WEST BROMWICH ALBION
The Hawthorns — West Bromwich
February 2, 2014 13:30 pm GMT
The last time the two sides locked horns, Liverpool managed a more than comfortable 4-1 win against West Brom, where Luis Suarez hit a delightful hat trick and Daniel Sturridge hit an even better lobbed goal. This was the match where all four goals for the Reds had class written all over them and the Reds looked more threatening with every minute.
For the Baggies, the appointment of Pepe Mel has not changed much. West Brom are still struggling and are surprisingly fighting to be above the bottom teams, instead of being in the top half of the table. The manager is indeed facing testing days. He has agreed to the fact that his club are now saving themselves from being relegated and are involved in the relegation fight.
Team News, Tactics, Predicted Lineup
West Bromwich Albion
West Brom lost the Midlands Derby against Aston Villa in the last game. They played in a match where the two clubs went toe-to-toe and gave in everything to come out with the victory. Unfortunately for new manager Pepe Mel, it was Paul Lambert’s team that edged them out and came back with three points after a tight scoreline of 4-3.
However, since Mel has taken over, West Bromwich Albion have not eluded their fans of poor football or of unconvincing displays. The club drew Everton in the Spaniard’s first Premier League game in charge and the Baggies lost 3-4 to Villa in a match where they seemed to be cruising. Therefore it can be said that the club is playing good football and can do well against a threatening Liverpool side.
West Bromwich Albion should be confident of the encounter as the club has won four of the last six matches it has played with the Reds. The club will look to stop the threatening Liverpool attack but should probably lay more importance at going out and scoring against a sub-par Liverpool defence, which is made worse by the fact that four of the Liverpool defenders are injured at the moment. The Baggies can take inspiration from Aston Villa, who did incredibly well against the Reds and countered them with effectiveness. Paul Lambert’s side came back with a point and made Liverpool’s life very difficult in the 2-2 draw. The Baggies too, should try and attack Liverpool and get behind the ball and net goals. For West Brom, “attack is the best form of defence” should be the motto in the game against Brendan Rodgers’s side.
West Brom will be without forwards Anelka, who limped off from the Villa match only after 25 minutes with a knee injury, and Stephane Sessegnon who is nursing a groin problem at the moment.
Predicted lineup (4-2-2-2): Foster; Reid, Lugano, Olsson, Ridgewell; Mulumbu, Yacob; Morrison, Brunt; Berahino, Anichebe
Liverpool go into this match with a positive mindset, having beaten Merseyside rivals 4-0 in the last match. The Reds put on a threatening display where the whole team put on a brilliant team display. The club put on a thrilling counter-attacking display and won the match convincingly against an Everton side which didn’t do much wrong. Liverpool scored three first half goals, which pretty much sealed the deal, but Luis Suarez couldn’t have gone goalless and his second half goal put the game to bed for the Reds.
Brendan Rodgers will be hoping for a similar sort of a display from the Reds when the club goes to take on Mel’s side. Liverpool can’t afford to be complacent as they know that even a point dropped will prove to be costly as there are eight clubs in contention for the top 4 spots. The Reds will want a victory and would look to its leading scorers, popularly known these days as SAS to get them the pivotal goals and help them edge closer to the top and cement their place in the top 4.
Liverpool’s defence remains a bit of an issue and the club will be without Mamadou Sakho (hamstring), Daniel Agger (calf), Lucas (knee), Glen Johnson (ankle), plus long-term knee absentees Jose Enrique. All the aforementioned players add to the defensive side of the game and clearly, their absense could prove to be an issue for the club. However, Liverpool did manage to keep a clean sheet against Everton and hence might look back at that match for inspiration. The club would probably use Steven Gerrard in the defensive mould again. The club captain looked more than comfortable against Everton and is starting to show that he can adjust to the deeper role.
Predicted lineup (4-3-3): Mignolet; Flanagan, Toure, Skrtel, Cisokkho; Gerrard, Henderson Coutinho; Sterling, Sturridge, Suarez
Player to watch out for
Despite Philippe Coutinho not being in the best of forms in the previous few matches, the Brazilian put on a much more improved performance during Tuesday’s derby game. The 21 year old had an influential outing against the Toffees. He pulled off an exquisite through ball for the second goal of the game and dominated the Everton defenders throughout the game. If Coutinho can put on a similar sort of display in Liverpool’s next match, Pepe Mel and West Bromwich Albion would have a lot on their hands. Yacob would be expected to deal with Liverpool’s attacking midfielder and the Baggies would have to shut the player off completely to make sure Suarez and Sturridge’s supply is cut off in a lot of way.
Liverpool 3 – 1 West Bromwich Albion
Brendan Rodgers’s side would be expected to put on another attacking masterclass and score goals at regular intervals. With the most lethal partnership in the league, Liverpool would be expected to add to the goal tally and score at least three goals. With the Liverpool defence not the first choice one, and it being very erratic form wise, West Bromwich Albion could possibly get a consolation goal.
- West Bromwich Albion have won just three of their last 15 Barclays Premier League games at the Hawthorns (D6 L6)
- Liverpool have only failed to score in one of their last 13 Barclays Premier League away games and have netted 33 in that run.
- Liverpool have kept just one clean sheet in their last 10 trips on the road and conceded 20 times in those matches.
- After losing the first nine Premier League meetings with Liverpool, West Bromwich Albion have won four of the last six (two defeats).
- Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have played a combined 33 Premier League games this season and scored 36 goals.
(stats courtesy- Yahoo! Sport)
Blast from the Past