Holders Liverpool can virtually guarantee their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League if they beat Anderlecht at Anfield on Tuesday.
The Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez admits consistency has been a problem at domestic level but sees the game against Anderlecht as an opportunity to mount a challenge in both competitions.
“We are playing well in the Champions League and sometimes not so well in the Premiership, but the team is stronger this year,” he said.
“It was important for us to win at the weekend, we need to string some victories together and we have an opportunity to do that against Anderlecht. If we win this game it will be a big step forward and then we will see if we have a possibility of qualifying after this game.”
Anderlecht travel to Merseyside with an embarrassing record of having lost their last ten Champions League matches, including a 1-0 defeat by Liverpool on 19. Despite this, Benítez sees them as dangerous opponents.
“When you have no pressure you can play better,” Benítez warned.
“Every team goes in against us with a lot of passion believing they can win against the champions. It is more difficult than last season when we were not expected to beat the likes of Juventus, Chelsea and [AC] Milan.”
Benítez has no injury worries, unlike his counterpart Frank Vercauteren who is without defenders Vincent Kompany and Anthony Vanden Borre However, Roland Juhász and Hannu Tihinen are available again and the coach says Anderlecht have to remain confident despite suffering three successive defeats in the group.
“We want to be positive and to give up after three games would be unsporting,” said Vercauteren.
“It’s an honour to play here against the best team in Europe. It will be difficult to get a result but I’m sure the players will give a good account of themselves. We have to believe we can still do something positive in this group.”