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Benfica seek another Mersey scalp

Published: Friday 2 April 2010, 5.00CET
Liverpool FC welcome SL Benfica bidding to overturn a 2-1 deficit in their UEFA Europa League quarter-final, but Jorge Jesus' outfit will be confident following some recent fruitful visits to Merseyside.
Published: Friday 2 April 2010, 5.00CET

Benfica seek another Mersey scalp

Liverpool FC welcome SL Benfica bidding to overturn a 2-1 deficit in their UEFA Europa League quarter-final, but Jorge Jesus' outfit will be confident following some recent fruitful visits to Merseyside.

Liverpool FC will have to end a run of four straight defeats by SL Benfica if they are progress in the UEFA Europa League with the Portuguese side visiting Anfield holding a 2-1 advantage in the sides' quarter-final.

• Daniel Agger gave Liverpool a ninth-minute lead in Lisbon, but Rafael Benítez's side were reduced to ten men after half an hour when Ryan Babel was sent off. Benfica took advantage, Óscar Cardozo scoring twice from the penalty spot (59, 79) to give them a narrow advantage.

Previous meetings
• Liverpool and Benfica have met in four previous two-legged European ties, with the Reds winning all but the most recent one, in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League first knockout round when Ronald Koeman's Eagles beat Benítez's side 1-0 in Lisbon and 2-0 at Anfield.

• The teams for the meeting in Liverpool on 8 March 2006 were:
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Kewell (Cissé 63), Gerrard, Luis García, Alonso, Crouch, Morientes (Fowler 70), Traoré, Carragher, Warnock (Hamann 70).
Benfica: Moretto, Anderson, Luisão, Léo, Geovanni (Karagounis 60), Alcides, Fernandes, Beto, Simão, Nuno Gomes (Miccoli 77), Robert (Rocha 70).

• In terms of individual games, Liverpool have a slight edge with five wins to Benfica's four. However, Liverpool have lost all four of their most recent matches against Benfica.

• Ian Rush is Liverpool's top scorer in their games against Benfica, registering five times as the Reds eliminated the Eagles in the 1983/84 European Champion Clubs' Cup quarter-finals and the second round of the following season's competition.

• The sides met for the first time in the 1977/78 European Cup last eight, Liverpool winning 2-1 in Lisbon and 4-1 at home. Nené scored both of Benfica's goals while six different Reds players were on target: Jimmy Case, Emlyn Hughes, Ian Callaghan, Kenny Dalglish, Terry McDermott and Phil Neal.

Match background
• All in, Benfica's 24 games against English sides have yielded a record of W9 D2 L13 (W3 D0 L9 in England, including the final of the 1967/68 European Cup, which they lost 4-1 to Manchester United FC at Wembley).

• Including their previous encounters with Benfica, Liverpool have played 15 matches against Portuguese sides, with the record W7 D4 L4 (W5 D1 L1 at Anfield).

• Benfica will be only the second side to have faced both big Liverpool clubs in the space of a single European season, having already beaten Everton 5-0 at home and 2-0 away in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage.

• R. Standard de Liège played both Liverpool and Everton last season, losing 1-0 on aggregate to the Reds in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round before beating the Toffees 4-3 on aggregate in the UEFA Cup first round.

• Benfica are unbeaten in nine European games since losing 1-0 at AEK Athens FC in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage. They have won three of their last four continental away fixtures, drawing the other.

Team facts
• Benfica coach Jorge Jesus led SC Braga to a 3-0 success at home against Portsmouth FC in last season's UEFA Cup group stage. That, coupled with his side's results against Everton this season, means he has won all four of his games against English opposition, by an aggregate 12-1 scoreline.

• Benfica's 23 goals since the start of the group stage make them the highest-scoring side left in the competition, though Valencia CF are not far off the pace with 22.

• Benfica have scored 17 of their 23 UEFA Europa League goals in the second half.

• Goalkeeper Júlio César is the only Benfica player to have featured in all 990 minutes of the Lisbon side's UEFA Europa League campaign since the start of the group stage. Javi García, Angel Di María and Cardozo have also featured in all 11 games in that period.

• Cardozo is Benfica's top scorer in Europe this season with eight goals and is the most prolific marksman left in the competition. Eliminated Werder Bremen's Claudio Pizarro remains the highest scorer with nine goals.

• Liverpool defender Fábio Aurélio and Benfica midfielder Pablo Aimar played together at Valencia from 2001 to 2006, winning league titles in 2001/02 and 2003/04, as well as the 2003/04 UEFA Cup, under Benítez, who left the club in 2004 to take charge at Liverpool.

• Benfica's Javier Saviola and Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina were team-mates at FC Barcelona in the 2001/02 season.

• Benfica's César Peixoto rubbed shoulders with Liverpool midfielder Albert Riera while on loan at RCD Espanyol in 2006/07.

• No Liverpool player has scored more than twice since the start of the UEFA Champions League group stage, with Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Babel, David Ngog and Yossi Benayoun all going into the quarter-finals with two European goals for the season.

• Benfica and Liverpool boast a more extensive European pedigree than any of the other sides left in the competition, going into the first leg as veterans of 320 and 291 UEFA club competition games respectively.

• Liverpool, however, have the more impressive trophy haul: they have won the European Cup five times to Benfica's two, and have also lifted the UEFA Cup three times.

• Four of the sides in the quarter-finals competed in the UEFA Europa League group stage: Benfica, Fulham FC, Hamburger SV and Valencia. The other four transferred from the UEFA Champions League group stage: Club Atlético de Madrid, Liverpool, Standard and VfL Wolfsburg.

• By a quirk of the draw, all four quarter-final ties feature one side from the UEFA Champions League group stage and one from the UEFA Europa League.

• The winners face the victors of the contest between Valencia and Atlético Madrid in the semi-finals on 22 and 29 April, playing the second leg at home. The team that comes through that meeting will be the nominal home team in the final in Hamburg on 12 May.

Penalties
• Liverpool have won all three of their European penalty shoot-outs: 4-2 v AS Roma in the 1983/84 European Cup final, 3-2 v AC Milan in the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League final and 4-1 v Chelsea FC in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

• Benfica have taken part in two European penalty shoot-outs, losing 6-5 to PSV Eindhoven after a 0-0 draw in the 1987/88 European Cup final in Stuttgart. They then won 4-1 against PAOK FC at home after a 3-3 aggregate draw in the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup second round.

Last updated: 27/09/14 2.55CET

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