Liverpool v Real Madrid: Phil Thompson says underdog tag will benefit Reds

Visit of Spanish giants will create 'incredible night' at Anfield

Steven Gerrard of Liverpool looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between FC Basel 1893 and Liverpool
Image: Despite losing to Basel, Phil Thompson says Liverpool will beat Real Madrid

Phil Thompson believes Liverpool will win the first of their daunting Champions League double-header against Real Madrid.

Brendan Rodgers' side lie third in Group B following Wednesday night's 1-0 defeat to Basel, a result that came off the back of a last-minute win at home to lowly Ludogorets in their opening fixture.

The reigning champions of Europe will visit Anfield on October 22, live on Sky Sports, and Thompson thinks that his former team can defeat the Spanish giants, despite their poor form.

“Real Madrid will be completely different [to Basel],” Thompson told Sky Sports News HQ.

Liverpool will win that game. Absolutely, it happens, it’s at Anfield. It will be an incredible night.
Phil Thompson

“Liverpool will be the underdogs and that’s what Basel were on Wednesday. So many teams go there and think ‘yes we should be winning this’.

"The atmosphere was fantastic at Basel and they always turn it on against the English teams so you could say it’s no surprise because they play that way – they love that tag as the underdogs. It will be a little bit like that when Real come to Anfield.

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Steven Gerrard has questioned Liverpool's passion after their Champions League defeat.

“It’s going to be a sensational night at Anfield for the first Real Madrid game. They will up the ante, the players. Everybody will be up for it and they’ll make it difficult for Real.

“Liverpool will win that game. Absolutely, it happens, it’s at Anfield. It will be an incredible night, they’ll turn it on, crank up the pressure and it will be totally different.”

Swiss shock

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard accused his side of being "soft all over the pitch" after the defeat and said the players will analyse their mistakes in the next few days.

And Thompson conceded that Liverpool must drastically improve if they are to challenge for honours this season.

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The Sky Sports panel discuss Liverpool's defending from set pieces

“Generally, Steven Gerrard got it spot on, and it’s awful when you have to admit to everybody – they wanted it more than we did. And that was certainly the case last night,” the Sky Sports pundit said.

“Another set-piece goal that we’ve conceded. It’s come off the back of Martin Skrtel’s head and hit Dejan Lovren.

“It’s a collective thing, it’s not just the defenders because everybody has to take responsibility at corners. But it’s happened too often. The defence has not got confidence in the goalkeeper and the goalkeeper has not got confidence in the back four.

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Brendan Rodgers admits he was frustrated with Liverpool's defending .

“Basel had four in midfield, Serey Die was unbelievable – he chased and harried everybody. They had willing runners to get forward and help Marco Streller who was the only one up front. That’s why the stats that they covered more distance are no surprise.

“It was great planning. They wanted it more, they passed the ball better. You look at the pitch and think it’s poor so Liverpool couldn’t pass it very well – Basel could. They were doing all things better than Liverpool in all departments.”

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