Forlan the difference as Liverpool go down
Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez said he was not too worried at Thursday’s 1-0 loss to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Europa League semifinal and pointed out that Liverpool were capable of turning it on at Anfield to reach the May 12 final in Hamburg.
A Diego Forlan goal after nine minutes sealed victory for Atletico to give the Spaniards a slight advantage in the tie but Benitez believes a full house at Anfield in the second leg on April 29 can prove the difference.
"It is half-time and the second game is at Anfield so we are hopeful," said Benitez. "Anfield is massive and the fans are behind us and we know we can beat anyone at home."
Benitez had stressed the importance of an away goal before the match and admitted he was disappointed that Youssi Benayoun's goal on 17 minutes did not count feeling it should not have been ruled out for offside.
"I am disappointed because we conceded a goal, a strange goal, and we always want to score which we didn't," continued Benitez. "We had two or three chances and so did they.
"The Benayoun goal looked onside and people tell me it was. There were things we didn't like but we can't change that."
A gruelling 24-hour journey including three trains and a flight had disrupted Liverpool's preparations but their manager played down suggestions the trip was responsible for a below-par performance.
"I don't think tiredness played a part. We worked hard and that is the main thing," added the former Valencia coach. Goalkeeper Pepe Reina, whose father used to play in goal for Atletico, produced three fine saves to keep the score at 1-0 and leave the tie evenly-balanced for the return leg at Anfield in a week's time.