Liverpool kick off their first season under Brendan Rodgers with a trip to the Hawthorns.
West Bromwich Albion represent the kind of opposition that Liverpool traditionally struggle against. Therefore, when I say this is a very tricky opening fixture for the Reds, I mean it.
Liverpool will have to have their wits about them if they want to travel back to Anfield with a win.
Here are some predictions for the clash.
It is highly probable that Liverpool's starting midfield trio will consist of Lucas Leiva, Steven Gerrard and either Jordan Henderson, Jonjo Shelvey or summer signing Joe Allen.
I'm unsure as to who will start, but I'm fairly confident the list will be narrowed down to Shelvey or Allen, and I ultimately expect Allen to start.
Judging from the reaction of his new teammates, Allen is doing something right on the training pitch, and Rodgers' admiration for the young star might see him thrown in at the deep end.
I recently wrote an article discussing Liverpool's best options up front as of this moment in time.
Most readers were keen to see Fabio Borini, Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll up front together. However, with Carroll having flown to Switzerland (the first football match I have ever watched—I know, it's ridiculous) this week, a place on the bench is more than likely.
Expect Borini to play up front with Suarez and a winger, likely to be Stewart Downing.
Don't expect new signing Oussama Assaidi to make the squad.
Personally, I think football matches should always start with at least one team really going for it, and I can't stand games that take a while to get going.
With that being said, I expect Rodgers to urge Liverpool to attack early on while The Baggies are still finding their feet.
I expect Liverpool to create chances, dominate possession and maybe even sneak a goal within the first 20 minutes.
Luis Suarez has begun to look like the dangerous player he showed only glimpses of in the red of Liverpool last season.
Before you jump down my throat, hear me out.
Suarez has always shown a deft touch, fantastic vision and the creativity to match the very best in the world. However, I get the feeling that some Liverpool fans turn a blind eye to the times he has lost possession unnecessarily, or goes for the brilliant over the blindingly obvious.
Having said that, I think Suarez has begun to take better options, while still showcasing fantastic skill. Should Suarez prove me right, he and Liverpool are in for a monster season.
I think he should take advantage of what will be relatively rusty Albion legs (they didn't play in Euro 2012 or the Olympics) and appear on the scoresheet.
I have a feeling that this game won't be as comfortable as some fans seem to think. Reds supporters have been rattling out things like "4-0" and "Suarez hat trick."
It just won't happen.
It will be a close game. The two sides are both finding their feet and Liverpool are away from home. I expect a closely fought game, with a narrow Liverpool victory or even a draw on the cards.
Ultimately, I predict a 2-1 Liverpool victory.
Thanks for reading.
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