West Brom v Liverpool: Reds to stay in top four hunt

Paul Higham says Liverpool can continue their top four hunt with a win over relegated West Brom at the Hawthorns on Sunday...

Big Sam shocked by relegation

West Brom are down but not quite out yet, and Big Sam Allardyce likes nothing more than upsetting the big boys - as his fine recent record against Liverpool shows with the former England boss unbeaten in his last five league games against the Reds (W1 D4).

The Baggies grabbed a 1-1 draw at Anfield in December despite a distinct lack of the ball - their 121 passes as a team was 23 fewer than Jordan Henderson managed by himself.

Back then, Allardyce set his side up to defend deep and frustrate Liverpool showing tremendous workrate and concentration - whether he can get that same determination from a squad of relegated players will be a big factor on Sunday.

A shell-shocked Allardyce is also weighing up his future after sufering his first Premier League relegation, with a decision set to be made before the end of the season: "I can't get my head around it," he said. "I never expected to come here and get relegated, I really thought we'd get out of it so never worried about relegation."

Reds still in top four hunt

After all the injuries and form problems Liverpool have gone through this season, getting back into the Champions League would be something of a success - and beating Man Utd at Old Trafford puts them right back in with a shout of grabbing a top four spot.

It was something of a return to form for Jurgen Klopp's side, but playing teams like West Brom has been their problem this year, not the big teams. Liverpool have just one win in five against the three newly-promoted sides this season (D3 L1).

The Reds are on a seven-game unbeaten run though (W5 D2) with even those two draws coming by conceding late goals against Leeds and Newcastle - and they do have something to fight for now as their extra hunger showed at Old Trafford.

Klopp has just one win in six games agauinst Allardyce and will want to improve on the third worst winning ratio in his career - grabbing a first ever win at Old Trafford on Thursday will have been a boost to him personally though as well.

The Reds looked a lot more clinical against Man Utd, finishing teams off has been a real problem, but at the back question marks remain with 20-year-old Rhys Williams set to continue alongside Nat Phillips if Ozan Kabak can't regain fitness in time.

Run of draws in Baggies fixture

Six of the last eight league meetings have been a draw, but that's a 7.0 chance here with Liverpool heavy 1.2 favourites and the relegated Baggies a whopping 14 to score a huge upset and first win over the Reds in 12 league games.

West Brom have vastly improved at home with just one defeat in seven at the Hawthorns (W2 D4) and have conceded just five goals across those seven matches.

It's traditionally a tough test for Liverpool, but you'd expect them to be fired up for this, with a lot depending on how West Bromn's players approach the game - the likes of Matheus Pereira could be playing for a big move and with five goals in six he'll be at the heart of anything good coming from the Baggies.

Pereira is 4.5 to score anytime here and continue his fine run while Mbaye Diagne could cause Liverpool's inexperienced central defence some problems.

It's been a crazy season and you still wouldn't want to trust this Liverpool defence too much, but on recent form they've got to be huge favourites to bag another three points, the big question is just how they'll do it.

Baggies deflated by relegation

Getting ahead hasn't been too much of a problem of late, with Liverpool leading at half-time in their last four games and in three of their last four away games. They're expected to do that again with them 1.57 to lead after the break.

West Brom have scored in five of their last six but that relegation really seems to have taken the wind out of ALlardyce's sails, and if that manifests itself within his squad then they'll find it tough to score with the visitors more than likely to dominate the ball.

A Liverpool win to nil, something they achieved in three away games in a row at Sheff Utd, Wolves and Arsenal, is achievable again at 2.1.

Player wise, Mo Salah continues to be a tremendous goal-scoring asset for Liverpool, but he's a bit short for me here and preference goes to Diogo Jota, if he starts, to bag the opening goal of the game.

He's 4.5 to score the first goal at the Hawthorns and that's worth taking as he's getting back to his lively self after injury and at times looks Liverpool's most dangerous attacker.

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