal that energized the Estadio da Luz. Alisson destroyed every tabloid journalist's hopes by saving from Everton Soares.

With a minor but palpable sense of danger lingering, the Brazilian did some awkward, heart-stopping footwork on the fringe of his own area on two consecutive occasions.

On the hour, Klopp made a triple replacement in the hopes of calming down the Reds. He brought in lieutenant Jordan Henderson and the dynamic duo of Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota. It helped ease their worries while also disrupting Benfica's rhythm.

In a game of 26 shots, the absence of one between the 61st and 81st minutes was noticeable and not by chance. Liverpool were in desperate need of a respite.

Then it was time for their final effort. Attempts by Alexander-Arnold, Firmino, and Jota were all fiercely blocked, while Diaz squandered one opportunity.

With the next, he'd have none of it, rounding Odysseas Vlachodimos for a clinching third goal to cap Naby Keita's run and through ball.

It was a victory propelled forward by Red Bull. Two of the goal scorers, Konate and Mane, were helped in their development by Leipzig and Salzburg, respectively.

Konate was to blame for Benfica's goal and much of the danger that followed. But he played excellent defense in the first half and absorbed the opener nicely.

Ibrahima Konaté's first goal for Liverpool comes in the Champions League 💫 https://t.co/nqFnPzWKJt

It's astonishing that the Merseyside club have only made two first-team acquisitions this season, and both Kanote and Diaz have fit in so well.

The team's long-term viability is also under question. That is what distinguishes them from the majority of their mates.

Others are capable of playing at a similar level to Liverpool, but no team can punish an innocuous mistake as quickly as Mane's goal. Nor can they be as consistently dangerous.

Klopp's team, on the other hand, can weather a storm, emerge undamaged, and still have time to have the final say. When the rest of the team is on the verge of collapsing, they manage to keep going.

It's a great party trick, especially when the only way to make history is to clear these last hurdles, no matter how convincingly.


Edited by Akshay Saraswat

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