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Liverpool, Juventus seek to heal wounds
Bill Barclay |
April 04, 2005 12:38 IST
A mood of reconciliation is expected to envelope Anfield on Tuesday when Liverpool face Juventus in the first competitive meeting of the two clubs since the Heysel stadium tragedy 20 years ago.
Juventus won the 1985 European Cup final 1-0 but the match was totally overshadowed when 39 mostly Italian fans perished after a wall collapsed following fighting among rival supporters.
The horror of that night in Brussels has left a scar on the conscience of the English club and Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg offers a long-awaited chance for Liverpool's famous Kop end to pay their respects.
With Italy in mourning following the death of Pope John Paul the Juventus players will have added cause for solemnity and whether the atmosphere dilutes the intensity of a hugely important match remains to be seen.
The postponement of Juve's scheduled match at Fiorentina on Saturday out of respect for the Pope gave coach Fabio Capello extra time to prepare his side but he still has two injury doubts.
French forward David Trezeguet and Uruguayan striker Marcelo Zalayeta -- the two scorers in the victory over Real Madrid that took Juve into the last eight -- both face battles to be fit after picking up knocks on international duty last week.
Neither of the two would have played against Fiorentina but Capello is hoping that Trezeguet's ankle injury and Zalayeta's back and knee problems ease in time to face the English side.
Should the pair be ruled out then Capello will probably field Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alessandro Del Piero in attack.
Midfielder Alessio Tacchinardi is suspended after his sending off against Real but Czech international Pavel Nedved, who has recently recovered from a head injury, is back in the side and should start.
Manuele Blasi is likely to partner Brazilian Emerson in the centre of midfield with Nedved operating in an advanced role on the left and Mauro Camoranesi roaming on the right.
Four-time winners Liverpool have done well to reach the last eight and while Spanish teams have shone in the Champions League in recent seasons, this year they have no representatives in the last eight, leaving Liverpool's former Valencia coach Rafael Benitez to fly the flag.
His attacking options are severely limited, however, by injuries and Spanish signing Fernando Morientes is ineligible.
Benitez will be able to select unsettled Czech international Milan Baros after he missed Saturday's win over Bolton due to suspension following his sending-off against Everton.
"Since Milan received his red card we have talked about the situation and now he says he wants to do his best for the team, the club and the fans against Juventus," Benitez said last week.
Goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek is expected to shrug off a groin problem in time to play and Finnish defender Sami Hyypia is in line for a recall.
With experienced German Dietmar Hamann still injured Liverpool will depend even more than usual on England midfielder Steve Gerrard as they seek to score at least once and keep a clean sheet.
Liverpool: 1-Jerzy Dudek; 3-Steve Finnan, 4-Sami Hyypia, 21-Djimi Traore, 23-Jamie Carragher; 11-Vladimir Smicer, 8-Steven Gerrard, 25-Igor Biscan, 6-John Arne Riise; 5-Milan Baros, 10-Luis Garcia.
Juventus: 1-Gianluigi Buffon; 27-Jonathan Zebina, 28-Fabio Cannavaro, 21-Lilian Thuram, 19-Gianluca Zambrotta; 16-Mauro Camoranesi, 8-Emerson, 20-Manuele Blasi, 11-Pavel Nedved; 10-Alessandro Del Piero, 9-Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Referee: Frank De Bleeckere (Belgium)
(Additional reporting by Simon Evans in Milan)