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Atletico Madrid Vs Liverpool Europa League Semi Final: Highlights, Team News, Bet of the Day and Predictions

Anfield side prepare for Europa battle after lengthy trip to Madrid.

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Liverpool soccer team managar Benitez walk down a platform at Runcorn station

Liverpool have made the trip to the Vicente Calderon without former Atletico striker Fernando Torres.
Maxi Rodriguez is ineligible to face his former club, while defenders Fabio Aurelio, Emiliano Insua, Martin Skrtel and Martin Kelly are all injured.
But Ryan Babel is back in contention after serving a one-match ban.
Atletico are without their own star striker as Argentine Sergio Aguero is suspended, so Jose Manuel Jurado is set to partner Diego Forlan.
The Rojiblancos have struggled in La Liga this season, and a defeat at Villarreal on Saturday left them 10th, although they have a Copa del Rey final against Sevilla to look forward to.

Having failed to win a match in the Champions League group stages, Quique Sanchez Flores’s side dropped into the Europa League.
They needed a last-minute Forlan strike to see off Galatasaray in the first knock-out round before squeezing past Sporting Lisbon and Valencia on away goals.
Liverpool, who have beaten Unirea Urziceni, Lille and Benfica to get to the semi-finals, arrived in Madrid on Wednesday after travelling 1200 miles by coach, train and plane.
Manager Rafael Benitez said the squad were “in a good mood” despite arriving in Spain’s capital close to 24 hours after leaving Merseyside.
Benitez denied his side, who have had their own struggles domestically this season, would be favourites against Atletico.
“Not at all, I think Atletico are doing very well in this competition and it will be very difficult to overcome them,” he said.
“You need to play the matches to know who is stronger.
“They may seem inconsistent looking at their results but, seeing how we are talking about a cup competition, they will try to show their best side and this will be dangerous for us.” (BBC Sport)

Clearly the long journey caused by that damn volcano will have effected the Liverpool team ahead of this massive game but perhaps the trying circumstances may have brought the squad closer together and maybe could work in their favour as they come up against an Atletico Madrid side who have had a similarly disappointing season to their Anfield opponents.

Not having Fernando Torres to call upon, in a game that the Spaniard would surely have loved to be involved in, will clearly blunt Liverpool’s attacking force but Benitez saw his side ease past West Ham on Monday and that must have been pleased the under fire boss.

My Bet of the Day would be on Liverpool to win at the Vicente Calderon and you can get a healthy 11/5 on such an outcome. In terms of first goalscorer I would opt for Yossi Benayoun, so often the scorer of crucial goals, at 11/1.

My Prediction: 2-1 to Liverpool

Here are highlights of the two fixtures between the two sides from last seasons Champions League Group Stage.

Atletico Madrid 1-1 Liverpool October 2008

0-1 (Keane)

1-1 (Simao)

Liverpool 1-1 Atletico Madrid November 2008

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