Apr 16, 2017 at 1.30pm UK at ​The Hawthorns
Attendance: 25,669
West BromWest Bromwich Albion
0-1
Liverpool

Brunt (45'), Robson-Kanu (49'), Evans (66')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Firmino (45')
Leiva (72')

Preview: West Bromwich Albion vs. Liverpool

Sports Mole previews the Premier League clash between West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool.

West Bromwich Albion host Liverpool at The Hawthorns on Sunday afternoon having suffered back-to-back defeats in the Premier League, and head coach Tony Pulis will demand a response from his side as they welcome the Merseyside giants to the West Midlands.

Jurgen Klopp's team showed spirit in fighting back to beat Stoke City last Saturday, but they may require a repeat performance against the Baggies if they want to strengthen their bid to qualify for next season's Champions League.


West Bromwich Albion

West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis gestures on the touchline during his side's Premier League clash with Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on November 6, 2016© SilverHub

After gaining four points from two games with Arsenal and Manchester United either side of the international break, there was genuine belief at West Brom that they could gatecrash the top seven in the standings.

However, back-to-back setbacks against Watford and Southampton respectively has left the Baggies looking over their shoulder at the Saints, and it is no longer considered a certainty that they will claim a spot in the top eight.

Tony Pulis will be delighted with where his side are currently sitting in the table but for clubs sitting in midtable, it is all about creating momentum ahead of the next campaign and Pulis will be wary that this recent run of results cannot continue.

Not only have they recorded just one point in three games, they have failed to score in five of their last six matches and two of the goals in the 3-1 triumph over Arsenal came from set plays.

It is perhaps pedantic to highlight that fact, but it will be a genuine worry for Pulis. Salomon Rondon has not scored a goal since December 14 and Hal Robson-Kanu has two goals in 594 minutes of football in the league since joining on a free transfer in the summer.

Pulis and his squad will be confident that there are weaknesses in Liverpool which they can exploit but with belief not what it once was, it remains to be seen if they are capable of handling opponents who will be on a high after last weekend's comeback against Stoke.

Recent form: LLWDLL


Liverpool

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp before the match against Arsenal on March 4, 2017© SilverHub

When Liverpool fell behind at the bet365 Stadium, their supporters would have feared the worst, especially with star duo Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino both sitting on the substitutes' bench and Sadio Mane in the treatment room.

However, their second-half introduction sparked a fightback which many would not have anticipated and rather than struggling when the going got tough against opposition in the bottom-half of the table, Jurgen Klopp's team showed a side to their game which has not always been obvious this season.

It came at the right time, too, because with Manchester City making light work of Hull City, they faced the prospect of dropping down to fourth place and being put under pressure by Manchester United and Arsenal.

With Klopp revealing that Coutinho lost 3kg due to illness before the match with the Potters, it is unclear how he will be used over the coming weeks but he has proven himself to be the team's key man after being criticised for his form after an ankle injury.

Firmino also has a big part to play, despite the fact he has only scored in three of Liverpool's last 17 matches, but they need help from their teammates who had under-performed before they took to the pitch in Staffordshire.

From a defensive perspective, it has been seven matches since they kept a clean sheet and it is a statistic which they need to change this weekend given that West Brom cannot buy a goal from open play.

Recent form: WWDWDW


Team News

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson runs with the ball during his side's Premier League clash with Hull City at Anfield on September 24, 2016

Klopp has revealed that both Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana remain out of contention for the trip to the West Midlands.

However, the German boss has indicated that both men could be available to return before the end of the month.

Coutinho and Firmino are likely to return to the team, with Ben Woodburn and Trent Alexander-Arnold likely to be the players to drop out.

Pulis has said that a number of his players are carrying knocks heading into the weekend, and that he will not make the call whether to include them until closer to kickoff.

One alteration could see Claudio Yacob restored to the team in place of James Morrison.

West Bromwich Albion possible starting lineup:
Foster, Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Nyom, Yacob, Livermore, Fletcher, Chadli, Phillips, Rondon

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Milner; Lucas, Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho, Firmino, Origi


Head To Head

Sunday's fixture represents the 148th meeting between the two sides in a competitive fixture, with Liverpool claiming 67 wins in comparison to 38 victories for West Brom.

At one stage during their time in the Premier League, the Baggies put together a run of four wins from six attempts, but they have struggled against the Reds in recent years.

Liverpool are unbeaten in the last seven matches, with three wins and four draws being recorded since February 2013.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Liverpool

It has been a while since West Brom suffered three defeats in a row, and we think they will avoid such embarrassment here. Both teams have showed frailties in recent weeks, but Pulis would have drummed into his players that they need to improve after two poor performances.


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Philippe Coutinho in action during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Burnley on March 12, 2017
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3Liverpool27159361313054
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14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton27610112236-1428
15Crystal Palace2769122542-1727
16Swansea CitySwansea2776142037-1727
17Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2776142347-2427
18Southampton27511112840-1226
19Stoke CityStoke2767142753-2625
20West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom27311132140-1920
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