Tight Security Planned for Emotional Match in Italy

TURIN, Italy (AP) - Fearing reprisals for the Heysel Stadium tragedy 20 years ago, Italian police will be shadowing 3,000 Liverpool fans for Wednesday's Champions League quarterfinal at Juventus.

Liverpool supporters arriving in Turin on charter flights will be taken by specially-escorted buses from the Caselle Airport to Delle Alpi Stadium for what police branded a "maximum-risk" game.

Other Liverpool fans arriving separately will be closely monitored, while hundreds of riot police will be deployed near the stadium and in downtown areas. The sale of alcohol has been banned throughout the city.

Turin authorities have warned of possible disturbances after Italian extremists circulated threats against English fans on the Internet.

Italian hooligans, or so-called "Ultras," are calling for retaliation for the 1985 Heysel stadium tragedy when 39 people, mostly Juventus fans, were crushed to death in riots blamed largely on Liverpool supporters at the European Cup final in Brussels.

A ceremony at the first-leg game in Liverpool last week honored the victims. However, some Juve fans turned their backs on the ceremony and made obscene gestures.

Between 2,500 to 3,000 Liverpool fans are expected to travel to Turin. About 1,000 tickets reserved for Liverpool went unsold due to security concerns, police said.

"This is a maximum-risk game, not only because it's linked to the tragic events of the Heysel stadium 20 years ago but due to the rivalry between both clubs," said Giuseppe Petronzi, head of the Digos police division, an Italian special force in charge of high security events.

"It's not possible to close down a city of 1 million inhabitants," Petronzi added. "But the police will guard the center in order to guarantee maximum security to the English fans and I am sure they will cooperate. I have every confidence that everything will run smoothly."

Petronzi said police would hand Liverpool fans pamphlets welcoming them to the city and asking them to remain together.

"We want them to walk in the main roads of the city and not to frequent areas in the outskirts where it is more difficult to protect them," he said.

Police set up check points at the highway exits from Milan and Genoa since some charter flights from Liverpool were scheduled to land at other north Italian airports.

Gates at Delle Alpi will open at 4 p.m. (1400 GMT) to quickly accommodate Liverpool fans in their reserved section. The match kicks off at 8:45 p.m. (1845 GMT).

Violence at Italian soccer stadiums escalated last weekend, with 85 police officers injured and nearly 300 fans arrested following clashes across the country. The Italian government has threatened to close some stadiums with a history of violence.

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