Charlie Nicholas reckons Liverpool will make light work of Red Bull Salzburg on Wednesday – but is predicting a tougher night for Chelsea when they visit Lille.
Champions League football returns to Anfield for the first time since that memorable 4-0 win against Barcelona in May, a night which has gone down in history as one of the best comebacks in the history of the competition.
While the Reds, unbeaten at home in the competition since 2014, are not likely to produce anything as dramatic as that when they host the Austrian side, they do need a win to get the defence of their crown up and running after defeat against Napoli a fortnight ago.
And Sky Sports pundit Nicholas has backed Jurgen Klopp’s side to do the business in front of their Reds faithful.
“I remember Red Bull Salzburg from them playing Celtic a few years back,” he said. “There was a lot going on with the brand and funding – they had to be building for a few years.
“They are going to one of the grounds with the best atmosphere in Europe on Champions League nights. Liverpool are getting the job done at the moment.
“If I were Jurgen Klopp I would change a couple of things. Joe Gomez could come in and James Milner may get a start. Adam Lallana could get an opportunity, too. It will be a very comfortable night, regardless.”
Chelsea, meanwhile, appear to be running into some form after two confidence-boosting wins in a week ahead of their trip to Lille. That is exactly what they need as they head to the Stade Pierre Mauroy, where their opponents have not lost since March.
But Frank Lampard’s Blues could be in for a tricky evening, according to Nicholas.
He added: “This is a very awkward tie. I am trying to work out how Frank Lampard goes about this. When is the right time to put all of these youngsters in together? If he can use them, he would much prefer to use them at home.
“After being on a high, you do not want to flip the switch and raise question marks. He will go with a solid base I think for that reason. Lille drew 1-1 away at Nice at the weekend and are sitting pretty comfortable in fourth, so this is a test for Chelsea.
“I think they may get something from this, but it will be a more experienced Chelsea side that we see.”