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Page last updated at 20:55 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 21:55 UK

Liverpool   4 - 1   Benfica (agg 5 - 3)

Fernando Torres celebrates after scoring against Benfica
Torres settled Liverpool's nerves with his second goal of the night

By Chris Bevan

Fernando Torres scored twice to help Liverpool overpower Benfica at Anfield and set up an Europa League semi-final clash with Atletico Madrid.

The Reds levelled the tie on aggregate when Dirk Kuyt met Steven Gerrard's corner and his header was allowed to stand after initially being ruled out.

Lucas ran clear to make it 2-0 before Torres added a third on the break.

Oscar Cardozo's drilled free-kick gave Benfica hope but Torres made sure of victory late on with a cool finish.

The Spanish striker can look forward to returning to his former club Atletico in the last four after keeping alive Liverpool's last hope of silverware this season but, in the meantime, his side will resume their bid to secure fourth place in the Premier League with added confidence after an impressive display.

Torres's eventual contribution more than justified Rafael Benitez's decision to replace him during Sunday's 1-1 draw with Birmingham to rest a knee injury, but initially he appeared to be struggling against the Portuguese champions and was in some discomfort.

606: DEBATE
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At that stage, Benfica were well on top and caused the Reds plenty of problems in the first 20 minutes with their sharp passing but without forcing Pepe Reina into action.

Liverpool, however, gradually imposed themselves on the game and had enjoyed a decent spell of pressure themselves by the time Kuyt opened the scoring on 28 minutes.

There was confusion when his header was initially - and wrongly - ruled out for offside before referee Bjorn Kuipers allowed the goal to stand.

Things got even better for the home side when Gerrard slid Lucas clear and he rounded Benfica keeper Julio Cesar before slotting home.

Benfica were still creating chances but Cardozo's skidding free-kick was comfortably saved by Reina and Sidnei's shot across the face of goal was deflected wide.

And Torres gave his side more breathing space with his first goal of the night just before the hour mark, rounding off a swift breakaway move by sweeping home Kuyt's superb first-time cross from the right.

Liverpool were cruising but Cardozo's low free-kick, which fizzed through a gap in the wall, quickly changed the mood and left the visitors needing just one more goal to progress on away goals.

Cardozo came within a few inches of doing just that when another free-kick from an identical position hit Torres and flew narrowly wide.

But Torres settled Liverpool's nerves with eight minutes left when he raced into the area and lifted the ball over substitute keeper Moreira, who had replaced the injured Cesar moments earlier.

The Merseysiders now face Atletico, who beat Valencia on away goals, with the first leg in Spain on 22 April with the return at Anfield on 29 April.

Live text and stats

 

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Europa League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Liverpool 4-1 Benfica FT
(HT 2-0)(agg 5-3)
  • Kuyt 28
  • Lucas 34
  • Torres 59
  • Torres 82
  • Cardozo 70

Liverpool

Substitutes

  • 01 Cavalieri,
  • 27 Degen,
  • 40 Ayala,
  • 04 Aquilani,
  • 24 Ngog,
  • 31 El Zhar,
  • 47 Pacheco

Benfica

  • 13 Julio Cesar (Moreira 79)
  • 04 Luisao
  • 23 David Luiz
  • 27 Sidnei
  • 05 Ruben Amorim
  • 06 Javi Garcia
  • 08 Ramires
  • 10 Aimar yellow card (Coentrao 86)
  • 17 Carlos Martins (Alan Kardec 66)
  • 20 Di Maria
  • 07 Cardozo

Substitutes

  • 01 Moreira,
  • 14 Pereira,
  • 02 Airton,
  • 18 Coentrao,
  • 24 Felipe Menezes,
  • 31 Alan Kardec,
  • 32 Eder Luis
Ref: KuipersAtt: 42,377
LIVERPOOL
BENFICA

