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Preview: Liverpool vs. West Bromwich Albion - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides predicted lineups, team news and a full match preview of Liverpool's Premier League clash with struggling West Bromwich Albion at Anfield.

Liverpool will have a quick chance to respond to their Merseyside derby draw with Everton when they host West Bromwich Albion at Anfield on Wednesday night.

The Reds go into the game still fourth in the Premier League table, but defeat against Alan Pardew's struggling Baggies could see them end the weekend as low as seventh.


Liverpool

Dishevelled Reds boss Jurgen Klopp watches on during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Chelsea on November 25, 2017© SilverHub

For all of the plaudits that have been levelled at Liverpool's attacking quartet, there have also been a number of occasions where the Reds have dropped points due largely to a failure to take their chances.

One cannot argue with the statistics; Manchester City are the only Premier League team to have scored more goals across all competitions this season, Liverpool set a new English record for the number of Champions League goals scored in a group stage and the Reds boast the league's top scorer in Mohamed Salah.

However, Liverpool are a massive 16 points adrift of Man City already and had to wait until the final matchday to book their place in the last 16 of the Champions League, where they will face Porto.

The goals are not translating into the points they should do, then, and while Liverpool have been guilty of failing to kill matches off on occasion, the main bulk of the blame must lie with the defence.

Teams know that there is always a chance to score against Liverpool, who have dropped eight points from winning positions in the Premier League already this season - not to mention their Champions League collapse when they blew a 3-0 half-time lead against Sevilla.

That tally grew further on Sunday when Dejan Lovren's clumsy challenge on Dominic Calvert-Lewin resulted in an Everton penalty, and Wayne Rooney duly dispatched it to take full advantage of their only meaningful attack of the entire game.

West Brom will surely be tempted to employ similar tactics having seen Liverpool fail to win despite enjoying 79% possession, 20 more shots and 11 more corners than their Merseyside rivals, although the Reds were let off the hook for that slip-up to some extent with Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal all dropping points as well.

The battle for the top six will not always be so forgiving, though, and in Wednesday's clash between the two teams who have drawn the most Premier League games this season, Jurgen Klopp will know that another stalemate could be a lot more damaging than the last.

It is worth remembering that Liverpool are on a 10-game unbeaten streak across all competitions and have not lost any of their 12 matches at Anfield so far this season, making them one of only two remaining unbeaten teams at home in the league.

The Reds have drawn as many games as they have won in front of their own fans, though, so they will be desperate to return to winning ways with this midweek fixture.

Recent Premier League form: WWDWWD
Recent form (all competitions): DDWWWD


West Brom

Eagles manager Alan Pardew watches on during the Premier League game between Crystal Palace and Southampton on December 3, 2016© SilverHub

On paper, it looked like a fairly kind start to Pardew's reign at West Bromwich Albion with Crystal Palace and Swansea City - the last two teams to occupy the foot of the table - in his first two games.

However, the Baggies have taken just one point from those two relegation showdowns to leave them only outside the relegation zone on goal difference, just two points clear of rock-bottom Palace and with their lowest Premier League points haul after 16 games since 2008-09.

West Brom are still searching for their first goal under Pardew too, having played out a stalemate with Palace at The Hawthorns before Wilfried Bony's late strike condemned them to defeat at the Liberty Stadium.

Suddenly West Brom's hopes look pretty bleak in midwinter, with the Baggies facing Liverpool and Manchester United in their next two games before a trip to Stoke and back-to-back home outings against Everton and Arsenal to see out December.

It is now 15 matches without a win in any competition for West Brom, stretching all the way back to their opening three games of the season, and no team has won fewer Premier League games than the Baggies during the current campaign.

Matters only get worse when looking at their away form, with only one win from their 17 Premier League games on the road this calendar year, picking up just eight points from the 51 on offer in that time.

Just four teams have accrued fewer away points in the top flight this term, while only Huddersfield Town and Crystal Palace have scored fewer goals too, with the Baggies scoring just twice in their last six games on the road.

It is not ideal form for a trip to Anfield, although West Brom's defensive record does give them a glimmer of hope. Pardew's side have not conceded more than one goal in any of their last five away games, while home and away only Swansea have conceded fewer in the bottom six.

There will not be many Baggies fans expecting much from their next two games, though, and plenty will be gearing up for the very real possibility of spending Christmas in the bottom three.

Recent form: LLDDDL


Team News

A sultry Philippe Coutinho during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Everton on December 10, 2017© Offside

Klopp's controversial decision to rest Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino may have backfired in the Merseyside derby, but the German defended his rotation policy and so could leave some key players on the bench again for this match.

Coutinho and Firmino should both return but, with Klopp tending to withhold at least one of that front four when rotating recently, 19-goal Salah and/or Sadio Mane could miss out.

The likes of Georginio Wijnaldum and Emre Can will both be hopeful of a recall too, while Andrew Robertson is expected to continue at left-back due to the ongoing absence of Alberto Moreno.

Liverpool have no new injury concerns, though, with Joel Matip, Marko Grujic and Nathaniel Clyne joining Moreno on the sidelines.

West Brom, meanwhile, will hand a late fitness test to Matt Phillips following a hamstring injury, but Pardew is still expected to be without a number of first-team players.

The match is likely to come too soon for Gareth Barry, who is currently sidelined with a thigh injury, while Nacer Chadli, Craig Dawson and James Morrison are all a couple of weeks away from returning to action.

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Klavan, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Can, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Coutinho

West Brom possible starting lineup:
Foster; Nyom, Hegazi, Evans, Gibbs; McClean, Livermore, Yacob, Field, Brunt; Rondon


Head To Head

Liverpool are unbeaten in their last eight meetings with West Brom, winning four and drawing four of those since ending a run of three consecutive Premier League defeats at the hands of the Baggies.

The Reds won both fixtures last season, including a 2-1 triumph at Anfield when Mane and Coutinho were both on the scoresheet in a game which took Liverpool joint-top of the table.

West Brom's last win at Anfield came in February 2013, when Romelu Lukaku was amongst the scorers in a 2-0 victory over Brendan Rodgers's side.


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We say: Liverpool 3-0 West Brom

Liverpool will be eager to bounce back from those dropped points against Everton and, despite that derby result, they come into the game in good form. West Brom, on the other hand, cannot buy a win at the moment and it is a big ask for them to get anything out of this contest.


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Who will win Wednesday's Premier League clash between Liverpool and West Brom?

Liverpool
Draw
West Brom
Liverpool
89.2%
Draw
2.7%
West Brom
8.1%
Eden Hazard in action during the Champions League game between Chelsea and Qarabag on September 12, 2017
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