Klopp says Liverpool’s FA Cup semi-final has no bearing on Benfica lineup

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Aston Villa, April 10, 2021. (Photo: AFP)
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. (Photo: AFP)
LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom — Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has insisted a looming FA Cup semifinal against Manchester City will have no impact on his team selection for Wednesday’s Champions League tie at home to Benfica.اضافة اعلان

Last weekend the Reds, still in the hunt for an unprecedented quadruple of trophies in one season, drew 2–2 with City to remain just a point behind the Premier League leaders.

They will face City again in the last four of the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday but before then the six-time kings of Europe play Benfica in the second leg of a Champions League quarterfinal at Anfield.

Liverpool, who beat Chelsea in a penalty shootout to win the English League Cup final at Wembley in February, have a healthy 3–1 lead following the first leg in Portugal, which has led to speculation Klopp could rest key players with an eye to the FA Cup tie.

But the German boss, speaking at a pre-match press conference on Tuesday, insisted: “The next game has no influence on the line-up for tomorrow but the last game has.”

Klopp added: “There is nobody injured, as far as I know, but we have to be careful with who is fresh enough for this game and stuff like this.”

As for Liverpool’s ongoing bid for the quadruple, Klopp said: “We are part of four competitions, and thankfully we are good enough this year not to go out early.”

Liverpool raced into an early 2–0 lead in Lisbon last week before Darwin Nunez pulled a goal back for Benfica.

And it was only when Luis Diaz scored three minutes from time that Liverpool restored their two-goal lead.

“Knowing more about the way they played, they try to isolate Darwin and Ibou (Konate) one-on-one a little bit,” said Klopp.

“But they play football, and if you don’t defend (Julian) Weigl then you have a problem as well because he connects the people. They have speed with Rafa (da Silva), things like this.”

He added: “I don’t know (how they will play) but I know what I would do. I would go for it, full throttle. I would try to put us under pressure, score early, and if not try to score a bit later. That’s what we expect.”

“But now, bad news for Benfica, it’s Anfield: they don’t only play against us, they play against the whole crowd.”

Klopp also suggested television broadcasters were almost as much a threat to Liverpool as their opponents in a renewed attack on the scheduling of the Merseysiders’ matches.

If Liverpool defeat Benfica, they will face either Bayern Munich or Villarreal in the last four, with Klopp angry that after that potential midweek semifinal Liverpool would have to travel to Newcastle for a Saturday lunchtime kickoff.

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