Liverpool vs West Brom – The final league boost starts here

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Liverpool v West Brom
Premier League
Sunday, 22nd April 2012; 4pm kick-off

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After three straight losses, Liverpool have now gone three games without defeat. Any other season this statistic wouldn’t even warrant mentioning but the Reds’ 2012 league form has been less than stellar.

With one cup in the bag and their FA Cup final place secured, Liverpool’s immediate goal should be finishing above Merseyside rivals Everton in the Premier League. With the Toffees facing a tough trip to Old Trafford on Sunday, the Reds can leapfrog them with a home win over West Brom this weekend.

Roy Hodgson makes his first return to Anfield since being sacked from the Anfield post in January 2011. He brings with him a West Brom which has a solid away record in the league. However the Baggies have picked up just one point from their last four away games. Of late their home form has been significantly stronger and they may need one of those profligate Liverpool Anfield performances to get something from this game.

Liverpool have recorded two late victories in their last two games which will have boosted morale. However both games were away from home and there is the danger that a slow start and a restless home crowd could see them struggle.

However they are playing for little more than local pride and that could take some of the pressure off and the Reds could more than justify their 4/9 price.

After a season of being berated, Andy Carroll has been the late hero in the last two games. The big number 9 is 5/1 to pop up with the last goal for the third game in-a-row. He has even started to develop something akin to an understanding with Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan can benefit from the space Carroll creates and is the 7/2 favourite to score first.

Daniel Agger is always keen to make forays forward. The centre-half has a great left-boot and when combined with his threatin the air from set-pieces, he’s worth a look to score anytime at 7/1. He partner Martin Skrtel is arguably more dangerous from set-pieces and you can get the same 7/1 on him to score in 90 minutes.

Having beaten West Brom 2-0 already this season, Dalglish will be confident of doing the double. A repeat of that scoreline is 6/1.

Pepe Reina being back between the sticks will be a big plus. Clean sheets have been rarer than in previous seasons for the Reds but with West Brom failing to score in three of their last four away games, a Liverpool clean-sheet at 6/5 may be a decent one to through into your weekend accumulator.

Liverpool’s home form this season will make plenty of backers nervous and many will opt for the draw at 10/3. However their improving fortunes, cup success and dramatic late wins should see the home side play with a small spring in their step. A home win and a rare comfortable one at that.

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