Anderlecht coach Frank Vercauteren described was optimistic ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League Group G game against holders Liverpool.

Vercauteren did admit though that in such a tough group his team could go through a second successive European campaign without a group victory.

“It’s entirely possible we could end up without a point,” said the former Belgian international.

“But the more we lose, the closer we get to our next victory. Statistics are more for people on the outside, and the losing run doesn’t affect me or the players.”

Anderlecht are without defender Vincent Kompany, with a back injury, but Finnish international Hannu Tihinen will come back into the heart of the defence after illness. Midfielder Bart Goor should also return.

Vercauteren believes that Anderlecht were unlucky to be drawn in such a difficult group.

“There are definitely weaker groups than ours,” he said. “I’m full of respect for Liverpool and their coach Rafael Benítez. When I took my coaching badges I had the chance to watch him coach Valencia for a couple of days. I spoke to him for two hours and really respected his positive way of speaking and his philosophy. It was a really good lesson.”

Liverpool are without talsimanic captain Steven Gerrard, who has a shin complaint, but Harry Kewell could make his first appearance of the season. Centre-half Sami Hyypiä is likely to return after being rested at the weekend.

Liverpool manager Rafa Benítez was in confident mood ahead of tonight’s encounter.

“We’re under no pressure,” said the Spaniard.

“It will be a difficult game because they need to win. But sometimes I think they lose games because they want to win so badly they attack and leave spaces behind. We’ll play our compact style but try to create opportunities and score goals.”