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Sadio Mane equals Cristiano Ronaldo, while outplaying Lionel Messi and Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard as Reds take control of Champions League tie against Benfica


Sadio Mane overtook both Lionel Messi and Steven Gerrard as his goal helped Liverpool to a 3-1 victory at Benfica in the Champions League.

After Ibrahima Konate headed Jurgen Klopp’s men up front, Mane tapped into Liverpool’s second and thus passed the two icons in different ways.

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Konate gave Liverpool the lead with his first goal for the club

Sadio Mane equals Cristiano Ronaldo, while outplaying Lionel Messi and Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard as Reds take control of Champions League tie against Benfica

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Mane then doubled Liverpool’s lead with something of a historic goal

Mane now has 13 Champions League Round of 16 goals since the start of the 2017/18 season, one more than Messi’s 12.

Mane is also level with Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Meanwhile, the goal was Mane’s 22nd in Europe’s premier club competition, meaning he overtook Reds icon Gerrard, who scored 21 goals.

Liverpool were utterly dominant in the first half and had plenty of good chances to extend their lead with Mohamed Salah coming close on three occasions, Naby Keita having two chances, while Luis Diaz had a shot that went just wide. side.

Darwin Nunez pulled one back for Benfica early in the second half, but Diaz restored Liverpool’s two-goal lead in the 87th minute, putting them in an excellent position to progress to the semi-finals.

The win saw Liverpool, who had lost on their last three visits here, equal a club record of five consecutive away wins in Europe.


Sadio Mane equals Cristiano Ronaldo, while outplaying Lionel Messi and Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard as Reds take control of Champions League tie against Benfica

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Nunez gave the Portuguese hope in the 49th minute

Sadio Mane equals Cristiano Ronaldo, while outplaying Lionel Messi and Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard as Reds take control of Champions League tie against Benfica

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But Diaz’s late goal put Liverpool firmly in control

The omens had not been great for Benfica, third in Portugal’s Primeira Liga 15 points behind leaders Porto – whom Liverpool had hammered 5-1 and 2-0 in the group stage this season.

Of the six changes Klopp made, the best was bringing in right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold after almost three weeks out with a hamstring injury.

His pass for Diaz to head into Mane’s way for the second goal was a stunner, while the one he delivered for an oddly colored Mohamed Salah to run at but shoot straight at goalkeeper Odisseas Vlachodimos was almost as good.

It was Klopp’s first time starting the midfield trio of Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita, the latter impressive in the attacking areas.

Sadio Mane equals Cristiano Ronaldo, while outplaying Lionel Messi and Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard as Reds take control of Champions League tie against Benfica

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Klopp will be very happy with the result obtained by his team in Lisbon

In the first 45 minutes, the midfielder almost operated like a fourth striker, joining the attack to have four shots of his own before the break to underline the visitors’ dominance.

That they only had a two-goal lead to their name was nothing short of criminal considering the opportunities that fell to Keita, Diaz, Salah – three times – and Alexander-Arnold.

Konate finally made the crucial breakthrough in the 17th minute when Diaz won a corner that Andy Robertson swung into the far post, where the defender easily passed Everton to beat the goalkeeper with a downward header.

But better was yet to come as Alexander-Arnold’s cross ball lay on a plate for Diaz to nod Mane’s way and the Senegal international couldn’t miss from close quarters, topping the tally of 22 goals by Steven Gerrard in the Champions League.

Sadio Mane equals Cristiano Ronaldo, while outplaying Lionel Messi and Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard as Reds take control of Champions League tie against Benfica

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Konate put Liverpool in front as he came after Robertson’s corner from the left

Sadio Mane equals Cristiano Ronaldo, while outplaying Lionel Messi and Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard as Reds take control of Champions League tie against Benfica

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Mane then gave Liverpool a deserved 2-0 lead

The half brought another club record as Liverpool went 19 games without conceding a goal in the first half, although they were barely troubled by Everton coming closest to a shot in the net lateral.

Four minutes into the second half, everything changed after the calamity of Konate trying to deal with Rafa Silva’s low cross.

The goal changed the mood in the stadium and the momentum on the pitch and Klopp’s three-way switch from Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota and Jordan Henderson to Mane, Salah and Thiago tried to restore control.

Other errors in judgment by Konate caused more problems, with Alisson Becker first having to parry Everton’s low shot and then, after the defender chased a ball he could never win, Nunez saw his Penalty request denied after crashing under challenge from Virgil Van Dijk.

Sadio Mane equals Cristiano Ronaldo, while outplaying Lionel Messi and Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard as Reds take control of Champions League tie against Benfica

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Liverpool looked shaky after Nunez was put on the scoresheet

Sadio Mane equals Cristiano Ronaldo, while outplaying Lionel Messi and Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard as Reds take control of Champions League tie against Benfica

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But Diaz eased those nerves on his return to Portugal

The pressure seemed to reach even the best, with Van Dijk’s overhead kick into the center circle a brief moment of concern while Alisson also missed a few clearances.

But just when it looked like frustration would get the better of them, Keita’s perfect through ball allowed Diaz to round the goalkeeper and score an angled shot.

On the last two occasions the sides met in the quarter-finals of this competition, in 1978 and 1984, Liverpool continued to lift the trophy and Diaz’s goal put them on course for the last four this time.

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