MADRID - Brief news from the Primera Liga ahead of this weekend's matches:
Overturning their 1-0 Champions League deficit away to Liverpool next week takes priority for Real Madrid over their city derby at home to Atletico on Saturday, coach Juande Ramos has said.
"The Atletico game is important but we have 12 more games afterwards to put right any errors," Ramos told Radio Marca. "Anfield is life or death."
Pepe and Wesley Sneijder are suspended, while midfielders Guti and Arjen Robben are likely to be rested or used sparingly.
Atletico's new boss Abel Resino is confident he can end the side's ten-year winless jinx against their neighbours.
"The Bernabeu is the stadium where I have won the most times. I won there as coach with Levante, and as a player with Atletico and Rayo Vallecano. I am quite relaxed," he told Radio Marca.
Atletico are without the suspended Raul Garcia but are not expected to rest any of their key players ahead of their Champions League return away to Porto next week. The tie stands at 2-2.
Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta batted away suggestions from the capital that his side were blowing the title race after allowing Real Madrid to narrow their lead from 12 points to four over the last three weeks.
"These kinds of comments are normal from sides who are below you in the table. We have to prove we are a team of champions and I am sure we will," he said ahead of Saturday's visit of fellow King's Cup finalists Athletic Bilbao.
Third-placed Sevilla have an Andalucian derby at home to Almeria on Sunday when they will be looking to pick themselves up after their King's Cup semi-final defeat to Athletic.
Hugo Sanchez's improving Almeria have proven themselves a tough nut to crack and have only lost two of their last nine outings.
Fourth-placed Villarreal are unbeaten in five in all competitions, though three of those were draws, and climbed back into the Champions League qualification slots last weekend. They play Espanyol at the Madrigal on Saturday.
"Our results are not a fair reflection of how well we have been playing recently. Everyone is now performing to a very high standard," said French midfielder Robert Pires.
Financially-troubled Valencia are under pressure to arrest their slide in form and visit another club with problems Numancia on Sunday.
Valencia are without a win in six matches in all competitions, and have dropped to sixth in the standings. Numancia are bottom after seven consecutive defeats and are now seven points from safety.comments