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      MATCH PREVIEW

LIVERPOOL v WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Barclays Premier League
Monday 11th February 2013, 8pm
Anfield

MATCH NOTES

This is the 140th league and cup meeting between Albion and Liverpool.

The two clubs have met once before on February 11, in 1905, when goals from Sam Raybould and Jack Parkinson gave Liverpool a 2-0 win in a Second Division game at The Hawthorns.

Albion's record on February 11 is pretty poor, winning just three out of 17 games. The last time the Baggies won on this date was 80 years ago in 1933 when they recorded a 2-0 victory at home to Sheffield Wednesday. The last game Albion played on February 11 was in 2006 when Bryan Robson's men suffered a 6-1 thrashing at Fulham.

Albion have not won on successive visits to Anfield since 1937.

The Baggies have won three out of the last four league meetings with the Reds, this coming after winning only two of the previous 41.

Albion are attempting to complete their first league double over Liverpool since the 1966/67 season.

Each of Liverpool's last 10 league games has produced at least three goals in total.

Albion, along with Reading, are the only Premier League club yet to keep an away clean sheet this season.

Jerome Thomas will make his 100th Albion appearance if he figures in the game.

Albion's last six games: Tottenham Hotspur (H) 0-1; Everton (A) 1-2; Aston Villa (H) 2-2; QPR (H FAC) 0-1; Reading (A) 2-3; QPR (A FAC) 1-1

Liverpool's last six games: Manchester City (A) 2-2; Arsenal (A) 2-2; Oldham Athletic (A FAC) 2-3; Norwich City (H) 5-0; Manchester United (A) 1-2; Mansfield Town (A FAC) 2-1

TEAM NEWS

Albion

Youssouf Mulumbu could return following his knee problem, whilst Peter Odemwingie is back in the squad after apologising for his recent behaviour during his attempts to force a transfer to Queens Park Rangers.

Macedonian defender Goran Popov begins a three-match ban following his red card for spitting at Tottenham's Kyle Walker last weekend.

George Thorne and Zoltan Gera are both out with long-term injuries.

Squad from: Foster, Myhill, Daniels, Reid, Jones, Olsson, McAuley, Tamas, Ridgewell, Dorrans, Mulumbu, Yacob, Brunt, Morrison, Thomas, Long, Lukaku, Fortune, Odemwingie, Rosenberg, Nabi.

Liverpool

Striker Daniel Sturridge faces a late fitness test after missing England's 2-1 victory over Brazil on Wednesday. Martin Kelly remains sidelined with a knee injury.

Raheem Sterling, who missed England Under-21s' win over Sweden on Tuesday with a dead leg, is now fit.

New 8.5million signing Philippe Coutinho trained with the squad for the first time yesterday and could be named among the substitutes.

Squad from: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Enrique, Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson, Downing, Suarez, Sturridge, Jones, Wisdom, Skrtel, Allen, Shelvey, Coutinho, Borini, Sterling.

QUOTES

Albion boss Steve Clarke:

Its been a difficult time for the club. My job is to try and keep the players on an even keel and try and get good performances.

The biggest disappointment for me was the first 45 minutes against Tottenham last week was as good as weve been for a number of weeks but a lot of what has gone on around that has detracted and taken away from that. Its important we focus on the football side and the fact we are starting to show a few signs were getting back to the form pre-Christmas.

I would think at some point some players have been distracted by what has gone on, other players have just got on with it, and maybe different players have been distracted at different times. It hasnt been ideal for us. And it hasnt been a good six weeks since the turn of the year results-wise.

But, in football, youve always got the next game and its a fantastic game to look forward to on Monday night at Anfield. Im looking forward to it. I had a great 18 months at
Liverpool football club. I made a lot of friends and have a lot of good memories from my time there. I look forward to going back. Hopefully West Brom can get the same result as they did last year at Anfield.

Im not surprised at all to see some of the youngsters coming through there and some of the more experienced ones that Kenny signed as well. It can take a period of time for people to settle into a club the size of Liverpool. Stewart Downing is in the team, Jordan Henderson and Jose Enrique, and Luis Suarez has really settled into the club now. I think at this stage
Liverpool are probably playing the best football in the Premier League. They had a difficult start but now they have picked up and are doing really well. Its going to be a tough night for us.

You couldnt be prepared for the events that have happened here, certainly in the last ten days I dont think you could be prepared for that. Its nice to see there have been apologies and everyone wants to move on. The most important thing for us from a football point of view is that we want to move on. You cant stand still, you cant keep looking back - we have to move on. Me and the players will deal with it. Some players will deal with it in their own way, which will be different from someone else and different from me. But well all deal with it together and move forward. Because at the end of the day, were all professionals and Ive got to get the best out of the group Ive got. That means playing football matches, playing well and getting points. Thats the only way to go forward.

www.wba.co.uk

Liverpool boss Brendan Rogers:

"Once we reach the 10 games-to-go mark you are getting to the business end of the season and if we keep progressing like we are then that will make me happy. But it is more longer term than that. This season was always going to be a season of change, although I did say in the first half we would get better and that is what we have been doing. We will fight and give everything we can to get the results to keep our performance level improving.

