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Leagues: UEFA Champions League

Liverpool duo Salah, Mane rested for Benfica clash

Liverpool (AFP) – Liverpool stars Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Virgil Van Dijk were all rested for Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Benfica.

With Liverpool leading 3-1 from the first leg, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp opted to make seven changes to the team that drew 2-2 at Premier League leaders Manchester City on Sunday.

Klopp had next Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against City at Wembley in his mind as he rested his most influential players for a tie Liverpool were expected to win comfortably.

Three of the back four were changed, with Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konate and Kostas Tsimikas all coming in.

Naby Keita and James Milner, making his first start since March 2, were brought into midfield.

Roberto Firmino and Luis Diaz, both substitutes against City, replaced Salah and Mane in Liverpool’s three-man attack.

Liverpool will face Spanish side Villarreal in the Champions League semi-finals if they preserve their lead against Benfica.

The Reds, one point behind City in the Premier League, are chasing an unprecedented quadruple this season.

Liverpool (4-3-3)

Alisson Becker; Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip, Kostas Tsimikas; Naby Keita, James Milner, Jordan Henderson; Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino, Luis Diaz

Coach: Jurgen Klopp (GER)

Benfica (4-2-3-1)

Odysseas Vlachodimos; Gilberto, Nicolas Otamendi, Jan Vertonghen, Alex Grimaldo; Adel Taarabt, Julian Weigl; Diogo Goncalves, Goncalo Ramos, Everton; Darwin Nunez

Coach: Nelson Verissimo (POR)

Referee: Serdar Gozubuyuk (NED)

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