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Club News

PRESS PREVIEW: LIVERPOOL

1 December 2017

Rex/Shutterstock
The press preview ahead of Albion v Liverpool.

James Pearce from the Liverpool Echo gives us the lowdown on Saturday's visitors to the Amex Stadium.

The side sit in fifth position, a long way behind Manchester City but comfortably in the top eight – overall assessment of the season so far? 

It’s been a bit of a mixed bag so far – there’s been a lot to admire about the side, especially how dangerous they’ve looked as an attacking force and Mo Salah’s been a revelation.

But the frustration has been that Liverpool haven’t performed as well as they can against the top sides, because that’s what they were so good at last season. They had a promising start but they’ve suffered a few heavy defeats after that and they shook morale a fair bit at the end of October. 

Over the last month they’ve taken steps to repair that damage and they’ve now taken 13 points from the last 15 on offer, so it’s been a bit up and down. There are still defensive issues but they’ve got depth to the squad now and that gives the fans a bit more hope than in previous years.

How would you sum up form away from home in PL – West Ham and Stoke City wins emphatic but Man City and Spurs results still show a defensive frailty?

They do and I think if you look at the total number of goals they’ve conceded on their travels, the number is very high. A total of 16 of the 18 have come away from home, in recent times Jurgen Klopp has reigned the side in a little bit away from home and they’re more compact now at times. 

He’s changed the approach to away games – at Stoke even though they won emphatically it was very much a counter-attacking plan, and they didn’t want to leave the back line exposed.

How far can they go in Europe having topped their group?

They should go through as group winners – there was some angst at the manner of the result away to Sevilla, but it was actually a good result achieved in a bit of an odd manner because most fans would probably have taken a point over there and the fact that they’re a win away from the next round, and then it depends on the draw.

The quarter-finals would be a good achievement after a three-year absence from Europe’s elite. Perhaps defensively you'd fear for them against some of the big sides, but there’s no doubt he has a front line that wouldn’t look out of place against any side in Europe.

Attacking talent is well publicised but if you had to pick out the one to watch, who would that be?

Mohammed Salah without a doubt – he’s surpassed all expectations since his summer move. A lot of people raised an eyebrow at the fee but it’s hard to think of a signing in recent times who’s made this sort of impact. 

To have 17 goals by the end of November is something special because no Liverpool player has even managed that total over the last three seasons. Not since Luis Suarez has an individual been in this sort of form when they nearly won the league. 

Brighton have been praised defensively and Liverpool likewise but for their attacking talent – something has to give this weekend?

It’ll be interesting to see how the sides set up because I think Klopp would have been impressed with Brighton’s Old Trafford performance. The big thing for him is the options he has at his disposal – Phillipe Coutinho was rested in the week so he’ll come back in, as we as starting Salah.

The game will be a massive test of how well drilled Brighton are defensively because Liverpool are confident and have fresh attacking players. 

What would represent a successful season for the side?

Top four and fans desperately want a trophy – if you offered them that finish with a good run in Europe and the FA Cup, then that would represent success.

They haven’t won a trophy since 2010 so it’s important Klopp puts that right – he’s got the depth in the squad now to fight o all fronts and there’s no real excuses. 

The only fear is the lack of cover defensively, but if they can address that in January then there’s no reason why they can’t achieve any of that.


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