Liverpool suffered a surprise setback in Premier League play but looks to advance in the FA Cup against a top-flight foe.

By 90Min
January 26, 2018

Liverpool take on West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup on Saturday night, hoping to bounce back from a shock defeat to Swansea City earlier this week.

The two clubs met only last month, with the Baggies frustrating Klopp's men and grinding out a humdrum 0-0 draw. Pardew will look to continue on some optimistic performances since the turn of the year but having not won at Anfield since February 2013, a Baggies win looks particularly unlikely.

Liverpool progressed to the 4th round thanks to a dramatic Virgil van Dijk debut goal against Merseyside rivals Everton earlier this month; while West Brom bagged a 2-0 win over League Two minnows Exeter City on the South Coast. 

Here's everything you need to know ahead of the clash at Anfield:


Classic Encounter

Matches between these two sides have been far from exhilarating in recent years. Since West Brom's last victory over Liverpool in early 2013, there has been four wins for Liverpool and five stalemates. Of the four Liverpool victories, only one was by more than a one-goal margin.

Liverpool fans will likely remember a superb Luis Suarez hat-trick during the 2013/2014 season in which Brendan Rodgers' men came within touching distance of their first Premier League title. A nutmeg, an edge-of-the-box header, and a set piece were the highlights of a typically brilliant performance from the Uruguayan international.

Meanwhile, West Brom fans might look to the year preceding that when Romelu Lukaku sealed a convincing 3-0 victory over the Reds.


Key Battles

Salomón Rondón vs Virgil van Dijk

After a relatively poor defensive header by the £75m January signing led to a Swansea goal on Monday, much will be made of how Virgil van Dijk deals with Salomón Rondón. 

Despite the Baggies not exactly scoring goals for fun of late, the Venezuelan forward's exceptional hold-up play won him man of the match in the last encounter between these two sides. The height and strength of Rondon - who has recently been linked with a move to both Merseyside clubs - will prove to be a worthy test for Liverpool's 6 foot 4 Dutchman. 

Mohamed Salah vs Kieran Gibbs

A different type of contest will be also be under the spotlight at the other end of the pitch. Last time around West Brom were able to keep a clean sheet, but not without a little luck. Containing Mohamed Salah in his current form is a task no defender would look forward to, and Kieran Gibbs will again have the unfortunate responsibility of trying to keep the Egyptian maestro quiet.

Swansea showed that it is not impossible to keep Liverpool's attacking triumvirate quiet earlier in the week, but it is easier said than done and Salah, Mane and Firmino will all be out to redeem themselves after Monday night's surprisingly insipid display.


Team News

Jordan Henderson and Dejan Lovren have returned to training this week having recovered from a hamstring injury and illness respectively. Alberto Moreno is also nearing full fitness, but Saturday's game may come a little too soon for the Spaniard who may instead have to settle for a place on the bench. 

West Brom's star defender Jonny Evans may miss out after a concussion at Goodison Park on the weekend forced him off the field early. His availability is also potentially in doubt as several clubs circle for his signature.

Nathaniel Clyne, Nacer Chadli and James Morrison are all long-term absentees.

Potential Liverpool Starting Lineup: Mignolet; Alexander-Trent, Matip, Virgil van Dijk, Robertson; Can, Lallana; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Salah, Mane; Solanke.

Potential West Brom Starting Lineup: Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Hegazy, Gibbs; Phillips, Krychowiak; Barry, Brunt, Rodriguez; Rondón.


Prediction

Liverpool may have lost to Swansea City on Monday night - and their 18-game unbeaten streak in all competitions - but their scintillating performances prior to that should not be forgotten. Only one week before Liverpool looked unstoppable, taking a 4-1 lead over league leaders Manchester City and treating Pep Guardiola to his first defeat of the campaign.

Having guided the Baggies to their first win since August earlier this month, Pardew is well aware of West Brom's lack of goals and will certainly not look to take on Liverpool blow for blow. Carlos Carvalhal may be rejoicing in his master plan of putting  "Formula 1 Car" Liverpool in "traffic" on Monday, but his is also something Pardew almost pulled off a month previous had Robson-Kanu's strike not ricocheted off the bar.

Pardew's will undoubtedly sit back and attempt to absorb Liverpool’s offensive pressure. However, with club captain Jonny Evans missing, it is difficult to imagine that West Brom will be able to contain the talents of Firmino, Salaha and Mane. 

Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 West Bromwich Albion

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