Jesus praying for ‘great Anfield match’

Benfica manager Jorge Jesus has played down suggestions Thursday night’s clash with Liverpool at Anfield is the biggest of his coaching career.

The Portuguese giants are at Anfield hoping to secure a place in the semi-finals of the Europa League after defeating the Merseysiders 2-1 in the first leg of their last-eight tie last week.

Victory would keep Jesus on course for double success in his first season in charge at the Stadium of Light as his side are also six points clear at the top of Portugal’s Liga.

The 55-year-old has made a big impression since leaving Braga last summer but he hopes he has much grander occasions to look forward to.

Jesus said: "My priority I normally give to winning matches in the Portuguese league.

"This is a big match in the Europa League quarter-finals but I am sure this is only one of a number of important matches for me.

"We know how good Liverpool are but we are very well prepared. I am sure it will be a great match."

Benfica are favourites to progress after dominating the first encounter at the Stadium of Light seven days ago.

Yet, having had to play on Monday night in domestic competition, Jesus is concerned about fatigue.

The Benfica boss added: "What worries me is the lack of recovery hours since the last match.

"If we had another 24 hours things would be different, we would play at a much higher speed.

"I am quite worried if the match is high intensity some of my players will be at breaking point."

Benfica are in fine form with Monday’s 4-2 success at Naval their 11th win in 12 league games. They will be without strikers Javier Saviola and Weldon at Anfield due to injury while defender Cesar Peixoto is doubtful.