West Bromwich Albion vs Liverpool Preview: Can the Baggies mount the great escape again?

West Bromwich Albion vs Liverpool Preview: Can the Baggies mount the great escape again?

Match preview of the Premier League clash between West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool at the Hawthorns on Saturday lunchtime

neil-leverett
Neil Leverett

Having pulled off a shock win against Manchester United last Sunday, the seemingly relegation-doomed West Bromwich Albion look to record successive wins this weekend against Liverpool, and reignite hopes a hugely unlikely relegation escape act at the Hawthorns.

After Jay Rodriguez's second half headed effort stunned Old Trafford less than a week ago, the Baggies go in search of another precious three points in the West Midlands, against a Reds side eyeing Tuesday nights's UEFA Champions League semi-final against AS Roma at Anfield as a priority.

Boing back in Baggies' step

Since the dismissal of Alan Pardew from the West Brom dugout, the hosts have shown signs of pride for the shirt once more and their performances have displayed so.

In the two games under the stewardship of caretaker boss Darren Moore, the former Baggies defender has rounded his charges and instilled a sense of purpose back into their play, and the genuine belief that there is still hope of an unlikely, Phoenix from the Ashes-type houdini act of escapology.

Having taken four points from their last two however, the task of even drawing level with struggling Stoke City and Southampton looms some way in the distance at a gap of four and five points respectively - even before contemplating the visit of an in-form Liverpool side.

Reds eyeing European glory

Having disposed of Premier League champions - and strong favourites to lift the European Cup in Kyiv next month - Manchester City in the quarter-finals, the Reds are set for a semi-final showdown with the Giallorossi on Merseyside in midweek.

That could prove somewhat of a distraction this weekend, with it unclear as to what sort of starting XI boss Jürgen Klopp may name on Saturday lunchtime, with particular regard to golden boot-chasing Mo Salah now on 30 league goals this campaign.

Nevertheless, the visitors are unbeaten in almost three months since they lost 1-0 to Swansea City back in January and seem capable of getting a result no matter who the personnel on show.

Balance of power

Like against many of the top six, West Brom have a decent record on the road but on their own turf the story in rather different.

West Brom are without a home win versus their opponents since 2012, and have won just twice since that date - both at Anfield - most recently back in Janaury, when the Baggies inflicted another surprise result in the Emirates FA Cup fourth-round led by Rodriguez's brace.

Aside from that, the Reds recent rap sheet in the West Midlands is hardly anything to write home about however, with their 1-0 win almost a year ago to the day last season the only win of note against their opponents.

Team News

Both Jonny Evans and Hal Robson-Kanu are expected to be passed fit for the game, despite ongoing issues with knee and the effects of concussion respectively.

Midfielder Nacer Chadli will have to pass a late fitness test, but Gareth Barry and James Morrison are both absent having been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

As documented, Klopp may elect to rest some of his star names ahead of Tuesday night. 

Nathaniel Clyne has picked up a muscle strain just a few weeks back from his return from injury and is ruled out, as is centre-back Joel Matip who will miss the rest of the season with a thigh injury.

Full-back Joe Gomez could return from an ankle problem, if so Trent Alexander-Arnold could be rested for the Champions League.

Midfield duo Adam Lallana and Emre Can are also both ruled out, but could make their returns for the final game of the season.

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