Liverpool played Benfica B before Champions League final because their style is similar to Spurs


Liverpool returned to the peak of European football after beating Tottenham 2-0 in the Champions League final. 

After coming up short in the Premier League title race, this was the last chance the Reds had to win some silverware after such an impressive season.  

So, preparations had to be perfect and to ensure they were, Liverpool spent a week in Marbella, partly to acclimatise to the Spanish heat, but mostly to train and bond as a team. 

On top of regular training sessions, Jurgen Klopp also invited Benfica's B side to play in an internal friendly ahead of the final.

Many suggested that was simply to ensure Liverpool remained fit and sharp, and for them to work on normal tactics - but it turns out there was a lot more to the invitation than that. 

Speaking to Portuguese outlet A Bola, manager Renato Paiva revealed that his side were specifically invited due to their tactical similarities with Spurs. 

"We recreated two of their offensive and two of their defensive moments, as well as the set-pieces we thought they’d use in the final," Paiva explained.

"We replicated their centre-back and goalkeeper buildup, their 4-2-3-1 defensive shape with the striker cutting between opposition centre-backs and the No. 10 obstructing Liverpool’s No. 6.

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Final

"Vinicius mimicked Eriksen, Bernardo acted more like Alli and Jose Gomes was Kane."

After explaing all the tactics behind the session, Paiva then revealed that Klopp was very impressed with how his Benfica team trained. 

"Klopp complimented us," the B team coach continued.

"[He said] ‘When you dropped your centre-backs to buildup we immediately set up the same press we used against Manchester City and you still managed to surpass it three or four times!'"


Check out a transcript of his full interview, where he explains all the tactics, below. 

There was also another interesting reason Liverpool invited Benfica to train with them during preparations for the final.

"They couldn’t pick an English team due to information leaks, they couldn’t pick a Spanish team because Poch spent a lot of years in Spain," Paiva added. 

"They couldn’t pick a French team because Lloris is France’s goalkeeper. So they had to go with a Portuguese team." 


Fascinating. Klopp and his coaches went to some serious effort to get Liverpool prepared for the Champions League final - and his attention to detail should be respected. 

All that hard work paid off when his players lifted the European Cup in Madrid a few nights later. 

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