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Page last updated at 12:49 GMT, Wednesday, 21 April 2010 13:49 UK

Liverpool arrive in Madrid after marathon journey

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Liverpool arrive in Madrid

Liverpool have arrived in Madrid for Thursday's Europa League semi-final with Atletico Madrid after a 1200-mile journey by train, coach and plane.

The Reds were forced to abandon plans to fly direct to Spain as a result of the volcanic ash cloud that has caused travel chaos across northern Europe.

The squad left Runcorn railway station at 1304 BST on Tuesday, reaching Madrid airport more than 24 hours later.

They eventually flew from Bordeaux after an overnight stop in Paris.

"The trip has been a bit tortuous but the important thing is that we are here and we're in a good mood," said Benitez.

"It is a difficult journey but everybody has a positive mentality. We know we have one more day so hopefully after the training session tonight and resting in Madrid, we will be fine.

"Mentally we have to be ready, we know that it will be tough and it will be very difficult. We have to keep sending positive messages."

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Fulham were also faced with a difficult trip for the first leg of their semi-final against Hamburg.

The west Londoners were intending to fly to the northern German city by private jet on Wednesday morning before taking part in a training session at Hamburg's ground.

But that plan was scuppered and instead Fulham boss Roy Hodgson and his squad travelled by luxury coach to Folkestone on Tuesday.

They took the Eurotunnel to Calais before completing their 600-mile trip by coach.

"It wasn't the best way to prepare. It's going to be tough for us," said Hodgson.

Meanwhile, Fulham say the club's official supporters tours to Germany will take place on Thursday but may depart later than planned, with regularly updates on the club website.

Once both Europa League matches are over, Liverpool and Fulham must return home in time for another round of crunch top-flight games at 1500 BST on Sunday.

Liverpool, who are still chasing a Champions League spot, face Burnley at Turf Moor while Fulham take on Everton at Goodison Park.

A Premier League spokesman said: "We have had no request from either club for the games to be rescheduled and we have no suggestion they cannot fulfil the fixtures."



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see also
Atletico Madrid 1-0 Liverpool
22 Apr 10 |  Europe
BBC's Ian Dennis with Liverpool
21 Apr 10 |  Liverpool
Celtic rearrange Alkmaar friendly
22 Apr 10 |  Celtic
Europa semis get Uefa green light
19 Apr 10 |  Europe
Ash still causing sporting chaos
21 Apr 10 |  Sport Homepage


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