COMMENT By Matt Farr
Liverpool travel to the Hawthorns to take on high-flying West Brom on Sunday looking to tighten their grip on the Premier League’s top four.
The Reds head into the tie five points adrift of second-placed Tottenham, and six points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United.
West Brom, meanwhile, are in an impressive eighth-place, but they have gone without a win in their last three games.
Ahead of Sunday’s tie, Football Insider reveals three things to expect from Liverpool.
Talent won’t be wasted
With Liverpool trailing Stoke 1-0 at half-time last time out, Jurgen Klopp looked to have made a catastrophic error by leaving star duo Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho on the bench.
But before things could get even worse, Klopp turned to the Brazilian duo to change the game, and that they did, with each player finding the back of the net to win the game 2-1.
However, Klopp will be determined not to make the same selection mistake again, and will instead be expected to start with his two most prized attacking assets right from the outset.
Even in the absence of injured trio Adam Lallana, Sadio Mane and Jordan Henderson, there is still an abundance of talent in Liverpool’s side, and Klopp won’t waste it against West Brom.
An early goal
It’s not so much an attacking threat that Liverpool will need to be aware of on Sunday. Instead, it is West Brom’s general ability to grind out results against the Premier League’s top sides.
They have already claimed results against the likes of Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal this season, and Liverpool will need to be aware of falling into the same trap.
Tony Pulis will have his West Brom side well-organised defensively, regardless of the attacking threat Liverpool will pose, and will be ready to limit what Liverpool can get out of the game.
Therefore, it can be expected that Klopp will go the extra mile to ensure Liverpool do not fall to the same fate as their top four rivals by ensuring the game is done and dusted as soon as possible, and an early goal would help.
A quiet day for Mignolet
Given West Brom have failed to score in any of their last three Premier League matches, it is a fair bet that they could draw another blank against Liverpool.
Questions have been raised over much of the season as to where the goals are going to come from in the West Brom camp, but despite reasonable efforts from Matt Phillips and Garath McAuley, the goals have dried up.
In contrast, Liverpool don’t have the best defensive record, but they will fancy themselves to remain relatively secure against the Baggies.
Simon Mignolet had a storming game against Stoke last time out, earning high praise from his manager, but it could be a much different story for him on Sunday.
In other Liverpool news, here is how the Reds are expected to line up.