Liverpool FC defender Fábio Aurélio says morale is high ahead of the visit of FC Internazionale Milano despite the Reds making a shock FA Cup exit at the weekend.
Liverpool FC defender Fábio Aurélio is urging his team-mates to forget the shock of their weekend FA Cup exit when they meet FC Internazionale Milano in the UEFA Champions League first knockout round.
Tuesday's first leg against Inter at Anfield offers Liverpool the chance to bounce back from their last-gasp 2-1 home defeat by second-tier side Barnsley FC on Saturday, and Aurélio insists the spirit in the dressing room has not dipped. "I think our confidence is high," he said. "We can't let the disappointment of the last game affect us for the next one because it is another competition. The chances for both teams are 50-50, in my opinion. We are still alive in the Champions League and we want to progress and fight for another title – that's the most important thing now."
The Brazilian left-back points to Liverpool's two appearances in the last three UEFA Champions League finals and their home record in Europe as encouraging factors. "The history of Liverpool in the Champions League is very good and we need to try to keep that up, so we have great confidence in our team and our chances," the 28-year-old said. "We are playing the first game at home and that, for sure, is a good opportunity to keep things alive for the next leg, so we go into this game with very good expectations."
Inter present formidable opposition, sitting eleven points clear at the top of Serie A, but Aurélio believes the Italian champions hold no fears for Liverpool provided they can produce a solid performance. "They are doing very well in the league and are a top side, we know that, but if you want to progress in the Champions League you need to be at your best in order to beat the great teams in Europe – and Inter are one of them," said Aurélio. "To beat them, we will have to concentrate full-time and produce our best in defence and attack. It will be a very, very difficult game but we need to believe in ourselves as well." As for facing tournament joint-leading scorer Zlatan Ibrahimović, Aurélio admits: "This season he has been a quality player, scoring goals and keeping the ball in attack, so for sure we need to be careful about him and his team-mates."