Four days have passed since José Mourinho came and parked his bus in front of the Kop, so hopefully blood pressures have settled down to a more normal level and frustration at his tactics has subsided. That will be just in time for blood pressure to mount and frustration to build as we welcome José Mourinho without all the money to Anfield, Mr. Tony Pulis. Jürgen Klopp said in his press conference on Thursday that facing Manchester United was the perfect preparation for West Brom – a damning indictment of how far our old rival’s star has fallen since the days of Alex Ferguson.
Now we wait to see just how much the players have learnt from dealing with a low blocking defence. Can we break through the West Brom backline? Or are we going to have another frustrating day at the office? Perhaps more importantly, will our defence be able to cope with the aerial bombardment that Pulis is bound to encourage the Baggies to force on us? Here I’ll have a look at some of the best betting options open to those of you who enjoy a punt. If you’ve been following along you’ll know that my advice to bet on Marouane Fellaini to get booked in our game against the Red Devils was the equivalent of printing your own money. Will I keep my run going?
Klopp confirmed on Thursday that ‘unless anything happens’ in training before the game then pretty much everyone should be fit. Gigi Wijnaldum is back working with the squad, though the match may come a little too soon for him to earn himself a starting berth. The major question, therefore, is about whether or not Adam Lallana comes back in to replace Emre Can given the former’s cameo against Manchester United and the latter’s lack of match fitness.
Some of that will depend on why exactly he started Can on Monday night. His options were limited, admittedly, but it also seemed to me in the ground that the German was asked to stick with Fellaini and try and win headers against him. Perhaps Can’s physique means that Klopp believes he’s more able to cope with high-balls than Lallana is. It was interesting that Henderson played the deeper-lying midfield role even though that’s where Can has been used in the past.
Another question Klopp will have to answer revolves around the front-man. The stats suggest that Daniel Sturridge made numerous runs in behind the United defence at the start of the week, but anyone watching the game will have seen a striker struggling to get himself involved in the game. A front-three that interchanges regularly is more likely to break down a stubborn defence than one man as the central point, so I think Klopp’s decision over Sturridge will be made by Wijnaldum’s fitness and the likelihood that he starts. For my money our XI will be: Karius – Clyne – Matip – Lovren – Milner – Henderson – Can – Lallana – Coutinho – Mané – Firmino.
The big news for West Brom is that Johnny Evans is out of the side because of a suspension, so Jonas Olsson is likely to replace him. Ordinarily an important defender missing the game would be cause for celebration, but defenders have a history of performing brilliantly against Liverpool when they’re miserable the rest of the time. There are also question marks around Saido Berahino. The England under-21 international was apparently left out of the baggies’ squad to face Tottenham last weekend because he was overweight.
Other than a choice over Berahino there are no real decisions for Tony Pulis to make. Nacer Chadli has impressed since arriving from Spurs in the summer for a club record £13 million, scoring on both his debut and his home debut. The latter saw him net twice whilst also setting up two goals, so he will unquestionably be one to watch. Again, gun to my head I would say this will be Pulis’ line-up at Anfield: Foster – Dawson – McAuley – Olsson – Nyom – Fletcher – Yacob – Phillips – Chadli – McClean – Rondon.
Going into this weekend Liverpool are two points off the top of the Premier League having played away at Stamford Bridge, White Hart Lane and The Emirates and faced Manchester United and the defending Premier League champions Leicester City at home. Arsenal are perhaps the league’s form team at the moment but Liverpool aren’t far behind, unbeaten in our last eight having won six of them. The next few games will tell us everything we need to know about where our ambitions should be this season. Carry on the form we’re in and we’ll unquestionably be in the title mix come May. Fail to beat the likes of West Brom or Watford at home and the top four could be about all we can hope for.
West Brom are exactly what you’d expect from a Tony Pulis side. He has a career win percentage of 36%, though in truth that is flattered a little bit by good ratios at Gillingham and Crystal Palace. Generally speaking he will win you about 1/3 of your games, drawing a third and losing the other third. So far this season they have won two games, drawn four and lost two. We are unbeaten in six against them but the last four matches have ended in a draw. Pulis’ career stats suggest this one will be a result, but which way it goes could come down a few factors beyond our control.
Much like when Manchester United came to town under José Mourinho, we know exactly what we’re going to get on Saturday evening. If you’re going to the ground then expect to get a sore neck from looking up in the air at all of the long balls. But what bets should you stick on when you head to bookies or get your app out?
Coral Offer: Liverpool To Win At 25/1
Are you a Coral customer yet? If not now might well be the perfect time to join. They’ve got a pretty stunning offer on for new customers that gives you enhanced odds of 25/1 for the Reds to run out as winners tomorrow. That’s it, Liverpool only need to win; no ‘correct score’ or ‘first goal scorer’ is necessary for you to get the enhanced odds.
If you want to take advantage of this then you need to join Coral and you’ll see the enhanced odds offer on your main page. Deposit £5 and make sure your first bet is with real money and is a £1 win single bet on the 25/1. If Liverpool win then you’ll the winnings of the real odds paid into your account as cash and the remaining money will be made up of free bet tokens. The best news of all is that if the bet doesn’t win then you’ll get a £5 free bet anyway. Perfect!
West Brom have scored nine goals so far in the Premier League. Of those nine goals three have been scored by Salomón Rondón and four have been scored by Nacer Chadli. The other two have been netted by James McClean and Gareth McAuley. It’s probably fair to say, then, that if the Baggies do find the net at Anfield then it will be reasonably easy to predict who did it for them. Rondón is 7/2 to Score Anytime, with Nacer Chadli as long as 6/1 to Score Anytime in some places. If you want longer odds then Chadli is 12/1 and Rondón is 11/1 to be First Goal Scorer.
For Liverpool the options are more plentiful. I’m inclined to lean towards the 4/1 available for James Milner to Score Anytime, especially considering the likelihood of him taking any penalty that we may be awarded. You’d imagine that most of the action will take place in the final third at the West Brom end, so hopefully the trickiness of the likes of Firmino and Mané will earn us a spot kick. Joel Matip is 7/1 to Score Anytime and the tall defender continues to be my recommendation to get on the scoresheet. Sadio Mané & Roberto Firmino are both 4/1 to be our First Goal Scorer, so a few quid on each could see a decent return.
Thinking Outside The Box
In their match against Spurs West Brom won five corners and gave away eight, committing fourteen fouls and being the victims of ten. Against Sunderland the Baggies won five corners and conceded six, with the Black Cats committing seven fouls and being fouled thirteen times. In the match against Tony Pulis’ former side Stoke the Potters won six corners and gave away the same number, fouling West Brom players nine times and being the victims of a foul on thirteen occasions. It is Even Money for there to be Over 11.5 Corners in the game. Like Fellaini getting booked, that looks like a chance to print money to me.
Liverpool have only managed one clean sheet in the Premier League so far this season and that came on Monday night against United. The 2/1 available for Liverpool To Win and Both Teams To Score seems like a slightly left field bet that is worthy of consideration, therefore. The worst thing that could happen against a Tony Pulis side is for us to give them something to defend early doors. Perhaps you might want to give yourself some insurance, therefore, and have a 14/1 bet on West Brom To Score In the 1st 10 Mins. It will kill the game if it happens, but at least your bank balance will be happy.
You might not want to place all of the bets I’ve just mentioned, so allow me to narrow it down for you: If you only want to place two bets then my advice would be to lump on Over 11.5 Corners to start with. I’d then also go for James Milner To Score Anytime @ 4/1.