"The players have done remarkably well up to this point. We've had ups and downs through the season and we've lost games we should have won. There's no doubt there's been a real shift in mentality of the group but we've still got a long way to go. We still have an awful lot of improvements to make, a lot of consistency to find but we are on the right path and that is important.

"My only focus now is the next game. It is very difficult to forecast (results) and look beyond West Brom. We have an important couple of weeks coming up in terms of games but the first one is always the most important."

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MATCH ODDS

Result

Albion Win: 13/2, Liverpool Win: 2/5, Draw: 7/2.

First Goalscorer

Suarez 3/1, Sturridge 7/2, Gerrard 11/2, Borini 6/1, Shelvey 7/1, Coutinho 8/1, Sterling 8/1, Suso 8/1, Lukaku 9/1, Long 10/1, Assaidi 12/1, Odemwingie 12/1, Downing 14/1, Henderson 14/1, Fortune 14/1, Morrison 14/1, Rosenberg 14/1, Brunt 18/1, Enrique 20/1, Dorrans 20/1.

REFEREE

Jon Moss (West Yorkshire)

Has refereed two Albion games so far this season, the 2-0 victory at home to Everton in September and the 2-0 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford in December.

Moss took charge of three Albion games during the 2011/12 season - The 2-1 Carling Cup defeat at Everton in September, the 2-1 defeat at home to Swansea in February and the 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers at The Hawthorns in April.

The official has refereed one Liverpool game this season, the 0-0 draw at Swansea City in November.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets for Albion fans are now on general sale.

The Baggies have been allocated 1,700 seats for the game, priced 42 adults, 31.50 OAPs (over 65s), and 15 juniors (under 16s).

WEATHER FORECAST

Partly cloudy but dry and cold, 0C.

FIXTURE HISTORY

The first league meeting between the two clubs took place in September 1894 at Stoney Lane. Albion ran out 5-0 winners thanks to goals from Billy Bassett, Billy Williams, Billy Richards, Roddy McLeod and Tommy Hutchinson. The return game at Anfield on New Years Day, 1895, ended in a 4-0 win for the Reds. Harry Bradshaw (2), Jimmy Ross and David Hannah the goalscorers.

Albion's best league win against Liverpool came in February 1936 at The Hawthorns. W.G Richardson helped himself to a hat-trick as the Baggies eased to a 6-1 victory.

Other big wins for the Baggies include 5-1 at home in 1938 and 5-2 - a score achieved twice - first at Anfield in 1951 and then at The Hawthorns on Christmas Day, 1953.

Liverpool's best win against the Baggies came at the Hawthorns in April 2003 when four goals from Michael Owen and two from Milan Baros saw Liverpool cruise to a 6-0 Premier League victory.

The Reds have registered a 5-0 victory against Albion on four occasions - at Anfield in 1900 and 1935, and at The Hawthorns in 1985 and 2004, John Wark hitting a hat-trick in the 1985 game.

Albion's victory at Anfield last season came after a run of 24 games at the venue without a win.

LAST MEETING AT ANFIELD

Liverpool 0-1 Albion
Barclays Premier League
Sunday 22nd April 2012, 4:00pm

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique, Kuyt (Bellamy 68), Henderson, Spearing (Shelvey 83), Maxi (Downing 74), Suarez, Carroll. Subs not used: Doni, Coates, Carragher, Kelly.

Booked: Agger 76 (unsporting behavoiur), Shelvey 90+4 (foul)

Albion: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Brunt, Dorrans (Cox 86), Mulumbu, Thomas (Andrews 69), Odemwingie (Scharner 83), Long. Subs not used: Fulop, Tchoyi, Shorey, Dawson.

Goalscorer: Odemwingie 75

Attendance: 43,660

Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire)


Roy Hodgson's West Brom completed the ultimate smash-and-grab raid to record their first win at Anfield for 45 years as Liverpool dominated but dropped yet more points at home. Had the hosts converted all their chances they would probably have made it into double figures but their season-long goalscoring problems cost them dearly once again.

Baggies manager Hodgson, sacked by Liverpool in January last year after a disappointing six months in charge, will no doubt have taken great satisfaction on his first return to his former club. Kenny Dalglish, the man who replaced him, will be wondering what his side have to do solve their problems in front of goal after twice hitting the woodwork and having a penalty claim rejected in addition to numerous other opportunities. But having not broken West Brom's resistance there was always the risk of punishment and it was duly delivered by Peter Odemwingie 15 minutes from time. Liverpool have now won just one Barclays Premier League game at home in 2012 and scored only six goals in seven matches, and have dropped 27 points at Anfield in the current campaign.

