Newly re-promoted West Brom come to Anfield Sunday, and Liverpool needs to deliver not just a win, but an all-around quality performance. Roy Hodgson has said he will likely recall the likes of Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Milan Jovanovic among others after they were left on Merseyside for Liverpool's victory over Trabzonspor.
The Reds have recorded two wins, four if you count Rabotnicki in preseason, in their two Europa League games, but have done so without really impressing all that much. They showed fight to come back in Turkey Thursday against a tough team and raucous crowd, but were still very average for large parts of the game, much like in the first-leg.
Liverpool's two Premier League matches have the same story with different endings.
In the opening draw with Arsenal, the Reds showed determination and heart after going down to 10 men and were unlucky that the Gunners escaped with a point. But the passion didn't come out until the second half.
And against Manchester City, Liverpool looked lethargic for all but 10 minutes in the second half. Liverpool was outplayed from start to finish by City even though Hodgson was playing his big men. Hodgson is right that a loss this early is not the end of the world, but after the beating by City, the team needs a good win to boost morale before the international break.
One thing Liverpool needs to improve on is first-half performances. In each of their games this season, the Reds have looked a little shaky in the early going although only City made them pay for it. And especially since West Brom will likely come to Anfield and park the bus, it's important for Liverpool to get out of the gates and score quickly to frustrate West Brom's game plan.
West Brom has rarely had much happiness against Liverpool, and that should continue Sunday. But a narrow 1-0 or 2-0 win won't suffice. The Reds have the power to rack up a big score against the Baggies, and they need to to really show their worth.
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