Part of the Liverpool FC side that beat Real Madrid CF 4-0 on their last visit to England, Xabi Alonso has warned his team-mates that the job of reaching the semi-finals is only half completed ahead of Wednesday's meeting with Tottenham Hotspur FC.
José Mourinho's men arrive at White Hart Lane with an identical advantage following last week's quarter-final first leg. The midfielder is quick to point out that the Madrid team tomorrow contains only a smattering of players who competed in that 2008/09 UEFA Champions League round of 16 meeting, though that elimination at Anfield should serve as a reminder that progress is not yet assured.
"I don't think you can make a comparison – these are two totally different squads of players," Alonso said of Liverpool's 5-0 aggregate triumph. "But we know it's important for Spurs to give a good account of themselves and they will want to create a surprise and make a famous comeback. We know we have to be focused on our task. If we do our job right we should get through.
"We're conscious we still have 90 minutes to play," added the 29-year-old. "We come here after a good result but White Hart Lane is a place where the crowd get behind them, they are really on top of you and it's a tight pitch.
We haven't come here to defend: the more we score, the harder it makes it for Spurs. If we strike a balance between defence and attack we won't have problems going through."
Should Madrid make the semi-finals for the first time in eight years, they will be two games away from a return to London for the final at Wembley Stadium. The chance to write another chapter in the glittering history of the club is something Alonso – already a European champion with Liverpool in 2005 – would love to be a part of.
"I didn't think about Wembley on the way here but we could get there and have the chance of winning our tenth European title," said the Spanish international. "If we get through tomorrow that would be a step in the right direction. It would give us a lift to move to the next stage and would be a positive sign for us. Let's hope we're back here again on 28 May.
"We have players coming back from injury," added Alonso. "We're in good form, maybe not the best of the season, but we're happy. The more players the manager has to choose from the better at this stage of the season."
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