How Liverpool Will Line Up Against West Bromwich Albion

Mark Jones@@Mark_Jones86Featured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2014

How Liverpool Will Line Up Against West Bromwich Albion

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    Following their stunning victory over Everton on Tuesday night, Liverpool go to West Bromwich Albion on Sunday in the finest of form and moods.

    However, the Reds know that the 4-0 Merseyside derby win will be rendered meaningless if they don't build on it and push on in the battle for a Champions League place, which will be a tough ask against a West Brom outfit still getting used to life under new boss Pepe Mel.

    It was Steve Clarke who was in charge of the Baggies back in late October, when a stunning Luis Suarez hat-trick and Daniel Sturridge's sublime chip secured a 4-1 victory for the Reds at Anfield.

    Away from home, things are likely to be somewhat tougher.

    Will Brendan Rodgers change things from the Everton win? Or will the Northern Irishman stick with a winning team?

    Here's how his team could line up.

Goalkeeper: Simon Mignolet

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    The Everton win was Simon Mignolet's seventh clean sheet in a Liverpool shirt.

    With all the attacking talent on the books at Anfield, the more of those he keeps, the more games the team will win.

    In the end, Mignolet didn't really have that much to do against the Toffees besides repelling a few hopeful attacks in the first half. However, he will have taken confidence from the victory following a couple of weeks in which his performances have been questioned.

    That is all part and parcel of life at a big club, of course. As long as Mignolet learns from the criticism and improves, he is likely to emerge a better player. 

Defence: Jon Flanagan, Martin Skrtel, Kolo Toure, Aly Cissokho

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    None of Liverpool's quartet of injured defenders will be fit in time for the trip to the Hawthorns, with the returns of Glen Johnson, Mamadou Sakho, Daniel Agger and Jose Enrique all still some way off.

    As a result, the same back four that was seen against Everton is likely to be pressed into action again. However, given the way that Tuesday night went, that appears to be no bad thing at all.

    Of course, the back line were helped by the injury picked up by former Baggie Romelu Lukaku after teammate Gareth Barry collided with him in an attempt to stop Steven Gerrard's opening goal.

    Even so, each and every one of Jon Flanagan, Martin Skrtel, Kolo Toure and Aly Cissokho will have picked up confidence from the victory, and they'll relish going into battle against the likes of Nicolas Anelka, Saido Berahino and Victor Anichebe. 

Midfield: Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho

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    Midfield was supposed to be an area in which Liverpool would struggle during the Everton clash, but ultimately, Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho all dominated as their opponents struggled to keep up with them.

    Gerrard, in particular, was in inspired form as compared to recent weeks. He flew into challenges and made his presence felt further forward, including a fine header he produced for the opening goal.

    As usual, Henderson buzzed around the pitch and sought to get involved in all of his team's attacks, whilst Coutinho turned in one of his best displays of the season.

    Joe Allen could be fit enough to earn a place in the squad whilst Luis Alberto appeared from the bench against Everton, but Rodgers would be wise to keep a winning midfield here. 

Attack: Raheem Sterling, Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge

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    Liverpool's attack blew away Everton on Tuesday with Raheem Sterling's express pace down the right forcing them back down the pitch and Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez so lethal and potent in front of goal.

    The trio will be in action again at the Hawthorns with Suarez no doubt looking to recreate the sublime hat-trick he notched in October.

    Sturridge scored the goal of the game that day, though, and he has now notched five goals in four games since his return from injury. The forward is in stellar form and will be tough to stop.

Ready in Reserve

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    At the time of writing, the Reds were pressing on with a move for the Ukrainian international Yevhen Konoplyanka of Dnipro, with a transfer expected to be completed before Friday's transfer deadline, as per Sky Sports.

    With the squad still on the small side and the likes of youngsters Jordon Ibe and Brad Smith seen on the bench against Everton, the 24-year-old could find himself thrown straight into the squad at the Hawthorns.

    Martin Kelly, Victor Moses and Luis Alberto all made it off the bench in the Merseyside derby and all should start there again, whilst Joe Allen could also be in the squad. 

How They'll Line Up

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    A feature of Liverpool's last two games has been the constant shifting of roles between Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, something the pair did to devastating effect in the Everton victory.

    Suarez and Sturridge switch between performing as the central striker and playing from the left, with Sturridge scoring twice and Suarez once against the Toffees when they were playing through the middle.

    The second most important duo in this team is Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson. The pair will be crucial to establishing control in a match which will feature plenty of midfield possession on both sides.

    Another important pairing will be Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure, who'll be determined to keep the hosts at bay.