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WEST BROMWICH ALBION

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LIVERPOOL

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The Hawthorns, West Bromwich

October 29, 2011; 17:30 BST

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With an improved squad this season, it almost feels like Liverpool walk out having to prove a point in almost every game. This is largely due to their poor League campaign last season where their frailties in all facets of the game were not only exposed but also exploited. Yes, Kenny did come and steady the ship a bit but Liverpool did not finish where they intended to and that was a reflection of the Roy Hodgson era.

This Saturday the stepfather of Liverpool FC faces the guardian angel. Roy Hodgson was on the winning side on both the occasions last season when these two sides met and it wasnai??i??t really the best of days for Dalglish; having to watch his side lose 1 ai??i?? 2 away from home. However, with the engines now lubricated and fresh cogs fit into the wheel, Liverpool FC will be travelling to the Hawthorns looking to exact revenge. West Brom have picked up just eleven points in their opening nine games and find themselves strolling in the bottom half of the table whereas Dalglish and his army are trying their best to climb the ladder despite slipping every now and then. A win for Liverpool will bring them closer to the fourth spot whose current occupants are Newcastle United. However, if Roy Hodgsonai??i??s side beat the Reds, then they will shoot up to the top half of the table and in fact, will park themselves just behind Liverpool.

Ai??

Hodgson Up Against His Nemesis

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Team News & Tactical Brief

West Bromwich Albion

Roy Hodgson will be without his ai???Jack in the Boxai??i?? player Shane Long. The Republic of Ireland international was earlier a transfer target for Liverpool but following the lack of pursuit by the club, decided to arrive in the Premier League at the house of West Brom. Long is currently ruled out of action for at least six weeks after damaging his knee in a crunching tackle with Aston Villaai??i??s Alan Hutton last weekend.

Paul Scharner and Jerome Thomas have been held back from training for a major part of the week, due to their knee and foot injuries. However, they are still expected to retain their places in the line-up. Gabriel Tamas is well on his way to recovery from a thigh injury and boost The Albions’ defensive options. And finally, midfielder Graham Dorrans is expected to be available for the visit of Liverpool but is expected to warm the bench.

West Bromai??i??s game bore a free-flowing, attacking nature under Di Matteo but the defense was equally struggling and this was one of the main reasons the Baggies were pushed into the relegation zone towards the end of the last season. However, with the arrival of Roy Hodgson, one of the first areas of improvement was the defense. A contemporary, British-style defense was central to the Baggiesai??i?? survival in the top flight and till date, plays a major role in the teamai??i??s performances on the pitch.

Steven Reid and Nicky Shorey at their respective full-back positions alongside McAuley and Olsson in the heart of defense has worked well for Hodgson and the team. Luis Suarez is not the easiest player to come up against and this has been proven to anyone who has witnessed his performances against Arsenal, Everton and recently, Stoke City in the Carling Cup. His loitering presence around the box is always unpredictable and the West Brom backline will be wary of him. Scharner should tie his laces tight now that Steven Gerrard is back in the lineup for Liverpool.

Up in attack, Hodgson is most likely to bring in Somen Tchoyi to partner Peter Odemwingie in the absence Shane Long. Odemwingie has fared well at the Hawthorns and has grown to be a reliable asset for the team. However, his current form is well below his peak form and Liverpool would be grateful for that since he was the main architect of their victory over the Reds last season.

Probable Starting Lineup (4-4-2) : Foster, Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Shorey, Brunt, Mulumbu, Scharner, Thomas, Odemwingie, Tchoyi

Probable Starting Lineups

Liverpool FC

Dalglish & Co donai??i??t have any injury concerns ahead of this fixture and the King will have a full strength squad at his disposal. Glen Johnson was the latest player to come out of the treatment room and marked his return in the game against Norwich. Lucas, who was suspended after reaching his quota of five yellow cards was precluded from last weekendai??i??s encounter against Norwich but was part of the starting XI that played against Stoke in the midweek Carling Cup fixture.

Liverpool havenai??i??t really enjoyed the season in terms of improving performances, often finishing in draws when they had a good hold on the game. Following draws against Manchester United and Norwich City, the team realizes that are on the right path but everybody including Kenny Dalglish is waiting for that stroke of luck that will drop the Reds on the upward curve. West Brom is the last game for the month of October and the Gaffer realizes the vitality of this game because the month of November could be the most difficult period for the Reds with Swansea, Chelsea and Manchester City lined up in queue. A win here will put them in good stead and strengthen the overall team confidence and spirit which is an important factor when facing the big guns.

