West Brom-Liverpool Preview
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Sometimes the crowded holiday fixture list can be a blessing in disguise, and that appears to be the case for Liverpool as they try to shake off some frustration and get back on the pitch at Anfield to face West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday night.
The Reds (9-2-5) are hoping Sunday's 1-1 draw against Merseyside rivals Everton won't halt their positive momentum as the move into the festive period of the schedule.
Jurgen Klopp's side is still amidst a 7-3-0 stretch over all competitions, but also smarting from Sunday's result.
Liverpool dominated that match against Everton, keeping almost 80 percent of the ball, but only managed three shots on target. Mohamed Salah's 42nd-minute strike gave the club the lead, but it was cancelled out by a second-half penalty by Wayne Rooney.
Klopp chose to rotate his squad by leaving Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino on the bench. Both players came on as second-half substitutes, but they weren't able to find a winning goal.
"We had enough situations and enough chances to win the game, and other situations where it didn't result in a clear-cut chance but that was down to a wrong decision or quality on the final ball," defender/midfielder James Milner said.
"We're getting into those situations. I thought we played pretty well most of the game. One situation went against us, one decision, and we have to bounce back now."
Salah's goal against Everton now leaves him on the precipice of some history. The Egypt international is one away from becoming the first Liverpool player to score 20-plus goals in all competitions in a single season since Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge both did so in 2013-14.
West Brom (2-7-7) offer Liverpool a good chance to wipe away any lingering frustration as the Reds have had the better of the recent matches in the fixture. Klopp's boys are unbeaten in their last eight games against the Baggies.
West Brom's winless streak in Premier League play has reached critical mass and now stands at 14 since opening the season with back-to-back victories. The Baggies enter this matchday in the thick of the relegation battle in 17th place on 13 points, clear of the bottom three on goal difference.
In their most recent outing, West Brom suffered a 1-0 loss to Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium thanks to an 81st-minute strike from Wilfried Bony. Alan Pardew's boys only managed one shot on target, and could have some trouble at Anfield, where Liverpool are unbeaten in 14 straight matches in all competitions.
Despite the struggles, Baggies captain Jonny Evans believes his club can start moving up the table if they can regain some confidence.
"The manager is trying to build our confidence," Evans said. "He's been very encouraging since he's come in - he's been very positive. He's encouraging us to get forward and express ourselves. I think the lads are all enjoying that side of it.
"I think it will take time working on the training field making sure that we are well drilled. We'll build that confidence by doing things over and over again. I think the confidence will come and the results will pick up. The gaffer told us after the game to keep our heads up. We'll work hard this week in training, especially on our attacking play."
Updated December 11, 2017