WEST BROMWICH ALBION
August 29th, 2010, 3 PM BST.
As Liverpool tries to seal their 2,000th victory in 4,223 league games against West Brom at Anfield, Roy Hodgson would be ready for a fixture that could prove to be decisive for his Liverpool career, in the light of a fourth place finish the club is yearning for. Liverpool dropped 5 points in the first two encounters against Arsenal and Manchester City, any further goof-ups could prove to be disastrous as it could leave them with just 1 point after 3 games. This is a must win game for the Reds and with the star players returning to the main fold, things could not have been better!
On Thursday, Liverpool had traveled to Trabzonspor, Turkey, where they staggered to a late win, thereby qualifying for the Europa League Group stage. Trabzonspor are particularly notorious at home, having the potential to create upsets in a hostile environment for the away team. But, a resolute performance from the Liverpool squad, which was put to test without Gerrard and Torres, applied themselves in a manner that would only make Roy Hodgson less solicitous ,if not pleased.
It has been a busy fortnight at Anfield. After Javier Mascherano’s rebellion against the club that saved him from the mediocracy at West Ham, Barcelona have agreed to purchase the player over a transfer fee believed to be in the region of £21m. Meanwhile, it’s been reported that Raul Meireles has flown into Liverpool this morning and agreed personal terms in a £10.2m deal. Liverpool are also looking to sign Paul Konchesky from Fullham to cover up the left back position which looks vulnerable at the moment. Ola Toivonen and Bryan Ruiz have also been linked with a possible move to the Melwood.
By the sidelines
West Brom travel away from the Hawthorns second time this season. Having been battered by Chelsea on their previous road trip, it may not be the best of the times to play Liverpool at Anfield. However, The Baggies did manage a home win against Sunderland last week, displaying a solid performance at the back. It should not be difficult to predict that West Brom would park the bus near the box as soon as they arrive on the field. Breaking them down would be a tough task and therefore the Liverpool manager would most likely choose to play his preferred 4-4-2 system. Babel might start along side Torres, adding the pace which was missing at Eastlands. Johnson is expected to move freely on the right wing as the three center halves, along with Poulsen, should be good enough to handle the West Brom attack.
Probable Starting Line-ups
Liverpool – Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Carrager, Gerrard, Poulsen, Kuyt, Jovanovic, Torres, Babel.
How West Brom shapes up during the match largely depends on how effectively Dorrans, Brunnt and Morrison click in the mid field. Dorrans had an outstanding season last year and could be the linchpin as and when West Brom counter attack.
West Brom – Carson, Tamas, Pablo, Jara, Olsson, Brunt, Mulumbu, Dorrans, Thomas, Odemnwingie, Morrison.
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
As much as it may sound like a cliché, Steven Gerrard holds the key to unlock the West Brom defense. Liverpool like to move the ball through the center, and that is where the midfield maestro commands superiority over his counterparts. He is the heart of the current Liverpool line-up and a single flash of brilliance could be all that would be required to settle the tie.
If Liverpool score within the first 25 minutes without of course conceding anything, we might be upto a goal feast at Anfield. But considering the patchy form of the players, a 2-0 scoreline looks more plausible.