With West Brom’s relegation confirmed last week after suffering a 3-1 defeat at the Emirates, Sam Allardyce’s side host Jugen Klopp’s Liverpool. Whilst it seems Albion only have pride and professionalism to play for, the season is far from over for the visiters, who can move within a point of the top 4 with a win today.
It’ll be interesting to see how Big Sam sets up this afternoon. In recent weeks he has found a core group of players and a system that has seen improved performances on the pitch. Albion have lined up in a 4-4-1-1 or a 4-5-1 in FOUR of the last FIVE games, and I think it’ll be the latter today with Allardyce hoping that an extra body in the midfield will help to prevent Albion getting outnumbered by their opponents famous 4-3-3.
Selection wise, it was good to see Grady Diangana get his first minutes since the win against Brighton back in February, last week. I think it’s likely we could see him off the bench again today, with Robinson or Matt Phillips most likely to start. It’s also worth taking into consideration the future of Sam Allardyce, who is yet to commit to another season at the Hawthorns.
With three games left and Championship status confirmed, it’s an opportunity to give players like Karlan Grant and Grady Diangana some minutes, as they will be key players if Albion wish to come straight back up at the first time of asking.
Tactically, Albion will have to be resolute. The possession stats won’t make pretty reading, however this is a Liverpool side that do concede chances and have only kept ONE clean sheet in their last FIVE Premier League games.
The Baggies will look to set traps for Liverpool, who whilst enjoying large spells of possession, will look to push their fullbacks on. By playing three combative central midfielders the main play, led by the supreme Yokuslu, will be to win the 50/50s or second balls and look for a ball out wide to exploit the space left by either Robertson or Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Liverpool will look to freshen up the side, by bringing Mane back in after he was rested in their impresive 4-2 win at Old Trafford in the week. Defensively, Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams are favourites to start, both have looked vulnerable at times this season. Diagne will be relishing the battle he will have with two very inexperienced centre halves this afternoon.
With the hosts already relegated and the visitors in the hunt for the top four, it is hard to look past a comprehensive away win. The fans just want to see some fight from the players. We can still finish above Fulham, and we can still upset Liverpool’s Champions League hopes.
Score Prediction: West Brom 2-2 Liverpool