Liverpool V WBA Game Preview by Joseph Chapman

Liverpool Crest

 Peter sits down to talk with WBA and Birmingham Mail Journalist @ChapmanJ92

What did you make of WBA performance on Saturday?

While I wasn’t at the Liberty Stadium, those who I spoke to about the game that were in attendance were pretty damning of the performance.
The result speaks for itself; Swansea are certainly a team that Albion at this stage should be looking to take three points off.
But the performance was what appeared to be more of a concern – Albion really didn’t threaten and didn’t exactly create too many chances, bar Salomon Rondon’s header at the end.
After failing to score against Crystal Palace the week before, it’s pretty worrying at the moment.
Albion are 14 games without a win – no other Football League team is on a run anywhere near that.

What changes has Alan Pardew made since he took over at The Hawthorns?

It’s early days, of course – he’s been in charge for two games. They were both teams that, at the time of playing, were bottom of the league. We’ve won neither and failed to score at all, something deeply concerning. Pardew immediately opted to play all three strikers against Palace and Swansea, Rondon, Hal Robson-Kanu and Jay Rodriguez, and yet they bore no fruit. He’s made it very clear that his teams attack, and score goals – but his creative players are out injured. Matt Phillips, James Morrison and Nacer Chadli are all missing and all would be playing under Pardew.

Where do WBA need to strengthen their squad in January?

Pardew has already touched on the lack of goals in the West Brom side and has suggested he’ll be looking to improve on that department in the window.
Because of the Financial Fair Play restrictions, though, it’s likely to be a one in, one out policy next month.
Grzegorz Krychowiak is Albion’s highest paid player, but wasn’t started by Gary Megson during his interim and hasn’t had a look in under Pardew really either.
They may look to end that loan, but PSG aren’t likely to welcome that – he’s not in their plans and at the moment they’re not having to pay his wages.
Otherwise Jonny Evans may be allowed to depart, if a team meet Albion’s valuation.

How will Pardew approach this game tactically on Wednesday?

It’s difficult to tell – having been in charge for two games and they were both relegation threatened teams, this is Pardew’s first encounter with a Premier League “big boy”.
While he is more attacking minded than Pulis, even if the players at his disposal are not, he’s likely to be conservative at Anfield.
He had a good record with Palace against Liverpool, because he had pace, and wingers in Zaha and Bolasie that could hurt teams on counter attacks.
He has nothing like that kind of threat at Albion.

Which players should Liverpool be wary of on this game?

Rondon looks rejuvenated since Pulis left, but he’s missed some great chances in recent games that he really ought to be scoring.
Rodriguez has a similar scoring record, averaging about one every seven or eight games, so you can see the problem.
If Chris Brunt, who was back on the bench on Saturday, starts, then his passing and supply to the front line will be key.
Pardew is hoping to have Phillips back too which would be another encouraging option.

Score prediction?

Albion will need to score to stand a chance of getting a result – they can’t really hope to see out the game with a clean sheet.
Unfortunately, particularly in open play, they haven’t really looked that dangerous on a regular enough basis this season and I think they may struggle.
If Liverpool get their first goal early, then I expect them to win comfortably.

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