Coming to the game on Saturday, the Reds are most likely to start with Carragher and Skrtel at the back with Glen Johnson and Luis Enrique employed at full back. The return of Lucas will solidify the Liverpool midfield which then gives Gerrard more leverage in attack alongside Adam. Henderson played a good, albeit unsuccessful cameo against the Red Devils and was also instrumental in setting up Suarezai??i?? second goal against Stoke in the Carling Cup. This has led to a strong competition for the right-wing spot between the England U-21 star and Dutch veteran Dirk Kuyt. If Liverpool is lined up against one of the big Premier League guns in the quarter finals of the Carling Cup, then fielding Kuyt would be the consequential choice. For the 18 million pounds paid for Henderson, it would only be logical to play him against mid-table teams so he can blend in and get accustomed to the team style; and this is what we are likely to witness on Saturday.

Probable Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1) : Reina, Carragher, Skrtel, Johnson, Enrique, Lucas, Gerrard, Adam, Downing, Henderson, Suarez

Key Facts

  • Liverpool have won nine of the 10 PL meetings between West Brom and Liverpool, losing the other.
  • West Brom have scored the highest proportion of goals in the top flight this season in the first half, 78%.
  • Liverpool have hit the woodwork nine times, more than any other team in the league this season.
  • Chris Brunt has missed three of his last five penalties in the Premier League (two saved, one missed), but the two he scored both came against Liverpool.

TheHardTackleai??i??s Player to Watch Out For

Stewart Downing (Liverpool)

Downing was brought in with a lot of expectation. The importance of a winger in the Liverpool squad is not something that didnai??i??t meet the eye and his arrival was to alleviate the trepidation surrounding overall squad strength. However, Downing finds himself falling a tad short of expectations at Anfield so far. But Dalglish still continues to trust the England international and believes that his quality will eventually emanate on the pitch. There is no dearth of chances for Downing, for he is a genuine winger with good pace and crossing abilities. A good performance at Hawthorns this weekend will surely raise some eyebrows and silence a few critics.

Ai??

Downing – Needs to Take it up a Notch

 

TheHardTackleai??i??s Prediction

West Bromwich Albion 0 – 2 Liverpool FC

It is bound to be tough game against the Baggies but Dalglish has enough ammunition to overcome Roy Hodgson’s men this weekend. The Premier League is still getting used to Suarez and with the return of Gerrard, Liverpool FC have restored their missing link. This game belongs to the Reds.

TheHardTackleai??i??s Blast from the Past

Ai??.

West Brom v Liverpool at The Hawthorns (1980-81)

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9 Responses to “West Bromwich Albion v Liverpool – Preview: Dalglish Meets Hodgson to Improve Premier League Form”

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  1. Chris H says:

    Let me correct some of that for you.

    Nicky Shorey is currently not in the starting line up and hasn’t been for a few games, and conversely, Scharner has played in the last two games and is not injured. Jerome Thomas is not injured and played in the last game against Villa. Odemwingie only joined us last season. Tamas won’t be returning, he is neither injured, nor in line for a starting position.

    • Uday Telkar says:

      Hi Chris,

      Well I would like to give you an update on what you just said:

      Scharner has started in the Premier League games but the two international fixtures for Austria have left him with a knee problem and he wasn’t even training last week. Tamas injured his thigh during training and was also absent for a bit but is now back and is on track to face Liverpool. Jerome Thomas was sidelined for the entire week due to a bruised foot.

      Nicky Shorey only didn’t feature in the game against Aston Villa. Before that, he came on a sub for Jones against Wolves and before that game, he started for WBA against Sunderland in the away fixture.

      I hope this clears your confusion.

      • Chris H says:

        Ok let’s try again shall we?

        The last time Scharner played for Austria was October 11th, he played the whole match. He has not been injured recently, he was dropped due to poor form, he has come back against Wolves and Villa and played superbly.

        Mentioning Tamas is irrelevant as he has not featured for weeks and is not in line to face Liverpool.

        Shorey did not come on as a sub against Wolves.

        Are you just dreaming these facts up?

  2. red2death says:

    We owe Roy a lot more than 2-0. But I guess that’ll have to do for now.

  3. Dogzenkatz says:

    Our dominance to goals ratio is alarming. It may very well cost us the title in future seasons – and possibly our top 4 spot this season. We are the 3rd most creative team after City and Chelsea, but our conversion rate is 4th from the bottom. United don’t even figure in the top 5 where creativity is concerned, but they know how to avoid losing games they ought to. Downing and Henderson aren’t making themselves available enough.