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Preview: Liverpool vs. West Bromwich Albion

Sports Mole previews the Premier League match between Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion at Anfield.

Liverpool will be eyeing to return to winning ways in the Premier League when they face off against West Bromwich Albion at Anfield.

Meanwhile, the Baggies will be hoping to extend their unbeaten run in the top flight to four matches on Sunday.


Liverpool

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp holds the drinks bottles as he stands on the touchline during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 2© Getty Images

Liverpool put in their worst performance since the arrival of Jurgen Klopp in their 2-0 defeat to Newcastle United in their last Premier League match.

The Reds were unable to break down the Magpies at St James' Park and were cut open at the back as Martin Skrtel sent the ball into his own net while Georginio Wijnaldum sealed the victory with a late strike.

Klopp's men were slightly unforunate to see Alberto Moreno's strike ruled out for offside, with replays showing that the left-back was at least half a yard onside, but the club will have to perform better than they did last week to challenge for a place in the top four.

The German took the opportunity to rest some of his players during the week in their goalless draw against Sion in the Europa League, having already qualified for the next round of the tournament, so the Reds can have no excuses for a slip-up against the Baggies.

Liverpool have been a solid outfit under Klopp since his arrival in October, although they have only been able to keep two clean sheets in the seven matches under his charge in the top flight. The 46-year-old will be determined to improve that record over the course of the campaign.

Apart from their underwhelming display against the Magpies, Klopp's men had begun to find their rhythm in their attacking play as Divock Origi displayed his talent by netting a hat-trick in their 6-1 triumph over Southampton in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup.

With the fitness of Daniel Sturridge in doubt, the German will be looking to Origi and Christian Benteke to fire in front of goal to push his side towards the Champions League places over the festive period.

However, The Reds have struggled for goals at Anfield this season, notching just eight strikes, only three teams in the top flight have scored fewer at home.

Liverpool's home form has been inconsistent this season as they reside in the middle of the pack in the Premier League, with only three victories in their seven matches this season. A stern test of the club's credentials to push into the top four awaits against the Baggies.

Recent form: DWLWWL
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWLD


West Bromwich Albion

Tony Pulis manager of West Bromwich Albion looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion at Selhurst Park on October 3, 2015© Getty Images

The Baggies have been a solid unit under the management of Tony Pulis this season as they reside comfortably in mid-table, and may have their sights set on breaking into the top half over the festive period.

West Brom are currently unbeaten in their last three matches as they drew 1-1 against Tottenham Hotspur last week, backing up their efforts from their draw with West Ham United and their 2-1 victory over Arsenal.

Pulis has made the club a difficult outfit to beat as they are well positioned to retain their Premier League status for another season due to their ability to grind out results.

The Baggies have secured more points on their travels this season than at The Hawthorns, by recording three victories over Norwich City, Aston Villa and Stoke City all by 1-0 scorelines. Pulis will be eyeing another resolute display on their trip to Anfield.

West Brom have conceded just five goals away from home and 19 in total in their 14 matches this term, which gives them the 10th-best defensive record in the division, keeping six clean sheets.

The club do have problems putting the ball into the net as only Villa and Stoke have scored fewer goals in the top flight, while Saido Berahino is their leading marksman with three strikes. If they have aspirations of breaking into the top half, they will have to improve in front of goal.

Recent form: WLLWDD


Team News

Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Capital One Cup quarter final match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on December 2, 2015 in Southampton, England.© Getty Images

Sturridge will miss time yet again for the Reds after suffering a hamstring injury against Newcastle, but Klopp's men will be boosted by the return of Philippe Coutinho who has recovered from the same ailment.

Benteke may come into the starting lineup in place of Origi from the side that played against Sion in midweek, while skipper Jordan Henderson could start his first Premier League match since August.

Mamadou Sakho and long-term injury victims Joe Gomez and Danny Ings remain on the sidelines for the Reds.

Claudio Yacob is available once again for the Baggies after serving a one-match suspension against Spurs last week and he may slot straight back into the midfield.

Stephane Sessegnon is out of the contest with a knee injury and could be replaced by Callum McManaman, while Ben Foster is still making his way back to fitness following his ACL injury last season.

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Skrtel, Moreno; Henderson, Milner, Can; Firmino, Benteke, Coutinho

West Brom possible starting lineup:
Myhill; Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Olsson, Brunt; Morrison, Fletcher, McClean, McManaman; Rondon


Head To Head

The last match between the sides ended in a goalless draw at The Hawthorns in April earlier this year.

However, the Reds secured a 2-1 win over the Baggies in their last clash at Anfield as goals from Adam Lallana and Henderson edged them to victory.

West Brom's last win at Anfield came in the 2012-13 season when late strikes from Gareth McAuley and Romelu Lukaku handed the club a 2-0 win, while they also recorded a 1-0 victory in the previous campaign under the tenure of Roy Hodgson.

Over the course of history, Liverpool have dominated the contest winning 66 matches compared to the Baggies' 38, while 40 of the games have ended in draws.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Liverpool 1-0 West Brom

The match will be a tight contest as the Baggies are strong at the back on their travels, while Liverpool have struggled for goals at Anfield this term. However, the return of Coutinho may just be enough of a spark to lift Klopp's men to a narrow victory.



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Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool gestures during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St James' Park on December 6, 2015
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3Chelsea64111221013
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd6411135813
5Everton6411127513
6Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton540174312
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham6321138511
8Aston Villa631297210
9Brentford62318539
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11Tottenham HotspurSpurs630349-59
12Watford621379-27
13Leicester CityLeicester6213710-37
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves620435-26
15Crystal Palace512258-35
16Southampton604247-34
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18Leeds UnitedLeeds6033614-83
19Burnley6024511-62
20Norwich CityNorwich6006216-140

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