Full-time - 90'
2 - 1
19:05 +00:00, April 1, 2010
Estadio da Luz
Referee: Jonas Eriksson
Thanks for following the game tonight on ESPN Soccernet. Join us on Saturday for what should be a titanic clash between Manchester United and Chelsea. Bye!
An interesting game, characterised by bad misses and poor refereeing, and the second leg is in just one week's time.
The away goal could prove crucial for Liverpool, as a 1-0 victory would be enough for them at Anfield.
Benfica will be happy to win, but they still have a lot of work to do if they are to knock Liverpool out.
And that's the end of the game. Benfica win 2-1 on the night.
That came to nothing. The Liverpool defence stepped up and the ball flew out.
Foul by Agger on Gomes. Late late chance for Benfica.
Johnson stops the lively Di Maria in his tracks on the halfway line.
Free kick by Johnson is too high and out for a goal kick. Johnson would have done well to keep possession there.
Benfica concede a free kick, just inside their own half. Ngog is fouled.
Benfica re pinning Liverpool back. Di Maria tries a shot from distance. His low shot is gathered by Reina.
Liverpool sub: Benayoun on for Gerrard
We are into the final minute. There will be 5 additional minutes.
A lively end to the game as both sides are trying to grab another goal.
Gerrard bursts through on the left and forces a corner. Gerrard gets the ball back and tries a chheky shot at the near post. Saved by Julio Cesar.
Ngog buys a free kick out of Amorim.
Liverpool come out with it and Ngog is fouled.
Benfica sub: Airton on for Aimar.
Coentrao has forced a throw right by the corner flag.
Offside against Gerrard.
Understandable substitution by Rafa Benitez. Torres is carrying a yellow card and will be saved for the second leg. Ngog has 8 minutes to make an impact.
Liverpool sub: Ngog on for Torres
And another firecracker...
Carragher was booked for that handball. And it was handball, given by the extra official. They do have a use after all.
Yellow card: Carragher (Liverpool)
Cardozo strokes it in with the confidence of a man who hadn't missed a hatful of chances in the first half. Lovely penalty, again put to the left of Reina. Reina dived the wrong way this time.
GOAL! 2-1 TO BENFICA!
Handball against Carragher. Cardozo to take...
PENALTY TO BENFICA!
David Luiz tries his luck from 30 yards. He shouldn't have bothered.
The amount of time between Reina putting the ball down and being booked for timewasting was 6 seconds, by the way. SIX SECONDS!
Kuyt finds Torres who is through on goal and pulls his shot wide, by some distance. That was a bad bad miss for someone of Torres's calibre.
Torres. Fouled. Again.
Reina is booked for timewasting. That is ridiculous. Reina barely put the ball down and he's booked. This ref deserves a severe dressing down by UEFA.
Yellow card: Reina (Liverpool)
Benfica wina nother corner. Di Maria whips it in from the right, left-footed... but it comes to nothing.
Benfica sub: Amorim on for Martins.
Gerrard's ball is flicked by Torres but it's out for a goal kick.
Torres is fouled. Chance to cross for Liverpool.
Spells of pressure for both Liverpool and Benfica, but no penetration. Both sides seem happy to take a breather.
Benfica sweep forward again but an over zealous throughball is over hit.
Liverpool win a free kick. Torres fouled. Again.
Cardozo is appealing for a free kick after Carragher put a high foot on him. It was accidental but Cardozo may have a case.
Attacking sub by Benfica. Striker on for a right back.
Benfica sub: Nuno Gomes on for Pereira
Benfica win a corner and Reina flaps at it but eventually it's away.
Gerrard puts it in again to Torres and Torres was using the defender to reach the header. Foul.
And Torres is fouled in a dangerous area on the right, just outside the box. Gerrard fires in the free kick, but it is cleared.
Pereira fouled Agger very unnecessarily as Agger watched the ball roll out for a goal kick. But he apologises and the ref is relieved he has. No yellow for Pereira.
Cardozo is in the mix again, ball is cleared by Carragher.
