Ian Rush is tipping Liverpool FC to beat Benfica and reach the Champions League semi-finals next month – but he has warned the Reds not to underestimate the Portuguese side.
The Merseyside outfit have been pitted against the Portuguese side in the last eight as Jurgen Klopp looks to try and steer the Reds towards their second major final of the season.
Liverpool FC overcame Inter Milan in the last-16, triumphing 2-1 on aggregate despite losing the second leg at Anfield 1-0 earlier in the month.
The Reds will now be focused on keeping alive their European hopes as they prepare to take on Benfica over two legs next month.
Liverpool FC will travel to Benfica in the first leg of the quarter-final tie on 5 April, before the return leg at Anfield the following week.
With Benfica currently third in the Portuguese league and 12 points behind leaders FC Porto, former Reds star Rush is convinced that Liverpool FC will have too much for their opponents over the two legs.
However, he has also warned that the Reds can ill afford to underestimate the threat posed by the Portuguese outfit.
Speaking in an interview with gambling.com, Rush said: “Liverpool got the Champions League draw they were hoping for in Benfica, but they knocked out a very good Ajax side in the last round so we’re not in the semi-final just yet.
“Benfica are a bit like the Portuguese Liverpool. They’re very famous and have a great affinity with the European Cup having won it back-to-back in 1961 and 1962. They’re not doing so well in the league this season but they’ve come alive on European nights.
“It’s not too dissimilar to Liverpool’s situation in 2005 when the team were struggling in the Premier League but came into their own in the Champions League and, of course, went on to produce one of the greatest nights in the club’s history in Istanbul.
“Maybe Benfica can take some inspiration from that? I expect Liverpool to come through the tie but they need to be careful not to underestimate their opponents because you never know what might happen on European nights and that’s what makes them so special.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool FC boss Klopp admitted that he was thrilled to see his side paired against Benfica in the final eight.
“Really looking forward to it,” Klopp said when asked about the draw earlier this month. “It’s a quarter-final so a tough one.
“Benfica did obviously really well against Ajax and that’s the situation; I know people will say we are the favourites and stuff like this, but that’s already the first mistake you could make. We are too long in the business now to make these kinds of mistakes.
“I’m just really looking forward to it. I respect a lot what they are doing there, it’s a massive club. I don’t think I ever played there, to be 100 per cent honest.”
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Source: Sport Review