Liverpool visit a powerful West Brom side on Sunday afternoon, as the Reds look to make it a celebratory Easter weekend in the West Midlands.
West Brom vs. Liverpool
Sunday, April 16, 2017 – 1:30pm (BST)
Referee: Jon Moss
It would be wrong to say this game feels like a freebie, but last weekend’s 2-1 victory at Stoke City hasn’t half given Liverpool a slight bit of breathing space.
Roberto Firmino‘s late winner was a wonderful moment—arguably the most important goal of the season so far—and it ensured Jurgen Klopp‘s side remain in a healthy position in third place.
Another awkward-looking test awaits this weekend, however, as the Reds once again attempt to tackle a rugby-playing Tony Pulis team.
The West Brom manager has his side typically well-drilled and dangerous from set-pieces, and three more points for Liverpool would be huge against a team who recently handing out a beating to Arsenal.
With several key faces still missing, Klopp may have to depend on fringe players to do the business—at this point in the season, winning really is all that matters.
Don’t expect this to be classic, or for Liverpool’s free-flowing football to be on show, but another Stoke-esque result would be perfect.
With Man United taking on Chelsea straight after the game on Sunday, and Arsenal not visiting Middlesbrough until Monday night, this is a real chance to crank up the pressure.
Last Meeting: Liverpool 2-1 West Brom
Klopp has confirmed that Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana remain sidelined, with the duo targeting a return to action next month.
Sadio Mane is out for the season, with an eight-week layoff predicted, and the Reds will continue to miss the winger.
Ovie Ejaria is still working his way back to fitness, but Marko Grujic could hope to feature at some stage having been named on the substitutes’ bench for the last three games.
Daniel Sturridge is now available, following an impressive second-half cameo at Stoke, but the 27-year-old may start on the bench again.
Divock Origi is also in contention, while Lucas Leiva could return in midfield, alongside Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum.
Klopp is likely to go with a 3-5-2 formation again, meaning Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan all start, while Firmino and Philippe Coutinho should come in, having influenced matters so dramatically last Saturday.
West Brom have no new injury problems to worry about, with Pulis likely to field the same starting lineup that lost 1-0 at home to Southampton last time around.
Away fans’ pub: The Vine & the official club fan zone
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 2-1 vs. Stoke
Drew 2-2 vs. Bournemouth
Won 3-1 vs. Everton
Drew 1-1 vs. Man City
Won 2-1 vs. Burnley
West Brom – Last five results (all competitions)
Lost 1-0 vs. Southampton
Lost 2-0 vs. Watford
Drew 0-0 vs. Man United
Won 3-1 vs. Arsenal
Lost 3-0 vs. Everton
In his pre-match press conference, Klopp confirmed that Grujic is back in contention, despite not being fully fit:
“He’s in very good shape, but unfortunately because of injuries he’s not in a real rhythm,” he said.
“It looks really good football-wise, but the position he’d play in this moment is as No. 8.
“Things aren’t natural [for him] there because he hasn’t played too often [this season]. We cannot change this. That’s it.
“There would have been different scenarios when he could have played in the last three games, but we had to change things and he was not involved.
“He’s in a very good way and it’s good to have him back.”
The match is live on Sky Sports 1 from 12:30pm (BST), with kick-off at 1:30pm.
Our matchday live blog will be up and running from 12:45pm, with regular updates throughout the afternoon as Liverpool look to make it five wins out of seven.