How Benfica B played their part in helping Liverpool win the Champions League
Benfica B played their own special role in helping Liverpool beat Spurs in the Champions League final last Saturday.
In preparation for the fixture with their Premier League rivals and to further enhance their chances of lifting the biggest prize European football has to offer, Benfica B were there to help.
In a bid to assist Liverpool in their quest to be fully prepared to beat Tottenham Hotspurs, Benfica took on the persona of the London club, with club manager Renato Paiva taking on the role of setting up his team in the same way as Mauricio Pochettino.
Liverpool had faith in the Benfica B team, safe in the knowledge that they had the tools to mimic Spurs and a group of very talented youngsters - and perhaps it played a minor factor in Liverpool's Champions League success.
Speaking to A Bola about the game, manager Paiva shared the story, commenting that "Liverpool felt the need, after three weeks without competition, to have a private game."
"Quite simply, they couldn't pick an English team due to information leaks, they couldn't pick a Spanish team because Pochettino spent a lot of time in Spain, they couldn't pick a French team because Lloris is France's goalkeeper. And that left a Portuguese team."
"They (Jurgen Klopp and Pepijn Lijnders) saw Benfica B playing and found similarities with Tottenham, hence the choice."
In regards to how they went about mimicking Tottenham: "We replicated Tottenham's formation, setting up in a 4-2-3-1 with a striker to cut between the centrebacks and a number 10 trying to stop Liverpool's number 6."
"Everything was prepared in theory and then replicated in training. Eriksen was mimicked by Vinicius, he played more centrally, Bernard was used as Dele Alli, José Gomes played like Kane..."
"Liverpool played the same XI in the match against Benfica as the one in the final but they asked us not to say anything until after the match."
"We were highly praised; a Liverpool representative told us: 'I want to thank you for your professionalism because we know that in Portugal when someone from Benfica even sneezes it is considered news. But we've been here since Thursday and there hasn't been a single word said."
"The Benfica players were asked to only put photos on social media after the Champions League final."
You can read the full interview with Paiva in A Bola, via this link.