Benfica have a spring in their step now they've scored. Di Maria is playing on the right and cutting inside. Every time he does it spells danger for the away side.
Another firecracker has gone off. Over exuberance from the fans whose chanting is deafening.
And finally, FINALLY Cardozo has scored!
Great penalty by Cardozo. Low and to the right. Reina guessed the right way but the penalty was very well struck.
GOAL TO BENFICA! 1-1
Insua barged Aimar in the back after the free kick hit the post.
Agger hasd fouled Cardozo just outside the box. Danger for Liverpool.
By the way, it was a fantastic ball to Torres by Mascherano.
Great defending by David Luiz. He was being run at by Torres and Luiz, the last man, dealt with him very easily. You can see why Chelsea and Man United are interested in signing him.
Handball against Coentrao. And that relieves some pressure for Liverpool.
And play has stopped after a firecracker is thrown on the pitch near Reina and even nearer to the goal line official.
Di Maria and Johnson are tussling again and the decision goes against Di Maria. The crowd don't like that.
And Cardozo is not a player in poor form.
Cardozo misses again! Another header, this is unbelievable. This boy needs practice his heading. Another free header from the corner goes begging.
And Benfica have a penalty claim turned down. It seemed as though Aimar dived.
Cardozo has another free header on goal, and another header that doesn't challenge Reina.
Johnson gets away with a shove in the back on Di Maria.
And Benfica kick off what should be an intriguing second half.
Benfica have squandered so many chances that they almost don't deserve to be level, bad as their finishing has been. But it should make for an interesting second half. Join me after my half time cup of tea for the second half...
Liverpool are down to ten men with Babel's harsh sending off the main talking point. He should have seen yellow, as should Luisao. Home town decision you could say?
But the half time whistle goes. A very eventful first half comes to a close.
But Insua concedes a corner.
Di Maria fires a shot at goal and it goes through a sea of bodies and is palmed away by the desperate Reina. Liverpool looking to weather this storm.
Insua is booked for pulling Aimar back. He misses the second leg.
Yellow card: Insua (Liverpool)
And Gerrard's corner from the right finds Torres but it bounced off him.
And Liverpool win a throw right by the Benfica corner flag.
Liverpool hack it clear yet again. A slightly uncomfortable end to the half for Liverpool as the Benfica pressure mounts.
The long throw from David Luiz is met by Garcia but he screws up his shot. Benfica should have at least a goal on the board. Their finishing has been attrocious.
The game is quite scrappy now, Benfica have won a throw in an attacking position on the left.
Tempers are fraying out there tonight and I am sure Rafa Benitez will be seething over the red card.
It has been confirmed that the ref showed Babel 2 yellow cards.
The referee Eriksson seems to have lost control here.
Goal disallowed. Torres's goal is ruled out after Kuyt was standing in an offside position. Not sure he was interfering though.
Yellow card: David Luiz (Benfica)
Sorry guys, there was confusion over the cards and even Luisao thought he was off.
Infact Luisao has only been booked and not sent off. Luisao is still on the pitch while Babel has walked. The two seemed to have their hands in each other's faces but a red for Babel seems extremely harsh.
Chaos here. Luisao has been booked for a very cynical tackle on Torres. Babel stepped in and took exception with Luisao leading to a scuffle between the two.
Red card: Babel (Liverpool)
Red card: Luisao (Benfica)
Yellow card: Luisao (Benfica)
Di Maria lets fly from 25 yards. His left foot shot flies just over but was always rising. Reina was happy to see that go over, such was the venom on that shot.
Babel finds Gerrard who can't quite get a pass to Torres but Liverpool look dangerous on the break.
Gerrard gets stuck in two minds. He neither shoots or passes to Torres, and the chance goes begging.
Another big chance for Benfica. Di Maria's measured cross from the left finds Martins in the box, but he can't keep his header down. If Benfica had been sharper in front of goal, this scoreline would be very different indeed.
Torres is annoyed he isn't awarded a free kick, to the joy of the home fans.
