Liverpool's arduous 24-hour journey to Madrid cannot be used as an excuse for a below-par performance against Atletico, according to Reds midfielder Javier Mascherano.
With air travel brought to a virtual standstill in light of the volcanic ash cloud that has engulfed Europe over the past couple days, Liverpool have had to go the long way round to reach the Spanish capital for a Europa League semi-final first leg.
The 1,300-mile journey began on Tuesday - the day after facing West Ham in the Premier League at Anfield - with a train to London, followed by the Eurostar to Paris, where they spent the night.
Liverpool took another train to Bordeaux on Wednesday before making a short flight to the Spanish capital to arrive in the afternoon.
It was an odyssey Liverpool would have preferred to have avoided, especially ahead of such an important game, but Mascherano is optimistic tiredness will not be a problem for the players on Thursday night.
"Hopefully not, it's a semi-final and we cannot have an excuse such as tiredness," he said.
"It's 90 minutes and we have to play at our best to get to the final so tiredness can't be an issue.
"Everyone knows it's a long trip but the main thing is that we are here so we are ready to play tomorrow and hopefully we can get a good result to take back to Liverpool."
The Argentina international is no stranger to long-distance trips, and told journalists: "When I go back to Argentina I have a long journey, so for me it's more or less the same.
"Every time I go back to Argentina I have a trip of 17 or 18 hours. The important thing is to rest well. Now we are going to train, then we will rest and be ready for the game tomorrow."
When asked what the players did to pass the time during the journey, the 25-year-old Mascherano said: "It was a good trip, we were talking together a lot. You have to take the positives out of it, and maybe now I know my team-mates a little bit better."
When asked about the importance of the game, Mascherano added: "Trophies are the main thing. I said this a few weeks ago. This is the biggest game of this season for us.
"We will come to the stadium and we will try to do our best. After a long trip we are together, we are thinking of the game and we know if our mindset is right we can get a good result."