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Preview: Liverpool vs. West Bromwich Albion

Sports Mole takes a look at the key talking points ahead of Liverpool's Premier League clash with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

Even the most loyal of Liverpool supporters have to admit that the team are not meeting the lofty expectations they set for themselves last season.

The impact of Luis Suarez's move to Barcelona has been analysed over and over again, but Brendan Rodgers will know that the problem goes much deeper as they prepare to host West Bromwich Albion on Saturday afternoon.

Their struggles carried over to the Champions League on Wednesday as they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Basel, just a few days after being held to a frustrating draw in the Merseyside derby.

In response, Rodgers could be forced to make changes once again as he looks for the best way to get the most out of his new signings, with Mario Balotelli expected to keep his place in attack.

Daniel Sturridge is reported to be making good progress in his recovery from a hamstring problem, but is unlikely to be ready for the visit of the Baggies, while Joe Allen will return from his own injury after the international break.

When you're struggling to find your top form, it's not ideal to be facing a side who are full of confidence, but that's the challenge for Liverpool at Anfield.

West Brom have enjoyed a successful few weeks thanks to three successive wins in the league and cup, and they will be optimistic about their chances of causing an upset.

A big factor behind their form has been the performances of Saido Berahino, who scored twice in the 4-0 thrashing of Burnley on Sunday, while Joleon Lescott has added vital quality to the defence.

Alan Irvine was also able to reveal good news this week as he confirmed that record signing Brown Ideye could return to the squad after battling an ankle problem he picked up last month.

Recent form

Liverpool: WLWLLD

West Brom: DDLLWW

Possible starting lineups

Liverpool: Mignolet, Manquillo, Lovren, Skrtel, Moreno, Gerrard, Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling, Lallana, Balotelli

West Brom: Foster, Wisdom, Lescott, Dawson, Pocognoli, Dorrans, Morrison, Gardner, Brunt, Sessegnon, Berahino

Sports Mole says: 2-0


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Liverpool's Italian striker Mario Balotelli plays during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at White Hart Lane in London on August 31, 2014
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1Manchester CityMan City32235467234474
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd30179458332560
3Leicester CityLeicester30175853341956
4Chelsea31159750311954
5Liverpool31157953371652
6West Ham UnitedWest Ham30157848371152
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs30147951321949
8Everton29145104138347
9Leeds UnitedLeeds31143144949045
10Aston Villa301351243331044
11Arsenal30126124035542
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves31108133141-1038
13Crystal Palace31108133352-1938
14Southampton30106143953-1436
15Burnley3089132440-1633
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton30711123338-532
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3078153050-2029
18Fulham32511162442-1826
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom3049172559-3421
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd3042241752-3514

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