Pepe Reina holds the Vicente Calderón in high regard but after Liverpool FC were beaten 1-0 by Club Atlético de Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League semi-final tie he could not wait to get back to his adopted home.
"The tie is 70-30 in Atlético's favour," said the Reds goalkeeper, who agreed a new six-year deal at Anfield earlier this month. "Not conceding at home and winning the game gives you room for manoeuvre.
Atlético are very good on the counter and utilise any space so in that respect the result is ugly, ugly. We had hoped for better."
Reina is no stranger to the Spanish capital having been born there two years after his father, Miguel, ended his playing career with a seven-season stint at Atlético. He admitted he always relishes a return to his homeland and "the atmosphere that prevails at the Calderón", but seldom strayed too far from the job in hand next Thursday. "We created chances to earn the draw, but overall I think the result is fair. Now we must try to reverse it."
Those thoughts were echoed by Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard, even if he is only billing Atlético as "slight favourites". He added: "We were up against a very good team, with very good players. The plan before the game was to score, but it was very hard going.
It's going to be a big match at Anfield next week and we are still confident we can progress. With our fans behind us we always feel very comfortable."
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