Liverpool v West Brom: Belligerent Baggies to frustrate Anfield crowd

Alan Pardew's Albion don't often get smashed in games
Alan Pardew's Albion don't often get smashed in games
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Liverpool are aiming to bounce back after their dismal defeat at Swansea, but Kevin Hatchard thinks they'll be made to work hard by West Brom at Anfield...

"West Brom very rarely lose by more than one goal, and they have already played out a draw at Anfield this season."

Back West Brom +2 on the Handicap at [2.1] (Sportsbook)

Liverpool v West Brom
Saturday January 27, 19:45
Live on BT Sport 2

Chastened Liverpool keen to show that Swansea defeat was just a blip

It was a result and a performance that stirred a familiar dread in the pit of the stomach for Liverpool fans. Hot on the heels of a stunning 4-3 win over the champions-elect Manchester City, the Reds promptly lost 1-0 at the bottom side Swansea City. A lacklustre first-half performance set the tone, and although Liverpool came close to an equaliser, their overall display was incredibly poor. Manager Jurgen Klopp explained afterwards that his players simply hadn't followed the plan, and hadn't taken up the desired attacking positions often enough to pose a threat.

Make no mistake, Klopp's side are still in a healthy position. They lead Spurs and Arsenal in the race for the final Champions League spot, they face a testing but winnable tie against Porto in this season's UCL, and they are still in the running for the FA Cup. However, Monday's abject showing from more or less a full-strength Liverpool adds fuel to the fire for those who bemoan the lack of transfer activity following Philippe Coutinho's big-money switch to Barcelona.

Klopp is likely to shuffle his pack for this clash with West Brom, although not to the same degree as last season, as he made team selections that caused many to question his commitment to domestic cup competitions. Klopp picked a strong team to face Everton in the previous round, and you'd expect players like Roberto Firmino, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane to be involved at some stage.

It's taken a while, but Baggies starting to adapt to Pardew's methods

There's a lot of talk about the "new manager bounce", but at West Brom, it's taken longer for the arrival of Alan Pardew in the dugout to have a positive effect. However, in the last few games, there are signs that Albion can compete for a place in the top flight ahead of next season.

WBA should really have won at Everton on Saturday, and they have now lost just one of their last six matches. It's also worth noting that Albion are still a team that hangs in there in almost every game - they have only lost by more than one goal in one of their last 13 matches, and that was courtesy of a third goal right at the end of their 3-1 defeat at Stoke City.

Albion have already held Liverpool to a draw at Anfield this season, they drew with Arsenal on New Year's Eve, and they only lost 2-1 at home to Manchester United in mid-December. Pardew is trying to add a bit of flair to the solid base that Tony Pulis created, and WBA have scored in each of their last five games in all competitions.

Key defender Jonny Evans is struggling to be fit with a minor injury, while Nacer Chadli and James Morrison are still sidelined.

Liverpool firm favourites, but Albion can keep things tight

The Opta stats show that Liverpool are unbeaten in their last nine meetings with West Brom, but it's worth noting that five of those games have been draws. Liverpool are trading at [1.31] for the win, and while they are of course capable of steamrollering any team when they hit top gear, the stats tell you that Albion can make life tricky for them.

You can back West Brom with a two-goal start on the Handicap at [2.1] on the Sportsbook, and that looks good to me. Liverpool haven't won a game by more than one goal since Boxing Day, and they'll only done it twice in the last ten games.

If Albion can dig in, unders might be the route to profit

Under 2.5 Goals is trading at [2.24] on the Exchange, and that bet has paid out in five of West Brom's last six games in all competitions. Four of the last six meetings between the sides have featured fewer than three goals, including a goalless draw in mid-December.

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