Klopp wary of pressure-free West Brom as Liverpool face another must-win ‘final’

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Liverpool have no choice but to back up their superb win at Man United with another victory away to West Brom, which would see them move only one point behind Chelsea with two games left.

West Brom vs. Liverpool

Sunday, May 16, 2021 – 4.30pm (BST)
The Hawthorns
Premier League (36)
Referee: Mike Dean


“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

The words of Al Pacino in The Godfather Part III there, but a thought that Reds supporters have been echoing this week.

There was an acceptance at one point that Liverpool had no chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League, but that has changed drastically.

If Leicester’s win at Old Trafford left fans feeling flat, the Reds’ triumph there two days later did the total opposite, with Arsenal‘s victory at Chelsea an added bonus in between.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, May 13, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp embraces Roberto Firmino after the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Liverpool won 4-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Now, Jurgen Klopp‘s side know that winning their remaining three fixtures should seal a top-four berth, giving them a huge incentive.

Up next is Sunday’s trip to a West Brom side who are already relegated, but who started Liverpool’s slide back in December, following a 1-1 draw at Anfield.

On paper, it really should be a comfortable three points for Liverpool, but this painful campaign has shown that anything is possible.

Frankly, the thought of dropping points at the Hawthorns after doing the hard work away to United would be tough to stomach.

 

Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 20, 2021: Liverpool's Ozan Kabak during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 238th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. Everton won 2-0, the club’s first win at Anfield since 1999. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On top of the usual centre-back absentees, Ozan Kabak is still sidelined, which is a massive problem that Klopp is tackling admirably.

That means Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams could again partner one another, having done well against a strong United attack.

There is also the option of Fabinho dropping into a deeper role, but he is once again showing how priceless he is back in midfield.

There are no new injury problems from the United match, so it could be that Klopp keeps his midfield and attack the same.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, May 13, 2021: Liverpool's Sadio Mané is denied by Manchester United's goalkeeper Dean Henderson during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There is no need to alter things in the middle of the park, despite Curtis Jones doing well when he came on, while Sadio Mane could again have to settle for a place on the bench.

The Senegalese was clearly fuming to miss out on Thursday night, however, and with Diogo Jota not necessarily firing on all cylinders, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Liverpool’s No.10 given a chance to prove his worth.

Meanwhile, the Baggies could field the same starting lineup that lost 3-1 at Arsenal last weekend, but Ainsley Maitland-Niles could be back in contention after missing out against his parent club.

Possible West Brom XI: Johnstone; Ajayi, Bartley, O’Shea; Furlong, Yokuslu, Maitland-Niles, Gallagher, Townsend; Pereira; Diagne

 

Last 5 Away to West Brom (All Competitions)

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 21, 2018: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the Hawthorns. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Drew 2-2 – April 2018 (Livermore, Rondon; Ings, Salah)
Won 1-0 – April 2017 (Firmino)
Drew 1-1 – May 2016 (Rondon; Ibe)
Drew 0-0 – April 2015
Drew 1-1 – February 2014 (Anichebe; Sturridge)

 

The Hawthorns

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - Monday, August 10, 2015: A general view of West Bromwich Albion's The Hawthorns as they take on Manchester City during the Premier League match. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Capacity: 26,688

*To be played behind-closed-doors

 

Did You Know?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, May 13, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This has been a season of struggles for Liverpool and you could be mistaken for thinking they have dropped endless points in recent weeks.

Incredibly, the Reds are actually top of the Premier League form table in the last seven games, winning five and drawing two of their league fixtures since the 1-0 loss at to Fulham in early March.

It started off with back-to-back away victories against Wolves and Arsenal, before Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s late winner at home to Aston Villa.

Then came the two frustrating late draws against Leeds and Newcastle, prior to consecutive wins over Southampton and United.

Perhaps the Champions League exit to Real Madrid masks the good run, but Liverpool have picked up momentum without anyone really noticing.

 

Form

2FN37JJ Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring their side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Picture date: Thursday May 13, 2021.

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 4-2 vs. Man United
Won 2-0 vs. Southampton
Drew 1-1 vs. Newcastle
Drew 2-2 vs. Leeds
Drew 0-0 vs. Real Madrid

West Brom – Last five results (all competitions)

Lost 3-1 vs. Arsenal
Drew 1-1 vs. Wolves
Drew 2-2 vs. Aston Villa
Lost 3-0 vs. Leicester
Won 3-0 vs. Southampton

 

Klopp’s View

Speaking on Friday, Klopp wasn’t resting on his laurels ahead of the final three matches of the season:

“Our last three games are really tough, from different points of view. I really have to say, what Sam did again at West Brom deserves all respect.

“Not only that they got points – OK, not enough now, we have to say – but the way that they played was completely different, made brilliant signings, how he always does.

“So they were really good when they fought for [their place], and I know when all the pressure is off because it’s now decided they will not stay in the league, then that can give you some good feelings to express yourself and just play football.

“That can lead to everything, so we have to be really focused, prepared and strong to make our things happen. It’s a tricky one.”

 

TV & Liveblog Info

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 27, 2020: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (R) and West Bromwich Albion's manager Sam Allardyce before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Bromwich Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

West Brom vs. Liverpool is a 4.30pm kickoff and is live in the UK on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League. Coverage gets underway at 4pm.

Henry Jackson is in charge of This Is Anfield’s matchday liveblog from 3.45pm, keeping you entertained and up-to-date with all the action here.

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