Reds out to end Anfield’s 2020 run in style – Liverpool vs. West Brom Preview

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Liverpool’s festive programme continues with the visit of West Brom, where the Reds can hope to take advantage of results elsewhere to keep a stronghold at the top.

Liverpool vs. West Brom

Sunday, December 27, 2020 – 4.30pm (GMT)
Anfield
Premier League (15)
Referee: Kevin Friend


It’s the final home game of what has been a year like no other for Jurgen Klopp‘s men.

Anfield bore witness to the first league title in 30 years during the summer amid a global pandemic which turned the world as we knew it upside down.

In that time, the Reds have stretched their unbeaten league run on home soil to 66 games and will look to add another to the tally when West Brom arrive in town under the new management of Sam Allardyce.

He replaced Slaven Bilic earlier this month in a bid to keep the Baggies away from the relegation zone having picked up just one win from their opening 14 games.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 6, 2020: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

They will come up against a Liverpool outfit fresh off the back of a record 7-0 win over Crystal Palace, a result which not only boosted confidence and morale but also pushed the Reds four points clear at the summit.

Klopp will know this fixture is no easy three points despite the table suggesting otherwise, with Allardyce to set out his side to frustrate in a potential smash and grab.

The Reds faithful will be expecting all three points which would arrive as a welcome late Christmas present, where the hope will be that Liverpool can capitalise on other results from Boxing Day.

 

Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 17, 2020: Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara walks back to the dressing room at full time after an injury time winning goal was disallowed following a VAR review during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 237th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

At last, Liverpool do not look like the walking wounded as players trickle back into the squad ready to be called upon by Klopp.

Importantly, no fresh concerns emerged from the demolition job at Selhurst Park last time out to ensure Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Kostas Tsimikas and Diogo Jota remain the long-term absentees.

But there was welcome news in the form of Thiago, James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri all returning to team training ahead of West Brom‘s visit after their respective battles with injury.

The manager, however, was quick to insist that they “will not rush” the return of Thiago after he made the “first steps back towards team training” and therefore he will not be present against the Baggies.

Milner and Shaqiri are “closer” to a return to action and the benefit of an extended turnaround over the Christmas period is one Klopp hopes to use to his advantage.

For the visitors, they will be without the suspended Jake Livermore while the game is also to come too soon for the likes of Conor Townsend, Hal Robson-Kanu and Kyle Bartley.

Potential West Brom XI: Johnstone; Furlong, Ajayi, O’Shea, Gibbs; Sawyers; Phillips, Pereira, Gallagher, Diangana; Grant

 

Last 5 at Home to West Brom (All Competitions)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 13, 2017: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia remonstrates with referee Paul Tierney as he disallows a goal for hand ball during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Lost 3-2 – January 2018 (Firmino, Salah; Rodriguez x2, Matip OG)
Drew 0-0 – December 2017
Won 2-1 – October 2016 (Mane, Coutinho; McAuley)
Drew 2-2 – December 2015 (Henderson, Origi; Dawson, Olsson)
Won 2-1 – October 2014 (Lallana, Henderson; Berahino)

 

Did You Know?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 23, 2017: Crystal Palace's manager Sam Allardyce shakes hands with Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp after his side's 2-1 victory during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sam Allardyce is the last manager to have walked away from Anfield with a Premier League victory, that was over 1344 days ago in April 2017.

He was manager of Crystal Palace in their 2-1 win, where ex-Red Christian Benteke’s double was enough to sink the Reds which in turn kickstarted a 66-game unbeaten league run at Anfield.

It was the only time in six meetings that Klopp has tasted defeat against Allardyce having also met in clashes against Everton and Sunderland since he arrived at Liverpool in 2015.

Klopp has a record of two wins, three draws and a defeat against his counterpart and will no doubt be eager to add another to the win column on Sunday.

 

Form

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 19, 2020: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates with team-mates after scoring the fifth goal during the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace FC and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 7-0 vs. Crystal Palace
Won 2-1 vs. Tottenham
Drew 1-1 vs. Fulham
Drew 1.1 vs. Midtjylland
Won 4-0 vs. Wolves

West Brom – Last five results (all competitions)

Lost 3-0 vs. Aston Villa
Drew 1-1 vs. Man City
Lost 2-1 vs. Newcastle
Lost 5-1 vs. Crystal Palace
Won 1-0 vs. Sheffield United

 

Klopp’s View

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp was under no illusions as to how the game will unfold, expecting West Brom to be pragmatic and “tricky”:

“It’s a tricky one. We analysed this morning [Thursday] and it’s a mix of Everton when Sam was there and, of course, his first and last game against Aston Villa.

“What I expect is a tough opponent, it was always tough against Sam Allardyce teams. Well organised, don’t make a big fuss of possession and in the situation West Brom is in anyway it will be a proper fight.

“Sam is a proven specialist for organising teams for these kinds of fights so we expect a tough game obviously.”

 

TV & Liveblog Info

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 6, 2020: Liverpool supporters sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool vs. West Brom kicks off at 4.30pm (GMT) and will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event, with coverage from 4.15pm.

Chris Williams will keep you entertained and up to date with all the action on our usual matchday live blog, starting from 3.45pm.

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