Liverpool will look to enhance their Champions League ambitions for next season when they face a strong West Brom side at the Hawthorns on Sunday afternoon.
Unbeaten in their last six matches since the loss to Leicester City back in February, Jurgen Klopp’s side have been building momentum as they race to finish in the top four.
West Brom, on the other hand, are without a win in three matches and could be in danger of ending the season out of the top half of the table if results don’t pick up in the following weeks.
Since their underwhelming start to the calendar year, Liverpool have turned their form around with four wins and two draws – including a commanding victory over top-four rivals Arsenal.
Yet victory over Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium last weekend was their first away win in six Premier League matches and the Reds could find it tough on the road again against a spirited West Brom.
Tony Pulis’ side have been in a slight dip in form over the past two months, however, only managing one victory in their past six league matches in a run that included defeats to Crystal Palace and Watford.
Yet their convincing 3-1 win over Arsenal just over a month ago will give the Baggies real hope of claiming another prize scalp in what could potentially be their best ever Premier League season to date.
With Sadio Mane ruled out for the rest of the season, Philippe Coutinho will return to the side despite only managing 45 minutes against Stoke last weekend due to an illness he picked up before the match.
England duo Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana aren’t expected to return in time for the trip to the Hawthorns, so Divock Origi could start in a forward role, with Roberto Firmino tucked in behind.
West Brom have no fresh injury concerns ahead of Sunday’s match and it’s possible that Tony Pulis selects an unchanged eleven from the side that narrowly lost to Southampton last week.
Chris Brunt could come into the side after impressing from the bench, whilst Hal Robson-Kanu has brought himself into contention for a starting role after good cameos in recent weeks.
Match Prediction: West Brom 1-1 Liverpool
Without a win in three successive Premier League matches for the first time this season, Liverpool will be looking to take advantage of West Brom’s dip in form and enhance their European prospects.
However, the Baggies have been a transformed side under Tony Pulis this season and in recent times have held Manchester United to an away draw and comfortably beaten Arsenal at the Hawthorns.
It certainly won’t be Liverpool’s easiest game during their run-in, and Jurgen Klopp will know that his side can’t afford to drop points otherwise Manchester City and Manchester United will be ready to pounce.
Yet it might not all go in favour of the Merseyside club this weekend, with West Brom certainly possessing the ability to frustrate the visitors with their defensive discipline and come out with honours even
Luka Modric could prove the perfect Emre Can replacement at Liverpool
The Croatian has been linked with a move to Anfield with Emre Can expected to leave this summer.
Emre Can looks set to be on his way out of Anfield this summer as the 24-year-old German international seems unwilling to sign a new contract at Liverpool.
Spanish news outlet El Gol Digital have recently linked Real Madrid with the German international, although they would have to fend off interest from European rivals Juventus.
Speaking to Sport 1, Can recently expressed his desire to be featured in the world team of the year at some point in his career.
For the 24-year-old, it would be difficult to turn down a club of Madrid’s magnitude and his departure would represent a blow for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Nonetheless, a swap deal for Real Madrid star Luka Modric would be a superb way to ease the pain of the German’s exit.
Reports linking Can with the Bernabeu come just a matter of weeks after Spanish newspaper Dario Gol expressed Luka Modric’s desire to leave the current Champions League holders.
The Croation international is reportedly keen on a return to the Premier League return, with Liverpool, along with Tottenham, named as front-runners for his signature.
Even at 32 years of age, the Croatian midfielder is still one of the best players in the world and would represent an excellent short-term fix for the Reds.
His brilliant passing range, his superb footballing brain, and his delicate skills are all crucial components that would boost Liverpool’s attacking threat.
Combined with a world-class attack consisting of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane, the Reds truly could stake a claim for the most dynamic frontline in England next season.
Most importantly, the addition of Modric could finally mark the replacement for Philippe Coutinho that many Liverpool supporters have been begging for.
A seasoned international with tremendous experience at the upper levels of world football would be a remarkable transfer for Klopp’s side, and would surely bolster their title aspirations in 2018/19.
Andrew Robertson the most important Liverpool summer signing
The Scottish left-back has plugged a gap that has existed at Liverpool for some time.
Mohamed Salah rightly received all the praise yesterday, after Liverpool put Watford to the sword in the Premier League.
Liverpool beat the Hornets 5-0 at Anfield, with the Egyptian scoring four of the goals.
It is hard to argue with Salah being the club’s best signing in the summer. His tally of 37 goals in 43 games certainly highlights that fact.
However, the most important signing might have been that of Andrew Robertson.
The Scottish left-back joined from Hull City in a deal, reported by the Independent, to be worth around £8 million. That price-tag is now looking an absolute bargain.
Liverpool have had problems at left-back for a number of seasons.
Alberto Moreno looked like being the solution. However, the Spaniard’s defensive work and decision making made him a liability.
Jon Flanagan, who was Brendan Rodgers’ regular left-back, has not reached similar heights since a series of knee injuries decimated his promising career.
Last season saw James Milner fill the role. The experienced midfielder played well out of position but long-term, was not the solution.
Now, Liverpool have Robertson. The Scotland international has made the step up from his time at Hull with ease.
The 24-year-old Glaswegian is not only a threat going forward, but defensively he is exceptional.
His delivery into the box is undoubtedly exemplary, but he is equally adept at stopping opposing players from getting near Liverpool’s.
Liverpool have managed to bring in a player perfectly suited to Jurgen Klopp’s style of play.
Heavy-metal is the way Robertson plays in both attack and defence and the fans at Anfield already love him.
At just £8 million and only 24-years-old Liverpool picked up the bargain of the summer in the Premier League.
If Robertson can continue to progress and play with the same level of consistency he already has, then a decade of dominance at left-back could follow as Liverpool’s left-back.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah within touching distance of all-time Premier League goal-scoring record
The Egyptian international has 28 Premier League goals this term.
Anfield witnessed a truly special moment in the second half of Liverpool’s 5-0 thrashing of Watford on Saturday. Winning 3-0, Liverpool were running riot in wintry conditions, and Mohamed Salah collected the ball just inside the box on a hat-trick.
What followed was absolute magic, emblematic of a dream debut season in the north-west for the Egyptian. Salah was mobbed by three defenders, but left all three in the dust with one deft cut-back.
Then, with two more Watford players crashing in on the ball, Salah remarkably managed to poke an improvised finish into the far corner past the helpless Orestis Karnezis.
As Salah wheeled away in celebration, tongue stuck out and arms extended, Anfield reveled in history in the making. That goal marked Salah’s 27th of the Premier League season and he would go on to score his 28th just eight minutes later.
The Egyptian is on course to smash the Premier League scoring records in emphatic fashion. The current record is 31 goals, a tally achieved by Alan Shearer in 1995/96, Cristiano Ronaldo in 2007/08, and fellow Red Luis Suarez in 2013/14.
With seven matches remaining, including fixtures against the likes of West Brom and Stoke, few would bet against Salah demolishing the 22-year-old record.
The achievement would place Salah in the illustrious company of Premier League legends, an incredible feat for a player who many in England wrote off during his short spell at Chelsea.
Thanks to Salah, Liverpool have barely missed a step after the departure of Philippe Coutinho in January, advancing to the Champions League quarterfinals and cementing their top-four position.
The prolific winger is proving all of his doubters wrong in audacious fashion, and with a Premier League Golden Boot and goal-scoring record seemingly on the way, he is one of the most in-form players in the world.
The early-April European clash with Manchester City will provide Salah with, perhaps, his biggest stage yet. Expect the top goalscorer in England to rise to the occasion.
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