Liverpool vs. West Bromwich Albion Preview: Reds seek Cup response versus Baggies

Liverpool vs. West Bromwich Albion Preview: Reds seek Cup response versus Baggies

Match preview of the FA Cup Fourth Round clash between Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion at Anfield on Saturday evening

Neil Leverett

The FA Cup breaks with tradition this weekend, as the Fourth Round sees a weekend evening kick-off for the first time in the modern era on Saturday, as Liverpool host West Bromwich Albion at Anfield in one of only two all-Premier League clashes.

In the league standings, both sides occupy polar-opposite ends of the table, but their recent form suggests a rather juxtaposed picture.

The Reds having lost in surprise fashion to Swansea City on Monday, are in the rare position of having to bounce back from adversity, having suffered their first loss since mid-October only four days ago.

The visitors on the other hand, while still mired in a relegation battle, are now unbeaten in the last three games in all competitions. Add to that the Baggies recent good record on Merseyside, the odds of another upset in front of the Kop are not insurmountable.

Klopp looking for response

In Jürgen Klopp's own words from his side's loss at the Liberty Stadium, the German said that his charges had "not delivered," adding that he wanted Liverpool to strike back against West Brom.

After a run of 18 games without a loss - with many having thought that Saturday's hosts had lost their penchant for losing against so-called lesser opposition after a big win the previous Matchday at the Etihad - this will be an interesting test for Klopp's cavalier side to overcome.

Whilst goals this season have not been hard to come by, their remains a doubt when it comes to the defence, even after the addition of Virgil van Dijk.

Baggies finding feet under Pardew

Since taking over the reigns at the Hawthorns after Tony Pulis' dismissal in late November, the West Midlanders had taken just five points in five games since Alan Pardew took charge of West Brom - that was until the Third Round of the Cup earlier this month.

Since toppling Exeter City, the visitors have gone on to notch their first league win since August, and having drawn last weekend at Goodison Park are yet to taste defeat again, boosted by the return to form of front-man Jay Rodriguez. Janaury has been a profitable month for Pardew.

The 56-year-old Londoner knows however, Liverpool will be stinging from league loss earlier this week and that will be the message in preparation for this game.

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Visitors battling history

West Brom have come out on top on two occasions since 2010 at Anfield, but other than that Pardew's men face a battle against recent  history this weekend.

Focusing on the previous meetings in the FA Cup alone, their first meeting stretches back over a century ago, when Liverpool won 2-1 at Stoney Lane in 1897.

When the duo last met in the competition in 1968 however, it was West Brom who came out victors in a three-legged affair after the quarter-final replay was abandoned in front of over 53,000 fans at the Hawthorns and replayed at the former home of Manchester City, Maine Road, which the Baggies won 2-1. 

Team News

Both sides have a number of injury concerns ahead of the clash at Anfield. 

Midfielders James Milner and Jordan Henderson are both major doubts for the game, with the former struggling to recover from a dead leg whilst Henderson has a hamstring issue.

Defensive duo Alberto Moreno (ankle) and Ragnar Klavan (muscle injury) could also miss out. Dejan Lovren is also considered unlikely to play with an illness.

Daniel Sturridge is also nursing a hamstring problem, but after being linked with a move away may be left out. Adam Lallana is out but could return in midweek, whilst Nathaniel Clyne is closing on a return to action in February.

The Baggies' training camp have been struck by a virus this week. Rodriguez, Ahmed Hegazi, James McClean, Gareth McAuley, Sam Field and 'keeper Ben Foster are all struggling to make the trip to Anfield.

Both Nacer Chadli and James Morrison are both definitely absent however, with thigh and achilles problems.