Liverpool continue their FA Cup run against West Brom in the 4th round at Anfield on Saturday night. The Reds come into this encounter off the back of a disappointing loss away to bottom-placed team Swansea in Wales on Monday night, ending the Reds 4 month unbeaten run in all competitions. The Baggies come into this encounter after a hard fought 1-1 draw against Everton at Goodison Park. West. Brom manager Alan Pardew, will be looking for a cup upset on Saturday and will be eyeing progress to the 5th round of the FA Cup.
The 4th round of the FA Cup brings up painful memories for Liverpool fans. Two seasons ago, the Reds were knocked out at this stage by West Ham in a replay. Last season, Klopp’s side were dumped out again in the 4th round to Championship outfit Wolves. In the past 11 years of competing in the FA Cup, the Reds have been dumped out before the last 16 stage on 9 occasions. The pressure will be on as Liverpool attempt to progress to the 5th round of the FA Cup – it would be a first under Jurgen Klopp.
Last Meeting: Liverpool 0-0 West Brom (13th December 2017)
Both these sides met just over a month ago in the league ending goalless. It was a very poor display from The Reds. Dominic Solanke thought he snatched all three points for the home side late on, but his goal was ruled out for handball. The Baggies sat back on that occasion and played a counter-attacking game. Liverpool should expect much of the same on Saturday night.
West Brom qualified for the 4th round of this competition thanks to a 2-0 win away to Exeter in the 3rd round in December. Their prize for that result was a 4th round tie against Liverpool at Anfield. The Baggies sit in 19th place in the league with a measly 20 points after 24 games.
Manager Alan Pardew, has tried to change The Baggies tactics since he took over at the club, with his side playing more possession-based football at The Hawthorns. However, so far that has been difficult to achieve.
West Brom are fighting hard to avoid relegation this season and have picked up 4 valuable points in their last two league games to stay in touch with the teams around them in the relegation zone. Their form has improved over the past two weeks and Liverpool will need to make sure that they don’t underestimate the Baggies in this encounter or they could be in for yet another surprising early exit from the FA Cup.
The Key Battle: Mohamed Salah vs Kieran Gibbs
Liverpool’s top marksman this season, Mo Salah, will be looking to continue his fine form in front of goal. The destructive Egyptian has been one of the signings of the season and will be expected to lead the Reds frontline on Saturday.
Salah will be up against Kieran Gibbs and the Englishman will surely have his hands full. The former Arsenal man has had a steady start to his career with the Baggies. He will need to be on his ‘A’ game to stop Salah and Co from having a field day down the right side of his defense.
Simon Mignolet starts for Liverpool and will be hoping to show manager Jurgen Klopp that he should reclaim the starting spot in goal for the Reds.
Other squad players such as Danny Ings, Ben Woodburn and Dom Solanke will also be hoping for some game time. Klopp will have one eye on the league fixture against Huddersfield on Tuesday night when choosing the match day squad for this encounter. It will be interesting to see whether club captain Jordan Henderson and Alberto Moreno play any part in this game after returning to first team training after their respective injuries in December.
Daniel Sturridge may feature in this game despite being linked with a move to Inter Milan in this window.
Adam Lallana, James Milner and Ragnar Klavan are all ruled out of this game. Nathaniel Clyne is still a long-term absentee for the Reds and will not be available for selection.
Manager Alan Pardew will be focussing more on the league and their fight for survival rather than progression in the FA Cup. That being said, he will still deploy a strong side to face the Reds at Anfield. Ben Foster should start in goal for the Baggies. Key first team starters like Solomon Rondon, Gareth Barry, Kieran Gibbs and Jay Rodriguez will all probably start this game as well. West Brom however, will be without the injured duo Nacer Chadli (thigh injury) and James Morrison (calf injury) on Saturday night.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Moreno, Can, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wijnaldum, Mane, Salah, Firmino
West Brom: Foster, Nyom, Hegazi, Evans, Gibbs, Brunt, Barry, Krychowiak, McClean, Rondon, Rodriguez
Liverpool 2 – 0 West Brom