La Liga Preview: Atletico Madrid v Rayo Vallecano

Atletico Madrid will be aiming to bounce back from their Copa del Rey defeat to Barcelona when they host Rayo Vallecano in La Liga.

Diego Simeone's side suffered a 1-0 quarter-final first-leg loss at Camp Nou on Wednesday, courtesy of Lionel Messi's late goal.

But Liga champions Atletico are sure to fancy their chances of beating Madrid neighbours Rayo before entertaining Barca in next week's second leg. 

Atletico currently sit third in the table - four points adrift of arch-rivals and leaders Real Madrid - and hammered Rayo 5-0 in the corresponding fixture last season.

They won their previous league game 2-0 at home against bottom club Granada, with Mario Mandzukic and Raul Garcia getting the goals.

However, Rayo will likely provide them with a sterner test, with Paco Jemez's men heading into the game on the back of a 1-0 win at Real Sociedad last week.

And defender Ze Castro says Rayo are relishing the chance to make it three away Liga wins in a row at the Vicente Calderon.

"It's a game that we play to win," he told the club's official website. "It is a big field, they were crowned champions by merit and at the end of the match we will see who is better.

"Atletico has a well-defined style. We'll play as against Real Sociedad and as against the other teams. We do not hide. We have no other way to play."

Fernando Torres is expected to continue in attack for Atletico.

The former Liverpool and Chelsea striker, who is on loan from AC Milan, has made five appearances since rejoining his boyhood club at the beginning of January.

Torres scored twice in the second leg of Atletico's Copa victory over Real Madrid last week, but is yet to find the back of the net in La Liga following his return.