Three things we learned from Liverpool's 3-3 draw with Benfica
 (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Roberto Firmino scored twice in the second half to ensure it will be Liverpool who lock horns with La Liga side Villarreal for a place in next month's Champions League final, as they drew 3-3 with Benfica (6-4).

Ibrahima Konate followed up his goal in Lisbon last week with a similar effort as he opened the scoring when he connected cleanly with Kostas Tsimikas' corner. 

Benfica restored parity on the night through Goncalo Ramos after his effort was judged to be onside after VAR was called into action. 

Firmino fired two quick-fire goals any poacher would be proud of after the interval as the Reds raced into a 6-2 aggregate lead. 

Roman Yaremchuk pulled back when he rounded Alisson neatly to reduce the deficit on the night to a single goal, before prodigy Darwin Nunez proved why there are a whole host of top European clubs clamouring for his signature this summer as he pulled another back for the reigning Liga Nos champions.

Here are Vavel's key takeaways from the tie...

Still life left in Firmino...

When the stakes are at their highest, and the lights are shining the brightest, that's when Firmino tends to perform at his best. His 10th and 11th strikes of the season ensured Liverpool made a safe progression through to the final four of the competition, despite drawing on the night. 

It's the Brazilian's best goal return for the Reds since the title-winning 2019/20 season when he managed 12 strikes in all competitions. 

Having endured a difficult 18 months on Merseyside due to the arrival of Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz, the 30-year-old has slipped down the pecking order and is no longer the certified started he once was.

But on Wednesday - just like he has in recent weeks - Firmino flourished in a slightly deeper role that certainly complimented his game as well as Diaz and Jota, who lined up either side of him.

He completed 39 of his 48 attempted passes as he looked to isolate Jota and Diaz up against Grimaldo and Junior on the Benfica flanks. Both goals were certainly well-taken efforts, which showed what he can still bring to this Liverpool side. 

And with Jota reportedly facing a race against time to be fit for Saturday's semi-final against Manchester City in the FA Cup, it would be no surprise to see the Brazilian handed a start.

 

Diaz triumphs against familiar opposition...

Not many players are able to settle into a side as demanding as Klopp's Liverpool as quickly as January signing Luis Diaz has done. The Reds' shrewd and swift swoop to bring him to the Premier League in January was once again highlighted as the pivotal decision in their season as he toyed with old foes Benfica on Wednesday night. 

Having struck late in Lisbon last week to hand Liverpool the ultimate get out of jail card after an underwhelming second-half performance at the Stade de Luiz, Diaz continued where he left off as every touch the Colombian took was met by boos and jeers from the cohort of Benfica fans in the corner of Anfield.

The 24-year-old demonstrated an unknown quality to his game as he spent large periods of the game operating off the right-hand side of a forward three. This will no doubt give his manager plenty of food for thought over the coming weeks and months as he weighs up how to get the best of the riches currently on offer to him at Anfield.

Tsimikas more than capable...

Andy Robertson was given a rare night off on Wednesday evening as he was wrapped up in his puffer jacket and tracksuit while he watched the game unfold from the bench. 

That allowed Tsimikas the opportunity to impress his boss once more as he put on two assists during the game. 

But it was his ability to get up and support the attacks that stole the show so much, given how much of the Reds' attacking output comes from their full-backs in wide areas. 

The score-draw was their 51st game of what has been a whirlwind season, meaning that if Tsimikas keeps his performances up, there will be plenty of football for him to enjoy at Anfield over the coming years. 

 

 

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