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Benitez bemoans 24-hour Madrid trip

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez steered his side to a 3-0 victory over West Ham on Monday night.
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez steered his side to a 3-0 victory over West Ham on Monday night.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rafael Benitez says Liverpool's semifinal in Madrid should have been postponed.
  • Fans are aslo angry as Liverpool prepare to make a 24-hour journey to Spain.
  • Fulham will make a 600-mile road trip to Hamburg for their semifinal.
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(CNN) -- Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez says Thursday's Europa League semifinal against Atletico Madrid should probably have been postponed because of the travel mayhem caused by the volcanic ash cloud over Europe.

The Reds face a 24-hour journey, which includes train travel to Paris, an overnight stop in France and a flight from Bordeaux to Madrid on Wednesday morning.

"In these special circumstances it could be better to postpone the game but we have to go," Benitez told reporters after Monday night's 3-0 victory over West Ham in the English Premier League.

"We had some time yesterday to rest the players. It will not be ideal but we will try to do the best for the players."

On Monday, European football's governing body UEFA ordered the match to go ahead, along with the other semi-final featuring Fulham and Hamburg.

Where UEFA is concerned football supporters are always bottom of the list and the last to be thought of.
--Les Lawson, Liverpool Supporters' Club

Liverpool's official Web site is carrying a live blog of their epic journey, with a detailed map of the route.

The Reds will take a train from the northwest England town of Runcorn to London on Tuesday before boarding a Eurostar to Paris.

They will stay a night in the French capital and take a train to Bordeaux in south-west France on Wednesday morning. From there, they will catch a flight to Madrid.

Liverpool fans have expressed their anger at UEFA's decision not to postpone the tie as they struggle to come up with ways of making it to Spain and back.

Les Lawson, of the club's official supporters' club, told the Times newspaper: "Where UEFA is concerned football supporters are always bottom of the list and the last to be thought of. What has happened is obviously exceptional circumstances, but no one has thought of how the fans will get there."

Meanwhile, Fulham have been forced to cancel plans to charter a private jet to take them to Hamburg.

Instead, the west Londoners are taking the 600-mile trip to Germany by road, via the Channel Tunnel.

One match which has fallen victim to the Icelandic volcano is Celtic's friendly against Dutch side AZ Alkmaar.

The match, scheduled, for Wednesday night, has been postponed and will be rearranged in the near future, Celtic said on their official Web site.