Lopez confident ahead of Liverpool clash
Wednesday 28 April 2010
Atletico Madrid captain Antonio Lopez is in confident mood ahead of tomorrow's Europa League semi-final second leg against Liverpool, although he believes Rafael Benitez's men will be a different proposition compared to the first meeting.
Atletico hold a 1-0 advantage heading into the return clash at Anfield thanks to Diego Forlan's early strike at the Estadio Vicente Calderon last Thursday.
The Rojiblancos had chances to build a healthier advantage, with visiting goalkeeper Jose Reina denying Simao and Tomas Ujfalusi while Forlan missed a one-on-one opportunity, but Lopez still feels optimistic they can finish the job tomorrow night.
The left-back does concede, however, that Liverpool are likely to pose a much bigger threat than they did in Spain, when the Reds found chances few and far between aside from when Steven Gerrard and Yossi Benayoun threatened in the first half.
"We are confident and determined, although we know that it's going to be a very complicated game, in which Liverpool are going to show a different side to the one at the Calderon," said Lopez, who hopes his side's travelling support can help combat the famous Anfield atmosphere.
"At home Liverpool always go out very strong, but we are also going to take a lot of fans there. There are seven planes going there, we will be backed," Lopez was quoted as saying in AS.
Forlan, the former Manchester United player, is also looking forward to the match and the chance to add to his first leg goal.
"I've always liked to score goals, especially at great and historic grounds," said the Uruguayan at the launch of his autobiography yesterday.
"This is the case, for example, with the next game in Liverpool. It's always been a special desire of mine to play in these types of games, they are the types of games that as a child you watch on television with the hope of being in one of them one day."
Atletico coach Quique Sanchez Flores included defender Ujfalusi in his 19-man travelling party to England even though the Czech international did not train on Monday due to injury.
Star striker Sergio Aguero, who scored his side's final goal in Sunday's 3-1 Primera Division win over Tenerife, is also included having missed the first leg through suspension.
Tiago and Ibrahima Balde are both ineligible though, while defensive duo Mariano Pernia and Pablo Ibanez have been omitted.
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