Luisao not expecting Reds backlash

The Brazil international sparked the confrontation that led to Ryan

Babel being sent off in the first half of the first leg of

Liverpool’s Europa League quarter-final against the Portuguese

giants. Babel took exception to a crude foul by Luisao on Fernando

Torres and was dismissed for raising his hands towards his face in

the ensuing argument. Liverpool, who had been leading 1-0 at the

time, were left to play for an hour with 10 men and were ultimately

beaten 2-1 at the Estadio da Luz. Luisao does not believe he will

be marked out for any special treatment, from fans or players, as

the Reds look to overturn the deficit back on Merseyside. “That

belongs to the past,” said the 29-year-old. “What happens on the

pitch stays there, we are colleagues of the same profession. “We

know the culture of the English supporters and players is different

but there is nothing afterwards. “We are coming into this tie to

win. We are going to play with a lot of spirit and we will try to

do the same as we did last time.” Luisao was a member of the

Benfica side that won 2-0 at Anfield four years ago, a result that

ended Liverpool’s reign as European champions following their 2005

success. He added: “With the supporters behind them they grow even

stronger. “I have had that experience before but once we go out

onto the pitch we forget about what people are saying outside – we

concentrate. “We know the way they play, they are quick and we have

to be prepared.” Chief among Luisao’s tasks will be stopping

Liverpool’s star striker Torres, who is fit to play after a knee

scare. Luisao says he will give the Spain international the respect

he deserves. “He is a brilliant player but we have to be humble and

pay attention to what is going on around us,” he said. “There is no

secret. We just have to be humble and play at our best.” Reaching

the semi-finals would keep Benfica on course for double success.

The Lisbon side are six points clear at the top of the Portuguese

league after victory at Naval last weekend. When asked which

competition was his priority, Luisao said: “We would like to win

both if possible. “We have been playing with a lot of quality and

are working hard. “We have reached this position and we want to go

through. “We love the way things are going. We know it has been a

long season and some matches have been very stressful but we don’t

hide. We just take the things the way they come.” Benfica are

without strikers Javier Saviola and Weldon through injury while

defender Cesar Peixoto is also doubtful.