Liverpool head into this Anfield tie with a worrying sense that their season is about to fall apart before the last leaves fall from the trees. Before Autumn has entered full swing, the Red outfit is looking up with envy at Chelsea and Real Madrid who top the Premier league and their European group respectively. Meanwhile, West Brom should be feeling much more positive. The Baggies have recovered somewhat from their perilous flirt with relegation last season and are once again competing well in the Premier League. Following on from their 4-0 thrashing of Burnley, West Brom should be buoyant at the prospect of facing the Reds with the Midlands club’s recent record against Liverpool suggesting this will be a very difficult tie for Brendan Rodgers and his players. West Brom have definitely become one of Liverpool’s bogey teams but that cannot be at the front of the Liverpool players’ minds as nothing but a win will do for Brendan Rodgers’ side – anything but three points would put Liverpool in a very difficult position with October only just beginning.
One of the reasons for Liverpool’s poor start has been their mounting injury list. The Reds were busy picking up injuries before the season had even begun with Emre Can and Adam Lallana suffering in pre-season. However, heading into this match, nothing has changed and Rodgers has a much weaker squad at his disposal than he would have liked. Mamadou Sakho is, apparently, missing with a thigh strain – although cynics will suggest his absence has more to do with his disappearing act before the Merseyside Derby. Summer signing Emre Can is still out with an ankle injury sustained on international duty with the Germany U21 side whilst Jon Flanagan is out until mid-December after having an operation on his knee,
Some good news for Liverpool fans is that Daniel Sturridge might be able to play a small role in the match against the Baggies – although this remains unlikely with the hitman definitely missing out on England’s international matches this coming week, Joe Allen is also nearing a return and the international break should see him step up his recovery from a knee injury – another injury sustained whilst away on international duty. Glen Johnson might be fit for the match but remains doubtful with a thigh injury.
West Brom have also suffered with injuries and currently have five players on the proverbial treatment table. Porto loanee Silvestre Varela is a big doubt with a groin injury although he will be assessed before the game. Victor Anichebe (groin), Chris Baird (illness) and Brown Ideye (ankle) are all slight doubts too with the trio set to be given as long as possible to prove their match fitness.
Sebastien Pocognoli is definitely out with a knock which should see him miss a couple of games at least. Other than these fairly minor knocks the West Brom side is brimming with energy and ready to go.
Liverpool have conceded five more goals at this stage of the season compared to the same stage last term – 12 vs 7.
West Brom’s win over Burnley recorded the first time that the Baggies had won back to back matches since September 2013 – Sunderland and Manchester United were the victims during that run.
To reach 74 points (a typical top four points total), Liverpool have to average 2.13 points per game (PPG) – last season the Reds averaged 2.4 PPG.
No player under the age of 21 has scored more Premier League goals than Saido Berahino this season – the young England striker has scored four goals already this season.
West Brom midfielder Graeme Dorrans has been booked in three out of six Premier League matches this season – so, if you fancy a flutter, why not back that at 4.45/1 for this weekend’s game with TailorBet?
It’s been a very up and down season so far for Jordan Henderson. The England international has been superb in some matches and poor in others with the energetic midfielder unable to carry Liverpool’s midfield in the absence of the equally hard working Joe Allen – poor against West Ham and fantastic against Everton being the two most obvious examples of his rollercoaster form. Nevertheless, Henderson has shown promise in certain games this season and will be looking for home comforts to help him recapture his form from last season.
So far this season, Henderson has created an average of 1.83 chances per game for his teammates which is a decent return but not high enough for a player of his quality – perhaps this is down to his manager playing him deeper in a somewhat baffling 4231 formation which seems to suit none of the clubs attackers, I digress. Despite this deeper holding position, Henderson has already grabbed himself two assists this season – with Raheem Sterling benefitting both times against Southampton and Tottenham.
The all action pressing king has won 49% of his total duels so far which is an area he’d likely want to improve to create a real sense of solidity to his game. Defensively, it’s the same as always – he’s willing to help anywhere and anyhow. The former Sunderland man has already completed 11 interceptions and 10 clearances underlining his importance at both ends of the field.
Liverpool will be looking to their new vice captain to produce some inspiring moments in the weeks to come as they endeavour to get their flagging season back on track.
Saido Berahino is currently doing his best to thrust himself into the public eye of English football: and it’s working. The West Brom striker is fast becoming one of the leading lights for young English footballers looking to break into their respective first teams with the 21 year old calmly going about scoring goals in a composed fashion.
So far, Berahino has registered a shooting accuracy of 58% which is great for a young striker trying to get himself noticed. This is a strong figure and a player from this weekend’s opposing team might take notice of his efficient playstyle – cough, cough Mario. For a young attacker, Berahino also posts a staggeringly high pass completion rate of 89% which is good for players in their primes who know where their teammates are at all times – this guy is 21 and is playing key passes in the final third for fun.
However, we must remember he is still a young player and as such, he will make mistakes from time to time. Berahino, despite his attacking position in the team, has already contributed a defensive error to West Brom and although it didn’t result in a goal (merely an opposition chance) it is still indicative of his rawness at this stage.
My prediction for this game is a 2-1 Liverpool win despite everything I just said about West Brom being the Reds’ bogey team and their horrendous form going into the game. Liverpool need a break from somewhere and an international break on the back of another home loss would be a complete disaster for Brendan Rodgers with thoughts and feelings left to linger without a fresh fixture to dispel the negative vibes. Liverpool NEED a win so that’s why I’m backing them.