Liverpool – West Bromwich Albion: League Leaders Stumble Over Big Sam’s Ultra-Defensive Shape (1-1)
Liverpool hoped to put West Bromwich Albion to the sword in their final home game of 2020. Though they took an early lead, the hosts struggled to break down a dogged low block, before taking a nasty blow at a set piece to leave us all pondering what turn the title race will take next.
Tactical analysis and match report by Emmanuel Adeyemi-Abere.
Liverpool came into this game after two seminal results. With Roberto Firmino breaking Tottenham Hotspur hearts at Anfield in the dying embers of the match, the hosts showed they have no intention of handing over their crown. And going on to rout Crystal Palace 7-0 at the weekend, signs are now looking ominous for Liverpool’s rivals. This clash offered an ideal chance to prove this was the case.
Indeed, one could not blame fans of West Bromwich Albion for being pessimistic about this game. With a meager victory to their name so far this season, the guests sat six points adrift of Burnley before this match. Prospects are particularly grim on a trip to fortress Anfield, leaving manager Sam Allardyce with a tough job on his hands in his aim to maintain a flawless personal record of survival.
Jürgen Klopp opted to go for his team's usual 4-3-3 shape. Despite the emphatic scoreline, the manager made two changes to the eleven that faced Palace last weekend. Fortunately, he could call on the same back four amid their recent crisis at the center-back position. As such, Curtis Jones came in for Naby Keïta, while Takumi . . .