Liverpool face Benfica this evening for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie against the Portuguese outfit. Despite no fitness troubles for The Reds, two of their star players find themselves on thin ice, just one yellow card away from missing the return leg at Anfield.
Talismanic forwards, Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota will be walking the tightrope should they both start this evening, as their disciplinary record has left them both one booking away from missing the second leg of the tie, having picked up two bookings each at earlier stages of the competition against Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid respectively.
Whether this may influence Klopp’s selection is yet to be seen, but with Firmino and Diaz at his disposal, there is an opportunity for some increased minutes for the two forward players at some point during the two-legged tie.
Benfica are not without troubles of their own, however. The Lisbon-based side have seven of their own players who are just a caution away from sitting out the Anfield trip. This list includes; Joao Mario, Nicolas Otamendi, Alejandro Grimaldo, Rafa Silva, Julian Weigl, and Goncalo Ramos – a list of players that would undoubtedly leave significant holes in the Benfica side in the second leg, should they see yellow this evening.
The silver lining in all of this is that after the quarter-final stages of the competition, all previous yellow cards are wiped from the players’ records and will not be carried forward into the subsequent stages.
Klopp will likely bare all of this in mind as he and Liverpool continue to look forward to a month that sees them compete in three competitions as they continue to aspire towards a historic ‘quadruple’ campaign having clinched the Carabao Cup earlier in the season.