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Alonso keeping his eye on the ball

Published: Tuesday 8 April 2008, 8.40CET
Xabi Alonso does not see Liverpool FC as favourites against Arsenal FC despite a 1-1 away draw and the fact his team have "beaten big, big clubs" in the past.
by John Mathews
from Liverpool
Alonso keeping his eye on the ball
Xabi Alonso is focusing purely on the game ahead ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

LiverpoolArsenal

Goals scored29
 
19
Attempts on target77
 
53
Attempts off target66
 
55
Corners71
 
51
Offsides32
 
36
Fouls committed188
 
129
Yellow cards17
 
17
Red cards1
 
0

Matches

8 April 2008

Chelsea
2-0
Fenerbahçe
Liverpool
4-2
Arsenal

9 April 2008

Barcelona
1-0
Schalke
Man. United
1-0
Roma
 
Published: Tuesday 8 April 2008, 8.40CET

Alonso keeping his eye on the ball

Xabi Alonso does not see Liverpool FC as favourites against Arsenal FC despite a 1-1 away draw and the fact his team have "beaten big, big clubs" in the past.

Xabi Alonso has played down talk of Liverpool FC being the favourites to progress to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, despite their highly-prized away goal in the first leg against Arsenal FC.

'Quite balanced'
The 1-1 draw in north London last week has set the quarter-final second leg up perfectly, and the Liverpool midfielder believes the result could go either way at Anfield. "I still see the tie as quite balanced and we know that we play the second leg at home. We feel confident but I don't see ourselves as favourites," said Alonso.

Different prospect
The English rivals also drew 1-1 at Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday, although Alonso says that will have no bearing on the outcome of Tuesday night's showdown. "It was a different game [on Saturday]," the Spanish international said. "Now we are going to play the second leg of the Champions League. Because of that, it is going to be so important for both clubs and hopefully it will be good enough for us and we will go through."

Biggest test
Alonso admits this is Liverpool's most crucial encounter of the season, stressing: "We will have to be absolutely focused on the game. We feel confident in this competition and in the last few years we have been quite successful. Hopefully this year will be the same and we can go all the way again. In the Champions League, with two legs, we know that we can beat anyone. We have beaten big, big clubs and we are facing another one."

Trilogy concludes
The meeting brings a trilogy of Liverpool v Arsenal matches within a week to a heady climax and the 26-year-old said: "We know each other quite well. Of course, playing two games in just three or four days, then playing a third one on the sixth day is something that is not very common but we are at home and we have an idea of how to prepare for the game and be ready."

Extra motivation
The former Real Sociedad de Fútbol man also rejects suggestions that either side will be more tired than the other at this stage of the campaign. He said: "I'm pretty sure that, instead of being tired in such a big important game, you feel the motivation from somewhere else. You feel fresh enough to perform and to play with a high-tempo."

Last updated: 08/04/08 21.24CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2008/matches/round=15107/match=301910/prematch/focus/index.html#alonso+keeping+ball

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