Liverpool face a second away fixture in a row this week, with a trip to the Midlands to play West Brom coming on Sunday, eight days after going to Stoke. A similar result would be satisfactory, but a repeat of the shocking first half endured last time out would be unacceptable.
A traditionally difficult game, Liverpool have not won at West Brom since 2011, drawing three and losing one since. Results last weekend mean that Liverpool can afford to draw here, but three points would be ideal. Only a loss would be a really bad outcome.
Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson will still be missing through injury, but are expected to return to training early next week, and should be fit for the final five games. Emre Can and Lucas, then, should both play, whilst Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino are likely to be joined in the front line by Divock Origi again, with Daniel Sturridge on the bench.
Mamadou Sakho’s recent performances for Crystal Palace have led to people in some quarters claiming Liverpool should never have let him go. In reality, this was never about ability, but poor attitude, although that has not put off some of his suitors.
Jurgen Klopp, however, confirmed today that there is no agreement in place with Palace over a transfer once his loan deal expires in the summer, leaving Liverpool to tout him around to the highest bidder.
“There is no clause in the loan deal for them (Crystal Palace) to buy him automatically,” the German said. Palace, Southampton and Napoli are amongst those interested in taking the Frenchman, who will certainly move on.
Klopp also praised the opposition as he usually does.
“West Brom played an outstanding season. We know about their qualities, their style and their experience. They are maybe the most experienced in the Premier League”.
Klopp’s former team also got a mention in the press conference, as could well be expected in light of the incident prior to the game against Monaco in the Champions League. Thankfully, only Marc Bartra received a minor injury, and everyone else escaped unscathed.
“I saw the game and I was really proud of Borussia Dortmund and how they handled it [the bomb scare],” he said of his former club. Dortmund lost 3-2 to Monaco when the game was played the following day, but are simply thankful nothing more serious occurred.
“It was a really difficult moment,” he concluded, understandably not wanting to into too much detail on the matter.
Klopp also expressed his surprise at the lack of a Liverpool player on the PFA Player of the Year award shortlist. Sadio Mane was perhaps most likely to appear, but the six players chosen in front of him are more than deserving of their places. Klopp was never likely to say anything different.
Team achievements are far more significant, and Liverpool can take another small step towards completing their target for the year by picking up some points here. Three points here and the top four will be within touching distance.
WHEN DOES THE GAME KICK OFF?
The match starts at 13:30 GMT and is live on Sky Sports.
WHO IS THE REFEREE?
Jon Moss – the 46 year old has been part of the elite referee group since 2011, and is well-known by all the teams by now.
However, Moss has refereed both teams very little so far this season. He was at the Hawthorns to see West Brom go out of the FA Cup in the third round to Derby County, at Anfield when Liverpool knocked Tottenham out of the EFL Cup and in charge of the away fixture for the Reds against Middlesbrough.
No team has scored more goals from corners (14) throughout this season than West Brom.
Liverpool: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Milner; Lucas, Can, Wijnaldum; Firmino, Origi, Coutinho
West Brom: Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Nyom; Phillips, Fletcher, Livermore, Morrison, Chadli; Rondon
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