Liverpool must overcome a one-goal deficit in Thursday’s home tie with Atletico Madrid if they are to reach the final of Europe’s silver medal competition, the Europa League.

Steven Gerrard

Some silverware for Pool?

Having rubbed Burnley out of the Premier League in an emphatic four-goal win, the Anfield faithful will be forgiven for hoping their team can play well enough to upset Madrid.

The Spanish team eeked out a 1-0 win on home soil last week, thanks to a bizarre double strike from ex-Man utd front man Diego Forlan and some dreary defending by the visiting team.

But despite the lopsided score line, this game is still wide open. Liverpool have enjoyed a mini-return to form lately and have had their spirits boosted by a comprehensive win at Turf Moor.

Also in their favour is their home form which is only bettered by the top three teams in the Premier League this season. And with Gerrard netting twice at the weekend the omens are good for the Scousers.

It’s the third time in a row that Liverpool have entered a Europa League second leg needing a win, having overturned deficits to both Lille and Benfica, but this time the bookies are indifferent to their chances of doing it again.

They are strong favourites to win on the night, but conceding an away goal (having failed to score one) would prove disastrous. So Rafa Benitez has the difficult task of balancing the need to score with the need to not concede.

And with Torres, Kuyt and N’Gog injured, much will depend on Gerrard in attack and defence. Expect to see him getting stuck in at both ends of the pitch.

Best bet: Liverpool to qualify @2.1 on Betfair

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