With diving back on the agenda after recent incidents involving Manchester United's Ashley Young, the spotlight was turned on Maxi Rodriguez in the most contentious incident of the first half The Argentinian did appear to be caught by Billy Jones as he flicked the ball past him on the edge of the six-yard area but referee Neil Swarbrick waved away penalty appeals. But Liverpool, without the injured Steven Gerrard, should not have had to rely on the official for a helping hand after a number of chances went begging. Their previous nine draws and two defeats at home were a direct result of them failing to convert and the first half was almost a re-run of games gone by. Players seemed to be queuing up to squander opportunities as dominance in possession failed to lead to an end product. Dirk Kuyt, whose future at Anfield has been the subject of much speculation this week, set the tone in the 10th minute by dragging a shot wide when he had to at least hit the target. Luis Suarez's cross-shot failed to either test goalkeeper Ben Foster or find a team-mate in the six-yard area and when he did have a shot parried by Foster, the rebound was blazed over by Rodriguez. In between there was the penalty appeal before Carroll headed wide, Suarez nodded a looping effort on to the roof of the net and Daniel Agger had a close-range shot turned behind. West Brom were restricted to two chances but had it not been for the brilliance of Jose Reina, returning after a three-match suspension, they would have been ahead. The Spain international produced an instinctive one-handed save low to his left to stop Chris Brunt's 28th-minute volley before blocking Liam Ridgewell's shot when Graham Dorrans' corner dropped in the six-yard area.

If anything it got worse after half-time as the visitors' defence came under siege yet was never beaten, although that was often down to luck as much as design. Jordan Henderson began the onslaught by smashing a shot against the crossbar with Foster well beaten, Suarez produced a trademark weaving run along the byline before firing over with Rodriguez also volleying into the Kop from another Carroll knockdown. Kuyt continued the theme with a shot deflected onto a post by Ridgewell and Carroll both volleyed and headed over. The Baggies' goal was leading a charmed life with Foster saving from Suarez, Carroll falling over as he tried to force home the rebound and Jay Spearing's shot blocked by Brunt on the line all in the same move before Henderson fired into the side-netting. But the 75th minute brought the sucker punch which Reds fans who have watched similar games at Anfield this season were probably expecting. Glen Johnson's attempts to wriggle out of a tight spot deep on the right of defence saw him give the ball away to Mulumbu, who played in Odemwingie to shoot past Reina. It was only the Baggies' second goal in 12 visits to Anfield - the last coming when Garth Crooks scored in a 4-1 defeat in 1985 - but if Hodgson felt a degree of smugness he did well to hide it as he sat unmoved on the bench. Still Liverpool's onslaught continued, with Jonas Olsson blocking a certain goal for Carroll and Foster claiming Suarez's narrow-angle shot at the second attempt, and at the final whistle an understandable air of disbelief wafted around Anfield.

Sporting Life

CURRENT CONNECTIONS

Current Baggies' boss Steve Clarke spent 18 months at Anfield as first team coach under Kenny Dalglish. Clarke left his role in the Summer following the appointment of Brendan Rogers and two days later was named as Albion's new head coach.

Current Albion joint assistant head coach Kevin Keen worked as a coach at Liverpool under Dalglish and alongside Clarke. He moved to The Hawthorns in July after leaving Anfield.

Liverpool youngster Jerome Sinclair started his playing career in Albion's academy before leaving to join the Reds in 2011.

PAST CONNECTIONS

Amongst the players to have turned out at various levels for both clubs are: Freddie Buck, David Burrows, Scott Carson, John Chadburn, Harry Chambers, John Durnin, Bruce Grobbelaar, John Glover, Andrew Hannah, Charlie Hewitt, Tony Kelly, Chris Kirkland, Steve Nicol and David Speedie.

Current England boss Roy Hodgson managed both clubs whilst ex-Albion boss Jimmy Hagan started his playing career as a junior at Anfield.

ALL-TIME LEAGUE & CUP RECORD VS LIVERPOOL

 VENUE P W D  L F A
 Home 72 25 18 29 95 93
 Away 66 11 20 35 54 111
 Neutral 1 1 0 0 2 1
 Total 139 37 38 64 151 205

LAST TEN MATCHES AGAINST LIVERPOOL

 DATE  COMPETITION H/A F-A  GOALSCORERS  GATE
 Wed 26 Sep 2012  League Cup H 1-2  Tamas - Sahin 2  21,164
 Sat 18 Aug 2012  Premier League H 3-0  Gera, Odemwingie (pen), Lukaku  26,039
 Sun 22 Apr 2012  Premier League A 1-0  Odemwingie  43,660
 Sat 29 Oct 2011  Premier League H 0-2  Adam (pen), Carroll  25,522
 Sat 02 Apr 2011  Premier League H 2-1  Brunt 2 (2pens) - Skrtel  26,196
 Sun 29 Aug 2010  Premier League A 0-1  Torres  41,194
 Sun 17 May 2009  Premier League H 0-2  Gerrard, Kuyt  26,138
 Sat 08 Nov 2008  Premier League A 0-3  Keane 2, Arbeloa  43,451
 Sat 01 Apr 2006  Premier League H 0-2  Fowler, Cisse  27,576
 Sat 31 Dec 2005  Premier League A 0-1  Crouch  44,192

 

 
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