Lisbon (AFP) – Benfica midfielder Adel Taarabt insisted Monday the Portuguese side have no fear of Liverpool ahead of their Champions League quarter-final tie against the English giants.
Benfica will be looking to pull off another shock against six-time European champions Liverpool after already seeing off Barcelona in the group stage and Ajax in the last 16.
“Of course we have a chance, we’re in the quarter-finals,” said Taarabt, who spent seven years in England with Tottenham, QPR and Fulham.
“Liverpool are a team we respect but we don’t fear them. We know the quality they have.”
Benfica, European Cup winners in 1961 and 1962, sit third in the Primeira Liga after parting ways with coach Jorge Jesus in December, with Nelson Verissimo now in interim charge.
“If we play at our best maybe we can cancel out Liverpool’s strengths,” Verissimo said in a press conference in Lisbon on the eve of Tuesday’s first leg.
“They have a huge squad. They have many attacking options. They can play vertically or out wide. They press high. I’m sure they’ve looked at us and we’ve looked at them.
“We know when defending we have to be very, very compact like we were against Ajax. The tie is difficult and we know we have to be at our best to have a chance.”
Earlier, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp declared he was “happy” with star forward Mohamed Salah’s contract situation and a fully-fit side.
British media reports at the weekend suggested the Egypt forward, whose deal runs until 2023, was close to agreeing a new contract that would keep him at Anfield until the end of his career.
Klopp, asked about the 29-year-old star striker’s contract position at his pre-match press conference, said: “I’m happy with it because there’s nothing new to say.
“It is good. The decisive parties are talking to each other and that’s all I need.”
The German manager added he had a full squad available with Curtis Jones, Joel Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold all fit.
“I think Curtis was just a little swelling (after Saturday’s 2-0 Premier League win over Watford), (but is) fine. Same with Joel,” said Klopp.
“And Trent trained now four or five days, not sure exactly, but he is ready as well.”
Naby Keita, who missed Saturday’s match with a knee problem, also trained on Monday.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Real Madrid remain Europe’s most valuable football club: report
- Tearful Mourinho hails Conference League ‘history’ for Roma
- Mbappe’s rumored benefits allow too much power for one player
- Zaniolo fires Roma to Conference League triumph over Feyenoord
- Kompany ‘parts ways’ with Belgium’s Anderlecht
- FOX & fuboTV’s UEFA Nations League plans raise concerns
- Robertson urges Scotland to put sentiment aside in Ukraine play-off
- Klopp confident Thiago will be fit for Champions League final
- Salah staying at Liverpool ‘for sure’ next season as Mane hints at exit
- Tirana inhabitants brace for Conference League final after clashes