Liverpool vs. West Brom
Sunday, December 27, 2020 – 4.30pm (GMT)
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.
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.
At last, Liverpool do not look like the walking wounded as players trickle back into the squad ready to be called upon by Klopp.
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)
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?
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.
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.
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
West Brom – Last five results (all competitions)
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”:
“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
Chris Williams will keep you entertained and up to date with all the action on our usual matchday live blog, starting from 3.45pm.