April 23, 2015

Liverpool will be forgiven for having more than half an eye elsewhere as they travel to the Hawthorns to face West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool (16-11-10) have an outside chance of qualifying for the Europa League if they beat West Brom on the final day of the Premier League, but it is this season's Europa that is the talk of Merseyside.

Liverpool are into the Europa League final thanks to impressive wins over Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and Villarreal in the previous three rounds. And Klopp's team will travel to Basel on Wednesday to face a Sevilla side going for a historic hat trick of titles with a spot in next season's Champions League at stake.

However, first up it's West Brom, and Klopp insists the squad are fully focused on that game - despite reports he is planning on heavily rotating his squad.

"I have Europa League press work to do, the players have done work around the final, and that won't change," Klopp said. "But in these 90 minutes (against West Brom) it makes no sense to think about anything else. If we can't do it on Sunday, we will have to learn for the future. If we don't give 100 percent concentration, we will lose 4-0.

"We've shown what we're capable of in the Europa League. It's an outstanding opportunity for us. We will be ready 100 percent and it's important we enjoy it.

As his first season at Anfield wraps up, Klopp knows these two matches can serve as a vital springboard to next season, one which already has high hopes based on results since his October arrival.

"If you cannot be number one, one of the best four teams, you still have to develop," he said. "The Premier League goes on next year, so we will play again, so we can use each experience from this year for next year. That's what we will do. It's a good atmosphere around Liverpool and that has made me optimistic."

Hosts West Brom (10-12-15) have been steered to a mid-table finish by manager Tony Pulis. However, the Baggies have come in for repeated criticism for their style of play - something statistics appear to support.

Only relegated Aston Villa (27) have scored fewer goals in the Premier League than West Brom's 33 and only Villa have been as blunt in terms of chances created. Pulis' side have also been in possession of the ball for less time than any other club in the division, but even so, they still have the worst pass success rate of all 20 top-flight clubs.

The Baggies have yet to win a game by greater than a one goal margin this season - seven of their 10 wins have come by a 1-0 scoreline - but Pulis believes the criticism of their style is unfair.

"We allow them (opponents) to have the ball in certain areas, we're quite happy for them to be there," Pulis said. "It gives us time to get set, it gives us time to put ourselves in positions that if they do come in we've got bodies there to cope with it.

"You look at my team, you can say it's got an identity. ... If you look at the games we've played, we've done exactly what we've needed to. Saido (Berahino) alone could've scored a few goals, Gards (Craig Gardner) could've had a hat-trick (against West Ham) - we've had great chances. We have to be more clinical."

The Baggies remain without midfielders Chris Brunt and James Morrison with long-term injury problems, while Darren Fletcher, Jonny Evans, Stephane Sessegnon and Alex Pritchard are doubts.

Liverpool are hopeful of having Divock Origi and Jordan Henderson fit in time for the Europa League final, while Danny Ings is also back in training after a lengthy absence with a knee ligament injury.

West Brom have not beaten Liverpool in the last five meetings between the two clubs after Origi rescued a 2-2 draw with a goal in the sixth minute of second-half stoppage time at Anfield in December. And Pulis' side have lost three home games on the bounce without scoring.

Reds striker Daniel Sturridge has scored in each of his two appearances for Liverpool against West Brom.

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