Liverpool’s Premier League meeting with West bromwich Albion on Saturday will atract attention off the field as West Brom boss Roy Hodgson welcomes his former club to the Hawthorns for the second time since being shown the exit at Anfield.
Last April, just 12 weeks after being unceremoniously dumped by the five time kings of Europe in favour of KOP idol Daglish, Hodgson and his charges inflicted a surprise 2-1 victory on his old club, a sweet parting shot for the reds’ former boss.
The victory sealed Hodgson’s fifth game unbeaten run since taking over at the Hawtorns after two Chris Brunt penalties gave the home side a first win over the merseysiders in 30 years.
The confidence boosting victory moved West Brom further clear of the relegation zone and Hodgson will be hoping for more of the same as he goes into tomorrow’s game on the back of a recent run of four Premier League matches without defeat.
The Baggies will be further buoyed following Liverpool’s disapointing result against Norwich last weekend as Dalglish attempts to find a cure to his side’s developing trend for frustrating draws.
For their own part, Liverpool will be hoping to exercise the deamons of last season’s visit to the Hawthorns as the aim to secure three points and increase the pressure on the sides currently lying ahead of them on the Barclays Premier League table.
The Merseyside men will be confident ahead of the meeting following a positive performance in their midweek Carling Cup victory over Stoke City.
Dalglish made eight changes to the side who were held to one goal apiece against a dogged Norwhich outift last Saturday and has admitted that his squad’s heartening display has left him with a big selection headache ahead of the trip to West Brom.
West Brom have one major casualty and will be without striker Shane Long for tomorrow’s late kick-off after the Republic of Ireland international was ruled out for six weeks with the knee injury suffered during last weekend’s win over Aston Villa.
He will be replaced by either Somen Tchoyi or Simon Cox with both players vying to partner Peter Odemwingie up front.
Hodgson will also welcome the return of Midfielders Paul Scharner and Graham Dorrans (both knee) and winger Jerome Thomas (foot), who are all expected to be fit for Saturday’s clash.
Liverpool are confident that star striker Luis Suarez has recovered fully for tomorrow’s game after the Uruguayan sustained a ‘little knock’ in the midweek Carling Cup win over Stoke.
The Copa America winner could be partnered by Andy Carroll in attack after the £35million man gave an indication he is finding some sort of form during his side’s 2-1 victory at the Britannia Stadium.
Midfielder Lucas Leiva is available again after missing the draw with Norwich through suspension, but Jay Spearing will be disappointed to lose out after doing well against Stoke.
Daniel Agger is likely to play in the centre of defence after the Dane started his first match in just over a month in midweek following his recovery from a rib injury.
The game is the day’s late kick-off with action commencing at 17.30 and live coverage available on ESPN.
Possible starting XIs
West Brom: Foster, Reid, Olsson, McAuley, Jones, Brunt, Mulumbu, Scharner, Thomas, Tchoyi, Odemwingie.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Agger, Carragher, Enrique, Lucas, Adam, Downing, Gerrard, Kuyt, Suarez.