Liverpool Depart Paris On Trip To Face Atletico Madrid

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Liverpool have left Paris for Bordeaux on their 1200-mile journey to Thursday's Europa League semi-final with Atletico Madrid.

With the volcanic ash cloud continuing to cause travel chaos across northern Europe, the Reds were forced to abandon plans to fly direct to Spain.

The team departed the French capital early on Wednesday in a three-and-a-half-hour journey to Bordeaux.

From there they will fly to their final destination Madrid.

Liverpool arrived in the French capital by Eurostar train shortly before 1900 BST on Tuesday and set off for the southwest city at 0630 on Wednesday. ON THE MOVE WITH LIVERPOOL

Second stage of the journey begins with bleary eyes after a 0430 wake-up call. Enthusiasm has waned and there's plenty of red eyes around

BBC Sport's Ian Dennis, travelling with the Liverpool squad to Madrid

“We are assessing things hour by hour,” said boss Rafael Benitez on Tuesday. “We have two or three options going and at this moment just one coming back but we will see if we can improve that.

“We had some time [on Monday] to rest the players. It will not be ideal but we will try to do the best for them.”

Benitez added: “In these special circumstances it could be better to postpone the game but we have to go.”

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

Reds will adapt to travel plans – Benitez
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 Cottagers boss Roy Hodgson and his squad are travelling by road, having first boarded a luxury coach to Folkestone on Tuesday.

They will then take the Eurotunnel to Calais before driving to Hamburg on the same coach.

It is anticipated that the approximate 600-mile journey will take between 10 and 12 hours to complete.

Benitez suggested the journey his squad is undertaking would be a throwback to his playing days in the 1980s with various Spanish second and third division clubs.

“When I was playing, we were doing 12 to 14 hours by coach. Now you expect something more comfortable,” he said. 606: DEBATE

Travelling from university down to Hamburg, leaving at midnight tonight, ferry at 8am tomorrow and then a trek through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany, a 1,572-mile round trip

Liverpool are at least coming into the match on the back of a comprehensive win in the Premier League, after beating West Ham 3-0 at home on Monday, while Fulham have enjoyed another successful season and lie 10th in the table.

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.

The Reds, 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.”