Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has insisted that his side should not have to play their Champions League qualifier against Maccabi Haifa in Israel.
Benitez’s men were drawn against Israeli champions Maccabi in Friday’s draw for the third qualifying round of the competition, but the on-going cross-border conflict with Lebanon makes a dangerous destination and Benitez believes the tie should be played at a neutral venue.
He told Liverpool’s website: “There is no way we should be going to Israel to play a game of football at this time. It’s crazy to even consider it. UEFA cannot put anyone at risk.
“The situation is very clear in my mind. It’s a crazy situation and totally unacceptable to even think about us going over there at this time.
“I feel sad for the people over there at the moment because it’s a terrible time for them, but we have to put the security and safety of everyone involved before anything else and that means we cannot travel there. It would be impossible to concentrate on the game.
“UEFA need to make a decision quickly because there will be lots of our supporters wanting to know what is happening.
“A few years back when I was with Valencia we were drawn to play Maccabi Haifa in a UEFA Cup tie and the match was switched to Cyprus. The situation then was nowhere near as bad as it is now.
“Valencia also had a European game in the Ukraine on the day the twin towers were attacked in America and I can remember the confusion that caused with the players on their mobile phones constantly to their families who were wondering when we’d be getting back. It’s impossible to prepare for a game in these circumstances.”