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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Liverpool can lay bare West Brom's limitations

Rampant Reds won't waste any time

West Brom must find a way of stopping Sadio Mane and Mo Salah
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Premier League
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Jurgen Klopp has given the clearest indication yet that he’ll go all guns blazing at the Hawthorns and that’s got to make Liverpool hard to resist in a match of huge significance at either end of the Premier League.

Questions about Mo Salah’s presence in the side just four days before Liverpool’s Champions League tussle with Roma, dominated Friday's media briefing on Merseyside.

And Klopp insisted that his 40-goal machine is set to start with Liverpool yet to secure their top-four status.

Presumably, given that his players have had a week off, Klopp is also tempted to field Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino – the other two members of Liverpool’s famed holy trinity – a trio with 55 league goals between them this season. That is more than double what the entire West Brom squad have mustered.

The Reds were flat as a pancake at Everton two weeks ago when Klopp omitted Firmino and Salah, but all three were on the scoresheet the following weekend when the German reunited the trio in a 3-0 demolition of Bournemouth.

Klopp would wish for a fast start, a healthy lead and an opportunity to withdraw some of his stars as the game wears on. And given the form they’re in, that’s an eventuality that could well be worth backing. Odds of 8-15 about the visitors are to be expected but the jollies may well be worth backing on the half-time full-time double result at 27-20.

Clearly there are going to be those who think that West Brom are suddenly a different animal under caretaker Darren Moore.

They’ll also point to the fact that they beat a strong Liverpool side in January in the FA Cup.

But the reality is that West Brom are where they are in the division on merit, they’d taken one point out of a possible 27 prior to Sunday’s unlikely success at Manchester United and have had just two league wins since the end of August.

There’s no denying that Big Dave, as Moore is affectionately known, got it right at Old Trafford, though United got it wrong. Mourinho’s men were pitiful.

To that end, Moore is unlikely to change a winning team, a team which boasts a couple of obvious attacking threats, notably the underrated James McClean on one flank and the cleverness of Jay Rodriguez in working around others and finding space.

But they are limited. They average 3.06 shots on target per game, less than half Liverpool’s total. They are the division’s joint-lowest goalscorers with just 27 in 34 matches – Liverpool have scored 46 in just the second half of their 34 matches.

And they have failed to find the net in seven of 11 home Premier League showdowns with Liverpool.

It’s all in stark contrast to Liverpool, who have lost only one of their last 14.

Of their 20 wins this term, 12 have been to nil while the Liverpool-Liverpool double result has copped on 14 occasions.

Liverpool-Liverpool double result
1pt 27-20 Coral, Ladbrokes

Bet on this match at

Premier League standings

Team news
West Brom
Daniel Sturridge is unavailable against his parent club. Jonny Evans and Hal Robson-Kanu are fit again. Nacer Chadli, Gareth Barry and James Morrison continue to miss out.

Joel Matip is out for the season while Emre Can, Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne miss out today. Joe Gomez is fit again.

Key stat
Liverpool have been ahead at half-time in 14 of their 20 league wins.

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Of their 20 wins this term, 12 have been to nil while the Liverpool-Liverpool halftime-fulltime bet has copped on 14 occasions
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