Liverpool vs West Bromwich Albion Preview: Struggling Baggies looking for a lift against in-form Reds

Liverpool host a West Bromwich Albion side on the verge of the longest winless run in the club's history at Anfield in the Premier League on Wednesday night.

Liverpool vs West Bromwich Albion Preview: Struggling Baggies looking for a lift against in-form Reds
(Picture: Getty Images - Justin Tallis)

West Bromwich Albion will hope for a shock result to kickstart Alan Pardew's managerial tenure when they make the testing trip to Anfield to face Liverpool on Wednesday night.

The Baggies followed up a hard-working goalless draw at home to Crystal Palace with a disappointing late defeat at fellow relegation-battlers Swansea City at the weekend.

West Brom have offered little more attacking invention than they did under the recently-sacked Tony Pulis but will hope for a solid defensive performance against the Reds.

Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool suffered a disappointment of their own in failing to beat rivals Everton in the Merseyside derby on Sunday despite outclassing their opponents, failing to turn domination into goals and paying the price for Dejan Lovren's naïve decision-making.

Yet they still stretched their unbeaten run to 10 games in all competitions, having netted in every single game across that run and scored three or more in eight of them - notching 34 in total.

They have swept aside lesser opposition with ease this season, in great contrast to the struggles they endured against defensive sides last term, although Klopp came in for criticism for his rotation policy in the derby.

He chose to rest Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino, the former having netted a hat-trick in the Champions League days before, and Liverpool paid the price with a performance lacking in creativity.

The two are likely to be re-called to the starting line-up here, though the Premier League's top scorer Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané could consequently be rested, West Brom likely left needing to produce a dogged defensive display.

Yet they have their potential attacking threats, their height at set-pieces among them, and are capable of earning more than a point with the right game-plan.

Realistically however a point would be considered a good result having dropped into the relegation zone because of Crystal Palace's late win over Watford on Tuesday night. A draw would lift West Brom back above Palace given their superior goal difference.

If they do not win, the Black Country outfit's winless run will stretch to 16 games in all competitions, the longest in the club's 139-year history. 

Despite the visitors' form, Liverpool must ensure they are not complacent in their approach to the game as they look to remain on the coattails of Chelsea and ahead of Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in the top-four hunt.

 

Team news

Andrew Robertson could start back-to-back league games for Liverpool for the first time with Alberto Moreno out until the New Year with the ankle injury that kept him out of the Merseyside derby.

Midfielder Adam Lallana returned to full training this week having yet to start a match this season due to a lengthy thigh problem, but he is unlikely to start against the Baggies.

Klopp remains without centre-back Joël Matip due to an adductor issue, meaning Ragnar Klavan and Dejan Lovren are likely to start at centre-back again.

Daniel Sturridge was not in the match-day squad to face Everton due to a tight hamstring and will hope to be involved if he is passed fit.

Pardew will hope to call upon West Brom wingers Matt Phillips and Nacer Chadli, the two likely to face late fitness tests due to their hamstring and hip injuries.

A thigh muscle strain means Gareth Barry is unavailable, while defender Craig Dawson is likely to remain out with a knee injury and James Morrison continues to struggle with an achilles injury.

Chris Brunt could become the first ever West Brom player to make 250 Premier League appearances for the club, coming off the bench late on in the defeat at Swansea.

Recent form (all competitions)

Liverpool: DWWWD

West Bromwich Albion: LDDDL

 

Latest result

Liverpool 1-1 Everton (Salah)

Swansea City 1-0 West Bromwich Albion

Match facts

West Brom have won just four of 22 Premier League meetings against Liverpool (D4, L14).

Liverpool have not kept a clean sheet at home to West Brom since August 2010, conceding at least once in all of the six meetings since.

The Reds are unbeaten in their last 14 matches at Anfield in all competitions (W8, D6) since last April.

In eight Premier League fixtures at Anfield this season, Liverpool have conceded just three goals - having leaked 20 in total.

West Brom have not won any of their last 14 league games - their longest run without a top-flight win since a 16-game run between February and August 2008.

The Baggies have gone 15 games without victory in all competitions, equalling the club record they set in 1995-96.

West Brom have their lowest points tally after 16 games of a Premier League season since 2008-09 (12), having won just 13 of a possible 48 so far this season.

West Brom have failed to score in seven of their last 14 league matches (D7, L7).

Liverpool have scored their highest amount of goals after 25 fixtures of a season since 1986-87, scoring 63. They had 64 at the same stage 31 years ago.

Klopp has made 59 changes to his Liverpool starting eleven this season. Only Manchester United in 2002 have made more in Premier League history at this stage of the campaign.

Coutinho has been directly involved in 12 goals in his last 11 league games, scoring seven and assisting five.

Only Swansea City have a worse away record in the Premier League this season than West Brom, the Baggies having won only one of their eight fixtures on the road (D5, L2).

 

Referee

Paul Tierney is the man in the middle, overseeing his sixth Premier League match of the season.

The 36-year-old, who only oversaw his first top-flight game in August 2014, was the official for the Baggies' goalless draw with West Ham United in September.

He has only ever officiated one Liverpool game, a 0-0 FA Cup draw with Plymouth Argyle back in January.