Benfica winger Everton hopes to exploit the weaknesses of Liverpool defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ibrahima Konate after conducting a specific analysis of their performances.
Konate, in particular, was targeted by the Portuguese side in the first leg with 29-goal striker Darwin Nunez trying to isolate the Reds’ third-choice centre-back at Estadio da Luz in the first leg of the quarter-finals. Champions League final. In the past week.
Left-sided Everton will mainly face Alexander-Arnold at Anfield in the second leg, in which they lose 3-1, but he has investigated the entire right side of Liverpool’s defence, with Konate expected to replace him again. Joel Mattip.
“I have been trying to study the opponent after the first game, looking to better analyze the individual qualities of Alexander-Arnold and Konate,” he told a news conference.
“I have tried to see where they have difficulties, the weak point, to be able to exploit and have a happy night, to give joy to the fans”.
Benfica will be without right-back Rafa Silva, who has been ruled out due to injury after missing training on Tuesday.
However, interim coach Nelson Verissimo believes they have a good chance to take his place.
“We all know how important it is in our team: it has different characteristics and we have to make up for its absence, but we have solutions that will give a positive response,” he said.
“We regret his absence but we have a lot of confidence in the rest of the squad.
“We go (to Anfield) with the natural ambition of someone who believes a lot in what he does.
“We know that we are two goals down but we believe that things can change, especially if we score a goal first.
“We’re going with that ambition, despite losing the first leg. After the analysis we did, we realize that despite the difficulty that we know we are going to encounter, we have to believe”.
Key to their chances will be Uruguayan international Núñez, 22, who is being followed by some of Europe’s top clubs.
Verissimo admits it will be difficult for the club to retain the striker, saying: “It’s the law of the market. Obviously players like Darwin, and the best players, the idea would be to keep them all, but we are in a competitive market, in which the clubs need capital for their daily management.
“At the end of the season, if he has to go, we have to accept it. It is the law of realizing that there are stronger markets and that is why there are players that we cannot keep. Benfica is not an exception to that”.
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