Klopp hinted that he could make changes for Wednesday after assessing how fresh his players look and feel after Sunday’s physically and mentally draining game at the Etihad but he insisted his selection will have nothing to do with the Wembley reunion with City in four days time.
“The next game has absolutely no influence on the line-up tomorrow night, ” he said, “but the last game obviously has. So we have to see. It is a super intense schedule. There is nobody injured, as far as I know, but we have to be careful with who is fresh enough for this game and stuff like this.”
With their two-goal lead, Liverpool are firm favourites to go through to their third Champions League semi-final in the last five seasons but an early Benfica goal would change the dynamic and Klopp doesn’t need reminding that after beating Inter Milan 2-0 in the San Siro in the first leg of the round of 16, they were given a nervy night by the Italians in the return at Anfield when they lost 1-0.
He added: “We see it as a super-important game, but we are in a world where if you win the first leg 3-1 and you have City either side, people think you can focus elsewhere. We see it slightly differently. This is a super, super, super important game. We tried to hard to qualify for the Champions League, and now we can make it to the semi-finals, which is incredible, and that’s what we want to show tomorrow.
“I don’t know what Benfica’s tactics will be but I know what I would do – I would go for it, full throttle. I would try to put us under pressure, score early, and, if not try, to score a bit later. That’s what we expect.
“It’s obviously better for us that Diaz scored the third goal in Lisbon. It’s 3-1 at half time, as tricky as 2-0. A good basis, but as we felt against Inter, if they get one goal, the game changes.
“We felt it in the first game. Benfica scored and all of a sudden, bam, it felt different. We have to make sure that this really feels like a place that they don’t want to go. We have to be really on our toes, really angry in a good way. They want to kick us out of the competition, so we have to be ready for that.”
Ibrahima Konate, who scored Liverpool’s first then gifted Benfica their goal in the first leg, could come in for Joel Matip while Diaz, Naby Keita, Curtis Jones and Joe Gomez could also all start in what will be Liverpool’s 51st game of a marathon season.