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Emotions run high in last eight
Bill Barclay | April 04, 2005 12:43 IST
The air will be thick with emotion in Liverpool and Milan this week when the quest to reach the last four of the Champions League gets under way.
The shadow of Heysel hangs over Liverpool's quarter-final first leg meeting with Juventus at Anfield on Tuesday, the first competitive game between the clubs since 39 fans died when a wall collapsed after crowd trouble at the 1985 final in Brussels.
Goodwill gestures are expected off the pitch, while on it Liverpool's injury problems mean Juventus, who last won the Champions League in 1996, will be favoured to prevail.
Juventus are one of three quarter-finalists from Italy, a nation in collective mourning after the death of Pope John Paul on Saturday. No Serie A games were played at the weekend and the mood among the Italian teams and their fans will be especially sombre.
The other two sides, AC Milan and Inter Milan, meet at the San Siro on Wednesday in an Italian derby that reprises the 2003 semi-final won by eventual champions AC Milan on away goals.
If emotions will be running understandably high in Liverpool and Milan, UEFA will hope they are kept firmly in check in London when ambitious Chelsea tackle German league leaders Bayern Munich, who knocked out Arsenal in the last round.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will sit in the stands having been banned from the touchline for two matches after allegations he made about Swedish referee Anders Frisk in the previous round's thrilling aggregate victory over Barcelona.
Mourinho's ultra-consistent side, 13 points clear at the top of the English Premier League, will be mindful of how well Bundesliga leaders Bayern stifled Arsenal over both legs in the previous round.
However, Chelsea's outspoken Portuguese coach is well used to the pressure having guided Porto to their Champions League triumph last year.
He will have noted the weekend injuries sustained by Bayern strikers Claudio Pizarro and Roy Makaay that are a serious blow to the Germans' quest for a precious away goal.
What Olympique Lyon's meeting in France with Dutch side PSV Eindhoven lacks in relative glamour it compensates for with the promise of goals galore.
French Ligue 1 leaders Lyon smacked seven past Werder Bremen in their last Champions League match while PSV, like their opponents on Tuesday, are romping away with their domestic league title.
The second legs will be played on April 12 and 13.