With Peter Crouch booked for diving, Momo Sissoko in Edgar Davids glasses and Fabrizio Miccoli’s scissor-kick, Benfica KO’d Liverpool on their last Champions League visit to Anfield in 2006… so, could history repeat itself?
- Liverpool were knocked out of the Champions League by Benfica in 2006
- The reigning champions were beaten 2-0 by the Portuguese side at Anfield
- The two sides meet on Merseyside again for the second leg of their quarter-final
- Benfica trail the Reds 3-1 but will hope their history at Anfield is a good omen
European nights are a thing of folklore at Anfield from St Etienne in 1977 to Barcelona in 2019, but there is one Champions League game that Liverpool fans would be happy to forget.
Anfield was stunned into silence as Simao Sabrosa and Fabrizio Miccoli helped Benfica to knock out the holders in the last-16 in 2006.
16 years later the Portuguese side will be hoping to repeat the feat as they return to Merseyside on Wednesday.
Benfica face a tougher challenge to overcome a 3-1 deficit against Jurgen Klopp’s men this time round but history has a way of repeating itself.
Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool suffered European defeat by Benfica back in 2006 at Anfield
Simao Sabrosa (centre) struck to help knock out the reigning champions in the last 16
This time the Reds hold a 3-1 advantage over the Portuguese side heading into the second leg, with Ibrahima Konate (right) one of the goalscorers at the Estadio da Luz last week
In 2006, Benfica, managed by Ronald Koeman, headed into the clash at Anfield with a 1-0 advantage from the first leg, which saw Momo Sissoko suffer the eye injury that caused him to wear his famous Edgar Davids-esque glasses.
But Liverpool had plenty of chances to overturn the deficit in the second leg.
The Reds were able to carve apart the Benfica backline thanks to the aerial dominance of forward pairing Peter Crouch and Fernando Morientes.
After 10 minutes, Crouch had the first chance to pull Liverpool level when his shot took a deflection off Cleber Beraldo Anderson on to the outside of the post with Benfica keeper Marcelo Moretto well beaten.
Momo Sissoko suffered an eye injury during Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat at the Estadio Da Luz in 2006, so had to wear protective glasses in the style made famous by Edgar Davids
Peter Crouch had a chance to pull Liverpool level but his shot was deflected onto the post
From the subsequent corner, the rebound found Jamie Carragher but he produced a classic defender’s finish to fire into the side netting.
With just the keeper to beat Luis Garcia wasted another chance when he blazed his shot wildly over the bar.
Crouch even had a shout for a penalty after being body checked but referee Massimo De Santis opted to book him for diving instead.
Liverpool were later made to pay for squandering their chances 10 minutes before half time.
Simao – who the English side had tried to sign the summer before – picked out the top right corner of Pepe Reina’s goal with a rocket of a shot.
The striker had called for a penalty after being brought down but was booked for diving
Simao punished Liverpool with an unstoppable drive past Pepe Reina (centre)
The Reds were made to pay for their wasted chances by the Portuguese player (second right)
Carragher was the culprit in the Liverpool defence as he failed to clear and it eventually fell to Simao, who faked to shoot before unleashing the unstoppable drive past Reina.
Liverpool headed into the break finding themselves in the same position as the previous season’s final – needing three second-half goals to keep their hopes alive.
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Traore, Warnock (Hamann 70), Luis Garcia, Gerrard, Alonso, Kewell (Cisse 63), Morientes (Fowler 70), Crouch.
Subs Not Used: Dudek, Hyypia, Anderson, Barragan.
Booked: Crouch, Alonso, Gerrard.
Benfica: Moretto, Alcides, Luisao, Anderson, Leo, Robert (Ricardo Rocha 70), Beto, Manuel, Geovanni (Karagounis 60), Simao, Nuno Gomes (Miccoli 76).
Subs Not Used: Quim, Karyaka, Marcel, Nelson.
Booked: Robert, Nuno Gomes.
Goals: Simao 36, Miccoli 89.
Referee: Massimo De Santis (Italy).
But Rafa Benitez’s Reds were unable to repeat their Istanbul heroics and Miccoli twisted the knife in the game’s dying minutes.
The Italian found himself completely unmarked in the Liverpool box, took one touch and scissor-kicked the reigning champions out of Europe.
Benfica now find themselves heading to Anfield as underdogs once again but this time they do not have the benefit of a lead from the first leg.
Liverpool took control of their Champions League quarter final with a 3-1 win at the Estadio Da Luz last week.
But Benfica will have taken hope from the first leg after a glimmering second-half stint.
Liverpool had cruised to a 2-0 lead at half-time with the tie already looking wrapped up and a whitewash on the cards.
Benfica were struggling to cope with the rampant Reds and the gap in quality was painfully evident.
But the Portuguese side had Liverpool on the ropes when a costly error from Ibrahima Konate allowed Darwin Nunez to score almost immediately after the break to claw Benfica back to 2-1.
For a period of 25 minutes, Nelson Verissimo’s men raised themselves to energise their terrific home crowd.
Suddenly, what should have been a routine result for the visitors turned into a frenetic, dramatic and very watchable European contest.
Luis Diaz ultimately spared Liverpool’s blushes as he restored their two-goal cushion three minutes from the end.
However, Benfica had threatened to level throughout the second half. Nunez came close to adding another to his tally when he fizzed a shot over from 20 yards and then miscued a header.
Ferreira Silva brought a low save from Alisson, forcing Fabinho to hack clear, and then Everton Sousa Soares drove wide following another error from Konate.
Fabrizio Miccoli (second right) sealed the 2-0 victory for Benfica with a scissor kick
Reds striker Fernando Morientes sits dejected on the turf as his side were dumped out
Reina reflects on a rare miserable night for Liverpool at Anfield in the Champions League
Nunez will be on the hunt again on Wednesday night with the Uruguayan lethal in front of goal this season.
The 22-year-old has netted five times in nine European games this term – matching Oscar Cardozo as the Primeira Liga side’s top Champions League scorer for one campaign.
Anfield is considered a football fortress on European nights but Benfica can take comfort from their first leg performance, Nunez’s form and their history.
Only two teams have ever won by more than one goal away to Liverpool in the latter stages of the competition and one of those occasions was Benfica in their 2006 2-0 victory.
The Eagles will be hoping their past relationship with the stadium will be a good omen to overturn the two-goal deficit.
Konate (centre) gifted Benfica’s Darwin Nunez (left) the chance to score in last week’s first leg
Luis Diaz restored Liverpool’s two-goal cushion as he skipped past Benfica’s goalkeeper late on
However, Jurgen Klopp’s side have an omen of their own.
Liverpool have gone on to win the competition on the last two occasions they have won both legs in a European Cup or Champions League knockout tie against the Portuguese side, doing so in 1977-78 and 1983-84.
The Reds are also unbeaten in nine games against teams from Portugal in the competition since Benfica won at Anfield in March 2006 (W7 D2).
They will be hoping Benfica are not the team to end that run with another shock Anfield win.
This week’s fixture is not as straightforward for Benfica compared to their 2006 trip as they face tough competition in Klopp’s quadruple-chasing Reds.
Another 2-0 win at Anfield won’t be enough to book their place in the semi-finals but a shock exit for Liverpool cannot be ruled out.
If they can repeat their 2006 scoreline they will force extra time and even a penalty shootout.
Ultimately the question on everyone’s mind on Wednesday will be: can Liverpool put the past behind them or will Benfica repeat history?
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