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Phil Thompson: Liverpool can win at Stamford Bridge if they can avoid a Chelsea backlash

Liverpool players celebrate following Raheem Sterling's goal against Chelsea in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at Anfield
Image: Liverpool players celebrate following Raheem Sterling's goal in the first leg

Sky Sports pundit Phil Thompson is backing his old side Liverpool to reach the Capital One Cup final, but is wary of a Chelsea backlash.

The Blues inexplicably allowed a two-goal lead slip at home to Sky Bet League One side Bradford in the FA Cup on Saturday, but have the chance to bounce back in Tuesday’s second-leg meeting with Liverpool.

I think it’s going to be very, very tight, but I fancy Liverpool to win it 2-1 on the night <a href="">(18/1 with Sky Bet)</a>.
Phil Thompson

A place at Wembley against either Tottenham or Sheffield United is at stake, but Jose Mourinho’s men are odds-on favourites (1/3) to progress having held the Reds to a 1-1 draw at Anfield last week.

However, Thompson is pleased to see a creative flow return to Liverpool’s play and believes they will cause Chelsea problems at Stamford Bridge.

“Liverpool seem to be in a good place at the moment,” Thompson told Sky Sports.

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“They’re creating chances, giving themselves an opportunity, and in doing so I think they’re in with a chance and I think they’ll be right in this game.

“One of the big things, though, is how Chelsea react to their defeat at the weekend after getting turned over by Bradford. It was quite embarrassing and Jose Mourinho said so himself.”

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Although Mourinho named a weakened team against the Bantams, first-team regulars such as Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta and Oscar started the game, while star men Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard finished it.

Thompson expects the Portuguese manager to field his strongest available side against Liverpool, but insists whoever comes in will be expected to put in a big performance.

“I think whoever Mourinho picks to play is going to be massive in their role,” said the two-time League Cup winner.

Ramires celebrates after netting Chelsea's second goal
Image: Chelsea must react positively to their FA Cup fourth-round exit to Bradford City

“I think he made nine changes from the previous game against Liverpool. Everybody had the opportunity to showcase their ability and it went pear-shaped.

“Now I think he’ll demand a massive improvement, and that’s the only thing that worries me for Liverpool. How is this Chelsea team going to react?

“They’ve got to react better than they did against Bradford. I think it’s going to be very, very tight, but I fancy Liverpool to win it 2-1.

“Maybe Daniel Sturridge will get 20 minutes - we know he’s been back in training - and that could give everyone a big boost in front of goal.”

Price Boost: Back Liverpool to beat Chelsea 2-1 in 90 minutes at Sky Bet's enhanced price of 18/1

Meanwhile, Thompson is expecting Rodgers to be active in the transfer market before the deadline closes next week and hopes the Liverpool boss targets an experienced, big-name forward.

He said: “I always like to see another striker coming in and especially now with Brendan playing Raheem up front on his own.

“He doesn’t seem to hold complete confidence in Rickie Lambert, Fabio Borini or Mario Balotelli.

“So I would like to see, and I think Brendan has said this himself, an experienced striker come in, like Gonzalo Higuain or Ezequiel Lavezzi. They’ve always been my favoured targets.

“If he gets the right offer for either Borini or Balotelli I think one of them could be heading out the door before the transfer window closes.”

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