Riera relishing double pressure

Liverpool’s Spanish winger Albert Riera believes fighting for two major trophies is “beautiful pressure” to contend with.

The 26-year-old has been a key figure for the Reds this season, having arrived from Espanyol to join a team with massive European experience.

And now the Spain international is relishing the simultaneous battle for the Champions League and Barclays Premier League – which continues with a European quarter-final first leg against Chelsea at Anfield tomorrow.

“When I arrived here this is what I wanted to experience, to be at a really big club. I wanted to fight for the title and in Europe and that is happening for me,” he said.

“We are fighting for two trophies, it is what every footballer wants and that is beautiful pressure.

“It is very different to the sort of pressure you face if you are trying to avoid relegation.

“I am pleased with my own form, it could be better, but this is the best moment of the season for all of us.

“Me too, I am playing for Spain and they are doing well, so I want the same here with Liverpool.”

Riera insists the Merseysiders should go into tomorrow’s match with confidence, although he also extolled the virtue of a clean sheet in the home leg of the tie.

He added: “This will be a new experience in the Champions League for me, but for many of my team-mates it is something they have grown used to.

“But if you want to win big tournaments you must beat the best, and Chelsea are in very good form and are one of the best in Europe.

“But we have come into some very good form. We have beaten them twice in the league this season but the Champions League is different because it is over two matches, so we cannot think too much about our league victories over them.

“It is very important that we do not concede any goals in the home leg because the second game will be the one that decides this tie.”

After a shaky start, Riera has demonstrated why manager Rafael Benitez wanted to bring him to Anfield.

He said: “Ever since I arrived here I have been very aware of the European history of this club, and I know that to reach the final in Rome is very important to this club because Liverpool have won the European Cup there twice before.

“That is part of the club’s history and I also want to be part of that history. And also that we win the Premier League too, that would be a very special piece of history to be involved with.

“But there is still a lot of games to play, step by step, in both competitions. We do intend to surprise everyone.”

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