real madrid v liverpool

Alonso targets crucial away goal in Bernabeu

February 19, 2009

Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso has stressed the importance of trying to score an away goal in next week's Champions League showdown with Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

The match pitches two of football's most successful teams against each other, with Madrid chasing a record 10th European Cup crown and Liverpool their sixth, and there is seemingly little to separate the teams on paper.

Both are second in their respective divisions with a fair gap to the leaders, have coaches who have succeeded in Europe, and boast players who are familiar to life in both England and Spain.

With Liverpool hosting the second leg at home it could be argued that Rafa Benitez's men hold the slight upper hand, but the Reds' Spain midfielder Alonso believes that advantage will depend on next week's away clash in Madrid.

"For us it is very important to score in the Bernabeu because this gives you a boost for the second leg at Anfield, gives you options and allows you to think about the return match in a different way,'' he said.

"If you don't manage to score, it limits you a lot for the return game because if you let a goal in it can cost you dear. It is going to be a very open tie for the players and the spectators.''

Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina, who like Alonso was a member of Spain's Euro 2008-winning squad, is expecting a low-scoring encounter against a Madrid side who under new coach Juande Ramos have won their last eight matches and conceded just one goal in the process.

"I don't think there will be many goals in the tie. It's true that they (Madrid) are going through a good spell, where it is proving difficult to score against them,'' added Reina on Radio Marca.

"Nevertheless, it is going to be quite a tight game, with few mistakes and where the smallest details will make the difference. Both teams are better defending than attacking.''