Phil Thompson states his prediction for Atletico Madrid v Liverpool FC
Former Reds captain Phil Thompson is backing Liverpool FC to edge to a 2-1 win against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night
Phil Thompson is backing Liverpool FC to beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash on Tuesday night.
The Reds have won their last 17 Premier League games to put them in a commanding position in the title race as Jurgen Klopp’s side switch their focus to the Champions League.
Liverpool FC warmed up for their trip to the Spanish capital with a 1-0 victory over Norwich City on Saturday evening thanks to Sadio Mane’s 78th-minute winner at Carrow Road.
The Merseyside outfit topped Group E in the previous stage after bouncing back from their 2-0 loss to Napoli in their opening European fixture to win four of their next five games.
Liverpool FC are the defending champions in the competition after the Reds were 2-0 winners against Tottenham Hotspur at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitan Stadium back in June.
Atletico have only managed to win one of their last seven games in all competitions, losing four times.
Former Liverpool FC captain Thompson is backing the Reds to secure a narrow 2-1 win against Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie on Tuesday night.
“I think it is nice for the boys to go back to the Wanda Metropolitano. They are not going anywhere they do not know,” Thompson told Sky Sports.
“This Atletico Madrid side are perhaps not as defensive-minded as they were three or four years ago, where they were tough to break down. Over a two-legged game, they were more than happy with a 1-0 aggregate score.
“They have had loads of injuries, Diego Costa is touch-and-go as to whether he will be fit or not, and Alvaro Morata is injured. Joao Felix is still looking to find his feet; hopefully it is not in this game. Diego Godin was the thorn in the side for many opposing players, and was one of the main players behind their defence.”
Thompson added: “This Liverpool team is made of different stuff. Everybody thinks it will be all-out attack.
“There have been plenty of games where Jurgen Klopp and his staff have sussed out a team and set up their shape to engage at just over halfway. Liverpool could go for it and press quite high or they could sit in and draw them in because of their reputation, looking to hit them on the counter.
“Overall, it is a really intriguing match. Liverpool cannot play any other way than to attack at the return leg at Anfield.”
“It was great to have Sadio Mane back at Norwich,” Thompson continued.
“With him being out for a while, he has become as important as Mohamed Salah in terms of goalscoring this season. He has been nothing short of top class so you want him to be available. You could have seen him being on the bench with the Champions League game coming up on Tuesday, but whether we would have been winning or losing, he would have been coming on to gain the relative game-time.
“How fresh he looked will have warmed the heart of every Liverpool fan and probably the most of his team-mates too. He had this energy in his legs, which was an added bonus to Liverpool winning the game.”
Liverpool have scored in 35 successive Premier League games, while the Reds have scored two goals or more in 30 of their 35 fixtures.
The Reds are unbeaten in 43 Premier League games.