Liverpool vs. West Bromwich Albion
| Wednesday, December 13th |
Premier League | Anfield
8PM GMT / 3PM EST
Despite all the frustration and gnashed teeth and ten points lost from winning positions after the 70th minute, Liverpool are actually doing pretty well in the Premier League this season, occupying a spot in the top four and within five points of second placed Manchester United. That’s not to say that any annoyance is unwarranted, but all in all, things aren’t looking too bad for Jürgen Klopp’s men.
Traditionally considered a bogey team for the Reds — and having recently hired infamous bogey manager Alan Pardew — the (actual) Baggies haven’t beaten Liverpool in nearly five years. Certainly, there have been frustrating draws, and any team managed by Tony Pulis will be a chore to play, but pointswise, Saturday’s home side have the upper hand, with eight points from the four meetings during Klopp’s reign.
As can be expected when a sacking occurs three months into the season, this hasn’t been a good year for West Brom. Sitting in 17th — out of the relegation zone only on goal difference — they haven’t won a game since August 19th, and have struggled mightily to score, with no player totaling more than two goals thus far. Coming off a loss to fellow relegation candidates Swansea, and with Nacer Chadli, James Morrison, and Craig Dawson all missing through injury, the Baggies will look a wounded animal to a Reds side looking to wash the taste of their derby draw from their mouths.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Klavan, Robertson; Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho; Salah, Firmino, Oxlade-Chamberlain
With Joël Matip and Alberto Moreno confirmed missing, the only question about the back four is whether James Milner or Andrew Robertson — both of whom played 90 minutes on Sunday — will start at left-back. Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum were rested at the weekend and will expect to slot back into the XI, probably alongside Philippe Coutinho, as Adam Lallana is back in training, but not yet ready to start.
Up front, Sadio Mané might be rested, but it appears likely that both Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah start the match, with neither attacker having played 90 minutes against Everton.
The Reds are halfway through their busy winter run, and Bournemouth are up on Sunday. Managing fitness while consistently producing winning performances will be the order of the day throughout the month, and with all teams not coached by Pep Guardiola struggling to do just that, odds are that a strong end to the year will put Liverpool in a strong position to secure a top four spot, and perhaps even climb the table in the new year.
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, Mick McDonough
Fourth official: Neil Swarbrick
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV. In the meantime, we'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.