It is shaping up to be another nervous end to the season for Liverpool, even if the aim they are playing for will feel underwhelming compared to previous seasons. They are traveling to newly-relegated West Brom needing a win to close the gap on Leicester City and Chelsea in the race for top four. This week has been a positive one for the Reds, as they took six points from Manchester United and Southampton, but their earlier form means they have no margin for error. On paper, the trip to the Hawthorns is an attractive one, but Sam Allardyce will be demanding that his team finish the season on a high and he will relish the chance to hurt Liverpool’s Champions League challenge.
The upcoming summer will be crucial for West Brom. They have lots of decisions to make regarding Sam Allardyce’s position and several of the playing squad. There remains a base of talent that should be good enough to challenge for an immediate return to the top-flight, but they will need to sell a few to give them the best chance of doing that. Although they are relegated, players will want to finish the season on a high to show they are good enough for the Premier League. Sam Johnstone, Okay Yokuslu and Matheus Pereira are three players that will believe they should stay at this level. This is their opportunity to prove that against last season’s champions.
Liverpool will want to put this season behind them. They have been hampered by defensive injuries, fatigue and playing behind closed doors. Due to their high intensity, they bounce off supporters and it has been clear that the Reds have missed having fans in stadiums. Despite their struggles, they still have a great chance of finishing in the top four, with rivals Chelsea and Leicester due to face each other next week. It is important that Klopp’s side have no more slip-ups and win their remaining matches. If they do that, they should qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Sam Allardyce is currently unbeaten in his last five matches against Liverpool, winning one and drawing four.
Liverpool have failed to win eight of their last ten matches against teams that start the weekend in the bottom six of the Premier League table.
Although it took West Brom a while to show their quality, their recent form has been impressive and Matheus Pereira has been the standout performer. Supporters believed it was crucial to make the midfielder’s deal permanent last summer and he has proven that he belongs at this level. The 25-year-old has contributed ten goals and five assists in the league this season. Considering the Baggies have been adrift in the bottom three, those numbers are highly impressive. Since the international break, he has looked like he has a point to prove with five goals and two assists. There are fewer players in better form and that means he is a threat to Liverpool’s Champions League challenge. This is a chance for the Brazilian to attract interest ahead of the summer.
It was a slow start to the season for the right-back, but he has been back to his best in 2021 and he looks set to make it impossible for Gareth Southgate to leave him out this summer. Against Manchester United, he starred with an assist, but it was his underlying numbers that best showed his influence on the match. Alexander-Arnold had 87 touches, which was more than any other Liverpool player. He had four shots, five key passes, one tackle and three interceptions in an all-action display. He was popping up all over the pitch and he looks set to play a leading role in Liverpool’s attempts to finish in the top four. West Brom will look to set up deep and frustrate Liverpool like they did at Anfield. The 22-year-old’s creativity and progressive passing from deep could be crucial in helping the visitors to a crucial three points.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles is back after missing the match against parent club Arsenal. Robert Snodgrass and Branislav Ivanovic are missing out through injury.
Liverpool will hope that Ozan Kabak is passed fit to strengthen their defence. Ben Davies, Naby Keita and and James Milner are all doubts.
It is difficult to predict the performance of West Brom. Although it is difficult to imagine that they completely drop their performance level with Allardyce in charge, it is possible that it will now be an easier match for Liverpool. Klopp’s men looked back to their best against Manchester United with some excellent attacking combinations. If they deliver a similar showing on Sunday, they should have too much for the Baggies.
West Brom 0-3 Liverpool