Liverpool will be looking to advance in this season’s FA Cup and against West Brom, they will hope to get back to winning ways.
Liverpool eased past Merseyside rivals Everton in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup the last time out with new boy Virgil Van Dijk scoring a late winner on his much-anticipated debut. Between that day and today, Liverpool put a stop to Manchester City’s unbeaten start to their season and last week lost to Premier League rock-bottom side, Swansea.
In the 4th round, they face another one of Premier League’s relegation battlers in West Brom. Liverpool has won the FA cup an impressive seven times, and are into the 4th round for the 7th consecutive year, although have bowed out at this stage in the last two seasons. Wolves were the winners last season when they faced Liverpool in this round.
West Brom will be clear underdogs for this clash, but their manager Alan Pardew has a credible pedigree in the competition having reached the final thrice in his career, first in 1990 with Crystal Palace as a player, then in 2006 with West Ham as their manager and finally in 2016 while managing Crystal Palace.
The Premier League relegation battle aside, Pardew will be hoping to steer his team as far as possible in the FA Cup to improve what has been a disappointing season so far. Jurgen Klopp, whose side are fighting a battle for the top four in the league would be gunning for Cup success in the hope of landing his first Liverpool trophy.
Team news and Tactics
After a recent goalkeeping decision, Klopp is set to start Mignolet in goal while Liverpool Captain Jordan Henderson is set to return after missing out a month with an injury. Centre-back Dejan Lovren is also set to return after recovering from an illness, as well as Alberto Moreno who had been out with an ankle injury since December 6th.
Adam Lallana, who recently had an injury set back after only recently returning from a long lay off is set to miss the clash with a minor muscle tear. Ragnar Klavan too has a muscle problem and will miss the clash. James Milner who suffered a dead leg will be assessed before the game before Klopp decides on his involvement.
Liverpool are not short of attacking options up front, and Klopp will make a decision on whether to stick to their deadly trio of Firmino, Mane and Salah or to go with his bench options of Ings and Solanke. Although the biggest of problems Liverpool have are in Defence and it seems new signing Virgil Van Dijk will surely start.
Alberto Moreno is back in full training but will have a test before his inclusion is confirmed. In the case of his absence, Robertson could retain his place at left-back or Klopp could also give Alexander-Arnold another run in the team.
Probable Lineup – (4-3-3) Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Lovren, Robertso; Henderson, Can, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Salah, Mane, Solanke.
Team news and tactics:
Alan Pardew has no new injuries to contend with in his team, but faces a dilemma to either stick with his Premier League team or to give other fringe players a chance in such a big game. His biggest concern would, however, be to organise a defence capable of facing Liverpool’s deadly trio of attackers.
Another major concern for Pardew would be the focus of wantaway center-back Jonny Evans who is heavily linked with a move to Arsenal, while Manchester City are also believed to be in the running.
Up front, Pardew could start Jay Rodriguez, noting the pacey forward could do some damage to a Liverpool defence which has shown too many weakness this season. Salomon Rondon could also start the game, either in place of Rodriguez or play alongside the English striker.
Probable Lineup: (4-4-1-1) Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Hegazy, Gibbs; Phillips, Krychowiak; Barry, Brunt, Rodriguez; Rondón.
- Liverpool will be hosting West Brom for the fourth occasion in the FA Cup, with the Reds yet to defeat their Midlands opponents (D2 L1). They drew 1-1 in a sixth-round replay in April 1968.
- Since a run of five successive FA Cup wins at Anfield between January 2012 and January 2014, Liverpool have won just two of their last seven (D4 L1), winning in the third round this season against Everton.
- West Brom have progressed in just one of their last nine FA Cup ties against Premier League opponents, with six of those ties coming as a Premier League team themselves.
- Liverpool are now unbeaten in 19 successive games at Anfield in all competitions (W12 D7 L0) and haven’t been defeated there since 23rd April 2017 (1-2 vs Crystal Palace in the Premier League).
Player to Watch
Simon Mignolet (Liverpool)
Liverpool’s goalkeepers have come under heavy criticism for their performances this season, especially Simon Mignolet. The Belgian had been Liverpool’s first choice keeper when the season began, but after a horrendous performance against Arsenal in December, Klopp rang in the changes and has now instated Karius as his first choice shot-stopper.
Simon Mignolet now, must be content with a place on the bench, although the cup games could really prove to be an opportunity for the Belgian to show the manager what he is capable of. An error-free performance could go a long way in persuading Klopp to give him another chance in the league, if Karius underperforms from here on.
West Brom too are Premier League opponents and the FA Cup 4th round could represent a good platform for Mignolet to reclaim his place from Karius.
Liverpool 2-1 West Brom
West Brom will be clear underdogs, with the side’s massive struggle to stay up in the Premier League could reflect on their performances against Liverpool in the 4th round. The Merseysiders have a wealth of attacking options as well squad depth in multiple positions, despite the injuries to several first-team players.
A second string Liverpool attack could also be damaging for West Brom, who need to defend with their lives if they hope to get a result out of this tie. Although the Reds’ superiority in quality and personnel would swing the tie in their favour.
Liverpool could be expected to concede a goal or two considering how their defence has fared so far this season. But the injection of a new defender in Virgil Van Dijk could help shore up the defence.