Di Maria dribbled into a threatening position again but the ball got stuck under his feet. If he had the awareness to pass to the players in support, Liverpool would have been in trouble.
Benfica appear to be playing a direct style tonight that is unsettling Liverpool at times.
Terrific ball by Martins through the middle but Aimar couldn't control it. If Aimar had controlled that it would have been 1-1.
Babel was teasing Pereira on the Liverpool left. But eventually lost it, no end product. Not the first time we've said about the talented Dutchman.
Cardozo has lost his mojo. Coentrao motored down the left and his pinpoint cross found Cardozo, but his header was tame.
And that was floated nicely in but Ramires headed wide.
Martins is fouled in dangerous area. Benfica free kick.
Di Maria dribbled himself out of trouble beautifully there. With Johnson breathing down his neck he dribbled that out in a Messi-esque fashion.
And now Kuyt is fouled. Liverpool are frustrating the hosts here.
Torres is fouled, and Liverpool have pushed up and forced a corner.
And Martins was almost released through the middle but the flag was up.
And that should have been the equaliser from Cardoza. Di Maria dinked in a cross from the left but Cardoza at the back post couldn't connect. Cardoza should have done better there.
But Benfica are on the attack themselves...
A crucial AWAY goal should I say.
And that's a crucial early goal for Liverpool.
It's Agger for Liverpool. A very simple but well crafted free kick. Gerrard squared the free kick from the left and Agger flicked it with his left foot and it deceived everyone. Lovely goal but that was too easy from Benfica's point of view.
GOAL! 1-0 LIVERPOOL
Gerrard wins a free kick for Liverpool on the very edge of the box. Tripped by Pereira.
Torres attacks menacingly from the left and forces a corner.
That appears to be the result of a clash with Garcia. Babel is rubbing his head but he should be fine. Replays have shown that it was a high foot from Garcia.
Babel has a head injury, so the referee has halted the game.
Gerrard win a throw in another attacking position on the right after a neat exchange with Torres. Johnson loses the ball from the throw.
Coentrao reaches the byline but his low cross is cleared by Carragher.
Coentrao brings it forward on the left for Benfica, Cardozo loses the ball.
An early ball into Cardozo is overhit, but Benfica are looking to test the Liverpool defence early on here.
Liverpool are shooting from left to right and already Gerrard has forced an early throw in an attacking position on the right.
Benfica are in their regular red home shirts, Liverpool are in their away kit of black and gold, and it is they who kick us off.
Benfica's Stadium of Light is packed and is a beautiful sight at this time of day. The announcers are informing the crowd of the line-ups, and this Europa League quarter final 1st leg is moments away from kick off.
The former Real Madrid striker sustained a foot injury during his side's Liga Sagres win against Braga last weekend.
Benfica head coach Jorge Jesus will have to make do without the services of highly rated attacker Javier Saviola.
Dirk Kuyt is likely to move back to the right side with Steven Gerrard playing a more advanced role and Lucas in for the ineligible Maxi Rodriguez.
Midfielder Alberto Aquilani will miss Liverpool's Europa League quarter-final first leg clash with Benfica after suffering an ankle injury in training. It is the same ankle the £17m signing injured when he joined last summer.
LIVERPOOL XI: 25 Reina, 02 Johnson, 05 Agger, 22 Insua, 23 Carragher, 08 Gerrard, 20 Mascherano, 21 Lucas, 09 Torres, 18 Kuyt, 19 Babel
BENFICA XI: 13 Julio Cesar, 04 Luisao, 14 Pereira, 23 David Luiz, 06 Javi Garcia, 08 Ramires, 10 Aimar, 17 Carlos Martins, 18 Fabio Coentrao, 20 Di Maria, 07 Cardozo
Good evening Ladies and Gents. You will be able to follow live commentary of Benfica vs Liverpool here from 20.05.
Jacobi Julio Cesar
Santos Ribeiro Airton
Ángel Di María
Jose Filipe da Silva Moreira
Fernandes Angelo Luis Filipe
Santos Ribeiro Airton
Junior de Souza Pereira Alan Kardec
Nabil El Zhar