• Fri 21 Oct, 2016
  • 01:34 BST
  • 21:34 EST (BST-4)
  • 03:34 CEST (BST+2)

Liverpool To Draw Comfort From Spanish Trip

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Liverpool face Athletic Madrid in Spain tonight in the first leg of their Europa League Semi Final. Chris Hutcheon previews the match.

Liverpool’s on-field preparation for Thursday’s Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid couldn’t have gone better; Rafa Benitez’s men barely breaking sweat in a routine 3-0 win over a lacklustre West Ham side on Monday.

By contrast, things have run a little less smoothly off the pitch, with the volcanic ash cloud hampering travel plans and forcing the squad to make two train journeys before catching a flight to the Spanish capital from Bordeaux.

The Reds’ Paris stopover should lessen the impact of the convoluted journey and Betfred’s 13/8 tournament favourites are 11/5 (Victor Chandler) to put their travel woes behind them and rack up a first leg lead. However, they will have to do without Fernando Torres, who will be disappointed to miss out on a return to his former club; and that will seriously limit their firepower.

Subsequently, a stalemate, at 23/10 courtesy of Betdaq, may be a more realistic aim for Benitez’s charges considering they are away from home, although Atletico’s poor domestic form suggests that Liverpool should book their place in the final over the course of the two matches (4/7, Stan James).

An away goal, rated by Partybets at 2/5, would aid their cause significantly and if they were to hold the hosts to a 1-1 draw (6/1, 888Sport) then they would certainly be in the qualification box seat. Yossi Benayoun meanwhile, represents decent value in the first score betting at 11/1 (Totesport) while Paddy Power’s 7/2 for the Israeli schemer to find the net also catches the eye.

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