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

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

With the race for the fourth and final Champions League spot still very much alive, Liverpool travel to relegated West Bromwich Albion for Sunday afternoon's Premier League encounter.

The Reds travel to The Hawthorns following a thrilling 4-2 victory at Manchester United in midweek, while West Brom's relegation was confirmed with a 3-1 defeat to Arsenal last weekend.


Match preview

West Bromwich Albion's Matt Phillips and Okay Yokuslu look dejected after Arsenal's second goal on May 9, 2021© Reuters

Not even renowned survival specialist Sam Allardyce could pull off a great escape with this doomed West Bromwich Albion side, who will be plying their trade in the Championship alongside Fulham and Sheffield United for the 2021-22 campaign.

An opener from Emile Smith Rowe preceded a screamer from Nicolas Pepe at the Emirates last weekend, and while West Brom gave themselves hope against Arsenal through Matheus Pereira's magnificent solo goal, Willian's free kick sent the Baggies down.

With an insurmountable 10-point gap separating them from safety with three games left to play, Allardyce's men - despite a few glimmers of hope - ultimately left it too late to salvage their Premier League status, but the Baggies boss will not want them to go down with a whimper.

West Brom have only lost two of their last six Premier League games, but they welcome Liverpool to The Hawthorns on a four-game winless run in the Premier League and with a league-high 68 goals conceded - six more than Southampton and basement side Sheffield United.

Allardyce's future remains up in the air following his first-ever Premier League relegation, but the 66-year-old has an unbeaten record to maintain this weekend, as he has not lost any of his last five meetings with Liverpool as a manager - former West Brom boss Tony Pulis was the most recent to string together a six-game unbeaten run or more against the Reds.

 Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates after the match on May 8, 2021© Reuters

Handshake drama aside, Liverpool's bright attacking contingent took Manchester United by storm at Old Trafford on Thursday, even with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recalling almost all of his strongest names to the starting lineup for their third game in five days.

Bruno Fernandes's deflected effort put United in the ascendancy, but Diogo Jota, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino (2) all beat a beleaguered Dean Henderson to wrap up the points for Liverpool, who did not press the panic button when Marcus Rashford made it 3-2 in the 68th minute.

With Chelsea and Leicester City set to do battle in the FA Cup final this weekend, fifth-placed Liverpool have the chance to close the gap on the former to just one point should they win their game in hand at The Hawthorns, and a below-par season could yet end with Jurgen Klopp's team plying their trade in the Champions League once again.

Having managed to navigate their last seven Premier League games unbeaten - winning five and drawing two of them - Liverpool are hitting form at just the right time before friendly fixtures with Crystal Palace and Burnley determine whether they will play in Europe's primary, secondary or tertiary competition next term.

The Baggies managed to hold Liverpool to a 1-1 draw in front of a 2,000-strong Anfield crowd back in December, but Klopp's side have gone 11 league games unbeaten against West Brom, with seven of those fixtures ending with the spoils shared.

West Bromwich Albion Premier League form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L

Liverpool Premier League form:

Liverpool form (all competitions):



Team News

Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring their second goal on February 16, 2021© Reuters

West Brom will welcome Arsenal loanee Ainsley Maitland-Niles back to the fold after he was ineligible to face his parent club, and the Englishman could slot straight back into the Baggies midfield with Matt Phillips making way.

Winger Robert Snodgrass is set to undergo surgery on a troublesome back issue and will miss the rest of the season, while Branislav Ivanovic joins the Scotsman on the hosts' long-term injury list.

With nothing to play for anymore, Dara O'Shea and Grady Diangana could benefit from some rotation in the final few weeks, but Allardyce will undoubtedly go as strong as possible against Liverpool.

Liverpool's injury problems are showing no signs of letting up anytime soon, as uncertainty remains over the availability of Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak, with Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips likely to pair up in the heart of defence once more.

James Milner and Naby Keita's absences have restricted Liverpool's options in the middle of the park, but Curtis Jones garnered praise from Klopp for his cameo at Old Trafford and could push for a start.

A late call to start Diogo Jota over Sadio Mane led to the Senegal international snubbing Klopp's handshake at the full-time whistle on Thursday, but the Liverpool boss has played down the incident and Mane should be in contention to start here.

West Bromwich Albion possible starting lineup:
Johnstone; Ajayi, Bartley, O'Shea; Furlong, Yokuslu, Maitland-Niles, Gallagher, Townsend; Pereira; Diagne

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Williams, Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago, Jones; Salah, Firmino, Mane


SM words green background

We say: West Bromwich Albion 1-3 Liverpool

As impressive as Williams and Phillips have been, the two inexperienced centre-backs hardly have the same aura as Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez - something that West Brom will hope to exploit as they play without fear.

However, an in-form Liverpool have found their stride, and Klopp in particular will be desperate to improve on his poor record against Allardyce, so we can only back the Reds to prevail and close in on a top-four spot.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Away Win:data


Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


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How you voted: West Brom vs Liverpool

West Bromwich Albion
14.4%
Draw
9.6%
Liverpool
76.0%
146
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Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring against Manchester United in the Premier League on May 13, 2021
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