LIVERPOOL VS. WEST BROM
| Sunday, December 27th |
Premier League | Anfield
4:30PM GMT/11:30AM EST
The reigning champions and current league leaders, Liverpool, return to action after a much needed weeklong break. They’ll be taking on West Bromwich Albion at Anfield after their seven-goal stunner against Crystal Palace.
The newly appointed Sam Allardyce gets to check West Brom off his Premier League bingo card. His is also the last Premier League manager to leave Anfield with all three points, coincidentally while leading Crystal Palace. The Eagles outplayed the Reds back on April 23, 2017, keeping a clean sheet and winning 3-0. Liverpool haven’t lost in the league since.
Now, though, Big Sam has a Big Job taking the reins on a West Brom side which has won a single match this season and lost nine. They’re currently sitting in 19th place on the table, a massive 24 points behind Liverpool.
For Klopp, it might be a sliver of light at the end of the injury tunnel. Thiago Alcantara, Xherdan Shaqiri and James Milner all trained in the build up to this game, though Thiago is still not fit enough to play. However, Klopp will appreciate his added options in the midfield.
The Baggies have conceded the most goals in the league so far this season, while Liverpool have scored the most. They’ll be at Anfield, and Klopp’s favored front three should all be ready and available to play. Allardyce already watched his new club give up three goals at home when they played against Aston Villa last week, and it’s hard to imagine that there won’t be more of that for him come Sunday.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Who knows, does either or both of Curtis Jones or Takumi Minamino get a spot in Klopp’s starting XI? Klopp may be looking ahead to the fact the his players have to face Newcastle on Wednesday the 30th and then Southampton the following Monday and decide to rotate as he has been doing. If nothing else, Liverpool’s injury crisis has afforded many deserving players an opportunity to make an impact on this team. Minamino kicked off the goal fest against Palace in the third minute. In the absence of Diogo Jota, his continued good form means that one of the front three could get a break.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain might be fit to start this game as well. Milner and Shaqiri, though they may be available for the bench, will probably not start.
Aside from the aforementioned Jota and Thiago, Liverpool will also be without Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Kostas Tsimikas.
As for West Brom, their forced to be without Conor Townsend, Kyle Bartlet, and Hal Robson-Kanu due to injury. Jake Livermore will be out for three games after picking up a straight red card against Aston Villa.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jurgen Klopp: “What I expect is a tough opponent, it was always tough against Sam Allardyce teams: [they are] well organised, don’t make a big fuss of possession or whatever and in the situation West Brom are in anyway then it will be a proper fight.”
Sam Allardyce: “When you play against the top teams in this division like Liverpool, any points gained are seen as bonus points.”
Referee: Kevin Friend. Assistants: Simon Beck, Adrian Holmes. Fourth official: Anthony Taylor. VAR: Martin Atkinson. Assistant VAR: Peter Kirkup.
Kickoff is set for 4:30PM GMT/11:30AM 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.