Liverpool seals UCL quarterfinal spot

Liverpool remain in the hunt for a historic quadruple after a thrilling draw with Benfica secured a Champions League semi-final against Villarreal.

Having established a 3-1 lead in Lisbon, Liverpool extended their advantage with Ibrahima Konate’s powerful 21st-minute header from a Kostas Tsimikas corner.

Benfica equalised through Goncalo Ramos’ excellent turn and finish, before Roberto Firmino’s two second-half goals – a tap-in followed by a volley – in front of the Kop looked to have put the Reds in control.

But after Roman Yaremchuk broke through to beat Alisson and make it 3-2 on the night, Darwin Nunez scored a late equaliser.

Nunez was then denied by Alisson as Benfica finished strongly but Liverpool held out to advance 6-4 on aggregate.

They now host Villarreal – the club they beat in the semi-finals of the Europa League in 2016 – on 27 April before travelling to Spain for the second leg on 4 May.

Villarreal secured their last-four spot by overcoming Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said: “I’m really happy because being in a semi-final is so special.

“We expect a couple of really difficult games. It will be a tough cookie but we are a tough cookie, so who cares?

“Villarreal deserved to get through. I know Bayern Munich don’t want to hear that.”

The semi-final brings Liverpool face-to-face with Villarreal boss Unai Emery, who has won the Europa League four times.

Three of those triumphs came at Sevilla, including victory over Klopp’s Liverpool in the 2016 final, and the other with his current club.

“The manager is the king of the cup competitions, so they are experienced and a team full of desire and well organised with top-class players,” Klopp added.

UCL: Bayern Munich knocked out by Villarreal

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Herman Nnyanzi 'The Analyst' is a Ugandan multimedia sports journalist who started his career in 2017. He has a genuine strong love for sports and expertise, especially football. Contact me on +256704472629 or +256786403603

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