After a rather tedious display of football against their arch rivals Manchester United, Liverpool will be hoping for better returns when they host West Bromwich Albion on matchday nine of the Premier League on Saturday. The Jurgen Klopp led side have been in good form coming into the game, barring the draw against Manchester United and will be keen to consolidate their position in the top 4 with a positive result against West Brom.
Despite West Brom’s troubles over the last five matchdays, where they have won just once, drawing thrice and losing one, they can prove to be a tough nut to crack on their day, especially with their manager Tony Pulis’ penchant for churning out positive results in seemingly tough games.
The Merseyside club remain without the services of Joe Gomez while Mamadou Sakho remains sidelined from the squad for disciplinary issues. While Adam Lallana did feature against Manchester United on Monday and is deemed fit, it remains to be seen if Georginio Wijnaldum will be available for the game against the Baggies. The Dutch international was sorely missed by his side in their battle with the Red Devils, especially with Emre Can putting in a rather ordinary performance and Wijnaldum will need to start the game if fit.
Karius, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Lallana, Mane, Firmino, Coutinho
West Brom do not have any injury concerns going into the game against the Merseysiders and are expected to line-up in Pulis’ preferred 4-2-3-1 formation with Darren Fletcher partnering Yacob in the heart of the midfield. The side has been a hard nut to crack thus far and we expect the same to continue on the evening with a draw at the home of the high flying Liverpool being deemed a positive result for the side.
Foster, Dawson, McAuley, Olsson, Nyom, Yacob, Fletcher, Phillips, Chadli, McClean, Rondon
The Brazilian has prospered as a false nine under Jurgen Klopp and is arguably the best attacking player at the club at the moment. The Brazilian has been his side’s creator-in-chief, having created 21 chances in 7 appearances so far and has also found the back of the net on 3 occasions to add to his side’s credentials as the top attacking team in England this season.
Expected to be deployed alongside Coutinho and Mane and ahead of the likes of Lallana and Henderson, Firmino will not be devoid of quality around him and should he be afforded time and space on the ball by the West Brom players, he could prove to be the difference between the two sides come the end of the 90 minutes. A player who can not only dribble past opponents with ease but can also create space for himself as well as his teammates with his runs on and off the ball, Firmino will be critical to his side’s chances of breaking down the tight West Brom defensive unit.
The Belgium international endured a tough time in London with Tottenham, where he was generally used as a squad player. However, the move to West Brom seems to have ignited the magic for the midfielder as he has not only impacted the games he has been involved in, his creative displays as well as goal scoring abilities have come to the forefront at the club.
An athletic midfielder who can effectively function as his side’s engine, Chadli has already established himself as a key player for West Brom with his steely displays and will be keen to ensure that his side ekes out a positive result at Anfield. However, it is easier said than done, since not only will he have to contain the likes of Henderson and Lallana in midfield, he will also have to add to his side’s attacking threat.
However, a look at his previous performances reveals that the Belgian is more than capable of taking the game by the scruff of the neck and turn it around in his team’s favour and the West Brom faithful will be hoping he can do that against the Reds.
- The Reds have failed to win in their last 3 encounters against the Baggies in all competitions, with their previous 3 encounters ending in a draw.
- West Brom come into the game on the back of 3 consecutive draws in the League.
- Liverpool are currently unbeaten at home in their last 11 League games and will be eager to add to that number on Saturday.
- There have been 132 meetings in the past between the two sides across all competitions, with Liverpool winning on 62 occasions compared to West Brom’s 32 victories.
- Tony Pulis has a better record vs Liverpool FC than Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson. (Based on loss % of managers who have played at least 15 times vs LFC).
While Tony Pulis has a penchant for eking out positive results with steely displays in defence, we believe the gulf that exists between the two sides will prove to be the determining factor in the game, with Liverpool winning the game 3-1.