Possession

  • Liverpool 51%
  • Benfica 49%

Attempts on target

  • Liverpool 6
  • Benfica 5

Attempts off target

  • Liverpool 2
  • Benfica 5

Corners

  • Liverpool 5
  • Benfica 12

Fouls

  • Liverpool 11
  • Benfica 11
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+2:58 The match has reached full-time.
  • 90:00+2:10 Free kick awarded for a foul by Oscar Cardozo on Leiva Lucas. Free kick taken by Jose Reina.
  • 90:00+0:20 Angel Di Maria restarts play with the free kick.
  • 90:00+0:20 Substitution Nabil El Zhar is brought on as a substitute for Yossi Benayoun.
  • 90:00+0:20 Daniel Agger challenges Angel Di Maria unfairly and gives away a free kick.
  • 88:36 The referee blows for offside against Yossi Benayoun. Jose Moreira takes the free kick.
  • 87:13 Substitution Alberto Aquilani joins the action as a substitute, replacing Steven Gerrard.
  • 86:50 Javier Mascherano takes a shot. Comfortable save by Filipe Ruben Amorim.
  • 85:24 Substitution Alexandre Fabio Coentrao comes on in place of Pablo Aimar.
  • 85:24 Substitution Fernando Torres leaves the field to be replaced by David Ngog.
  • 83:34 Free kick taken by Daniel Agger.
  • 83:34 Booking Pablo Aimar is booked.
  • 83:18 Javier Mascherano fouled by Pablo Aimar, the ref awards a free kick.
  • 81:35 Assist by Javier Mascherano.
  • 81:35 GOAL - Fernando TorresLiverpool 4 - 1 Benfica Fernando Torres gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Liverpool 4 (5)-(3) 1 Benfica.
  • 78:35 Substitution Jose Moreira on for Jacobi Julio Cesar.
  • 77:02 Outswinging corner taken by Steven Gerrard from the right by-line played to the near post, Marinho David Luiz makes a clearance.
  • 76:55 Dirk Kuyt produces a cross, clearance made by Francisco Javi Garcia.
  • 75:41 Angel Di Maria takes a inswinging corner to the near post, Francisco Javi Garcia has a headed effort at goal from close in which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
  • 74:34 Oscar Cardozo shoots direct from the free kick.
  • 74:34 Booking The referee cautions Yossi Benayoun for unsporting behaviour.
  • 74:25 Free kick awarded for a foul by Yossi Benayoun on Nascimento Ramires.
  • 73:15 Corner taken by Steven Gerrard played to the near post.
  • 72:59 Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Francisco Javi Garcia gets a block in.
  • 70:30 Daniel Agger fouled by Junior Alan Kardec, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Daniel Agger.
  • 69:13 GOAL - Oscar CardozoLiverpool 3 - 1 Benfica Oscar Cardozo hits the back of the net with a goal direct from the free kick from just outside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Liverpool 3 (4)-(3) 1 Benfica.
  • 68:26 Unfair challenge on Nascimento Ramires by Dirk Kuyt results in a free kick.
  • 67:47 Centre by Javier Mascherano, Jacobi Julio Cesar makes a comfortable save.
  • 67:10 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Steven Gerrard.
  • 66:35 Pablo Aimar takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, save by Jose Reina.
  • 65:53 Anderson Luisao takes the indirect free kick.
  • 65:53 Substitution (Benfica) makes a substitution, with Junior Alan Kardec coming on for Jorge Carlos Martins.
  • 65:53 The referee blows for offside against Fernando Torres.
  • 64:00 Foul by Pablo Aimar on Jamie Carragher, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Jose Reina.
  • 61:26 Steven Gerrard fouled by Nascimento Ramires, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Steven Gerrard from left wing, clearance made by Filipe Ruben Amorim.
  • 61:00 Fernando Torres fouled by Filipe Ruben Amorim, the ref awards a free kick. Steven Gerrard takes the direct free kick.
  • 60:26 Corner taken left-footed by Angel Di Maria to the near post, Fernando Torres makes a clearance.
  • 59:54 Corner taken by Angel Di Maria from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Fernando Torres.
  • 58:16 Assist on the goal came from Dirk Kuyt.



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Europa League results

8 Apr 2010 23:59 UK



see also
Benitez targets dual Euro prize
08 Apr 10 |  Liverpool
Hamburg and Atletico reach semis
08 Apr 10 |  Europe
Thursday football as it happened
08 Apr 10 |  Football
Europa League photos
08 Apr 10 |  Football
Benitez admits Liverpool mistakes
07 Apr 10 |  Liverpool
Benfica 2-1 Liverpool
01 Apr 10 |  Europe


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