Dave Tindall says a stalemate looks the best option when West Brom host Liverpool on Sunday...
"A full-strength Liverpool would get my money but the absence of key men (Mane especially) and the feeling that they got away with one at Stoke guides me towards a stalemate."
West Brom v Liverpool
Sunday 16 April, 13:30
Live on Sky Sports 1
If a team of scientists were asked to design a team to beat Liverpool, they'd probably come up with West Brom.
Tony Pulis' men are organised, diligent, don't allow teams to play through the middle and are the Premier League's set-piece experts (they've scored more goals from corners (14) and more headed goals (14) than any other top-flight team).
They also have the lowest average possession stats of any Premier League side (36.5%) and Liverpool are often frustrated and come unstuck against such teams (think back to the game at Burnley when the Reds had an amazing 81% of possession but lost 2-0).
And yet, despite having all the tactical pieces in play, West Brom may be running into Liverpool at the wrong time.
The Baggies have lost four and drawn one of their last six matches, the only win in that sequence being the 3-1 victory over an ailing Arsenal. Either side of that game, their home supporters witnessed a 2-0 loss to Crystal Palace and a 1-0 reverse against Southampton.
Pulis is a master motivator but it must be hard to lift a set of players who know that relegation has never been an issue whilst realising they're almost certainly not going to finish higher than eighth given that seventh-placed Everton are 10 points above them.
With no obvious targets to hit, West Brom have tailed off.
After a period when Liverpool must have wondered where their next win was coming from, they've quietly turned into one of the Premier League's form teams.
Their haul of 14 points from the last six matches is just one less than Chelsea have managed and ranks them fifth in this latest thermometer check of well-being.
Just as it seemed a Champions League slot was slipping away, the Reds are now long odds-on to finish in the top four.
Their mini-revival continued at Stoke last weekend in a match-up not dissimilar to this one. In theory, the Potters had the raw materials to see off Liverpool but, like West Brom, they went into the match in poor form and Jurgen Klopp's men punished them.
That result could prove a key moment in their season and it ended the stat which showed that the Merseysiders hadn't won a Premier League in which Sadio Mane had started.
Nevertheless, the Senagalese is a huge miss for Liverpool and the continued absences of Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson also weakens their hand.
It's hard to imagine that this could possibly be anything but a testing afternoon for the visitors.
On first glance, West Brom look big at [4.4] to gain all three points. Liverpool are [1.92] while the draw is [3.8]. But before punters pile in head-first on the Baggies, there are some hurdles to clear.
The issue of current form is one, as is their poor recent head-to-head record against the men in red. In the last seven meetings, it's four wins for Liverpool, three draws and not a single victory for the hosts.
The goals have dried up for Pulis' men and their record against the top seven (i.e. the teams above them) this season is horrible - Played 10, Won 1, Drawn 2, Lost 7.
Even filtering it down to home form shows that the Baggies have only taken four points from a possible 15 against the big teams. In short, their limitations have been exposed.
My initial thoughts on this game had me leaning towards West Brom but further delving has diminished their appeal considerably.
A full-strength Liverpool would get my money but the absence of key men (Mane especially) and the feeling that they got away with one at Stoke guides me towards a stalemate.
A draw is no disaster for the men from Anfield, especially when you look at the run-ins of Man Utd and Arsenal, and four points from trips to Stoke and West Brom would be a very decent haul.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
This is a riddle to solve. Liverpool are the Premier League's highest scorers with 68 goals and since Klopp took charge in October 2015, their matches average 3.3 goals per game - higher than anyone over that same period.
By contrast, West Brom have failed to score in five of their last six Premier League matches. The market can't decide which way; it's [1.99] for Under 2.5 and [1.94] for Over.
Back-to-form Philippe Coutinho makes most appeal for Liverpool at [2.96].
He's scored in his last three but would have to break new ground as the Brazilian has never netted in four straight Premier League games for the Reds.
Three of West Brom's four goals against Liverpool under Pulis have been scored by defenders (Craig Dawson, Jonas Olsson and Gareth McAuley) and that comes as no surprise.
Olsson has departed but Dawson is [8.6] and McAuley [6.6]. Both are worth cosidering.
Leeds-based Jon Moss travels to the West Midlands for this one.
He's taken charge of 31 matches this season and shown three reds and 117 yellows (ave. 3.77 bookings per game).
Moss has been the man in the middle for only one LFC Premier League game this season - a 3-0 win at Middlesbrough when he didn't book a single Liverpool player.
He hasn't reffed WBA in the Premier League this term but he was in charge when they lost 2-1 at home to Derby in the FA Cup. The only West Brom man that went into his book was James Morrison.
After keeping 10 clean sheets in their first 11 Premier League games against West Brom, Liverpool have since kept just one in 10 league meetings since then.
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Dave Tindall's P/L, 2016/17