With Europa League final on their minds, Liverpool travel to The Hawthorns for their final game of the season. Winless in their last 8 league games, Tony Pulis knows that the Reds will be distracted and will be keen to finish the season with a win. Despite the final being on their mind, Liverpool could be left with no European football at all for the coming season, if they fail to win the final and finish outside the Europa League spot in the table. Given the consequences, Klopp will be looking to finish the season with a win.
The club will be without the services of Brunt, Morrison and Pritchard while the likes of Johnny Evans, Darren Fletcher and Stephane Sessegnon remain doubtful for the game. However, Saido Berahino, who came off the bench in the last 2 fixtures is expected to make the starting line up against the Reds. Pulis is expected to continue with his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation with Yacob and Fletcher expected to sit deep in the midfield and nullify the opposition.
Expected Line Up
Foster, Dawson, McAuley, Olsson, Evans, Yacob, Fletcher, Lekom Berahino, McClean, Rondon
Klopp is expected to make wholesale changes to the side, resting all the players who would feature in the final at Basel. While long-term absentees Danny Ings, Jordan Henderson and Divock Origi are back in contention after recovering from their long-term injuries, only Ings is expected to feature for some time in the game with the other two rested for the final.
With second choice keeper Ward out injured, Bogdan, who is expected to leave at the end of the season starts in the goal and would do well to end his time at the club with an impressive last match.
Expected Line Up
Bogdan, Flannagan, Skrtel, Lucas, Smith, Allen, Stewart, Brannagan, Ibe, Ojo, Benteke
Berahino, who is expected to face Liverpool after coming off the bench in the last 2 games, could prove to be handful for the slow and untested Liverpool defence. He is quick, can link up well with his teammates and knows where the back of the goal is making him a constant threat to the opposition. With Skrtel and Lucas expected to start as the centre-backs on the afternoon, they could be left red faced if Berahino manages to get behind them.
This has been a rather unpleasant season for the English striker. It began on a sour note when he was not allowed to leave the club. With just 4 goals and no assists in the 31 appearances he has made, the stats to do not do him a favour. The game on Sunday provides him with an opportunity to add to the numbers especially with the opposition fielding a much weaker unit.
The 25-year-old has endured a tough season at the Anfield, often restricted to the bench after Sturridge’s recovery from injury and Origi’s emergence as a striker. However, he did come off the bench to score an all important goal against Chelsea to save his side in the last league game at Anfield this season. He is expected to start atop the line-up with young Ibe, Ojo and Brannagan alongside him and would do well to capitalise on their pace and creativity.
He has scored 10 goals and assisted 3 in 34 appearances (19 of them as substitutes) and will be looking to add to the tally in the game. It remains to be seen if this will be the end of his time in a Red shirt but for now Klopp has us believing that Benteke is very much in his books and the Belgian would do well to return his manager some favour.
– Liverpool hold the upper hand in this fixture as they have won 63 out of the 131 games between these two sides in all competitions compared to West Brom’s 32.
– The Reds have won 2 of their last 5 meetings against the Baggies, while the rest have resulted in a draw.
– West Brom have the second worst scoring record in the Premier League this season, finding the back of the net only on 33 occasions in their 37 outings.
While Liverpool might field a second string team, there is definitely a lot of quality in it. They would not be pushovers and Tony Pulis knows that. We expect the game to end in a 1-1 draw.