Liverpool will host West Brom this weekend and will hope to put aside this past Monday’s draw behind them. The side came up against a staunch Manchester United defence and failed to breach a team’s backline for only the second time this season in the Premier League. West Brom, though, will offer similar resistance.
Tony Pulis’ side have conceded just eight goals this season and are amongst the five best defensive units in the Premier League so far. In addition, they have managed to hold the Reds four times in their last five games and that’s pretty impressive.
The game will predominantly be a battle between Liverpool’s attack and West Brom defence, so here are three key battles to watch out for.
Roberto Firmino Vs Claudio Yacob
Firmino has been a revelation this season and has even benched the usually reliable Daniel Sturridge (when fit). The Brazilian’s movement and linkup play is something that stands above Sturridge’s natural finishing ability and those are two important facets of his game that make him indispensable to the team’s attack.
Come Saturday, Claudio Yacob will have an important game on his hands as the Argentine will have to keep Firmino’s free movement in check. Yacob will play in front of the back four and his cover will be key if the team is to come away with a point or even three.
Philippe Coutinho Vs Craig Dawson
West Brom have a tight-knit defence and will have to ensure that they don’t get stretched. Craig Dawson has done pretty well so far but Saturday’s clash against Coutinho will arguably be his toughest so far in the league.
Against Manchester United, Coutinho was restricted to taking long shots but West Brom cannot afford to allow him too much free space in the attack as the Brazilian has the quality to pull off a quality strike. Dawson will have a tough game as Coutinho’s little shimmies often creates the little space and that’s all he needs to take advantage of and make a darting run into the penalty box or take a shot.
Jordan Henderson Vs Nacer Chadli
Four goals and two assists so far this season makes Chadli the biggest threat to Liverpool’s defence. The Belgian has more than decent pace as well and considering the Baggies will be playing on the counter, it’ll be an ideal setup for the former Spurs man. Liverpool’s deepest midfielder is likely to be Jordan Henderson and he’ll have to be wary of the threat Chadli poses.
West Brom are likely to go long more often than not and considering the aerial advantage that both Chadli and Rondon possess, it won’t be smooth sailing for the Liverpool skipper. His positioning will have to be inch perfect.