ANALYST Adam Goodwin (@AGJournalism) shares his verdict on Saturday afternoon's Premier League action between West Brom and Liverpool.
West Brom v Liverpool | Saturday 21st April 2018, 12:30 | Sky Sports
After their 3-0 demolition of Bournemouth last weekend, Liverpool are now sitting comfortably in third and it would take an almighty collapse for them to drop out.
West Brom, on the other hand, are nine points adrift of 17th and require a miracle to avoid the drop.
Despite being rock-bottom of the league, the Baggies have been invigorated under caretaker boss Darren Moore, and recorded an incredible 1-0 victory at Old Trafford last weekend. Their performance against Manchester United wasn’t pretty, but their tenacious defending and use of the tireless Jay Rodriguez was effective, and clearly paid off.
They’ll need to put in a similarly solid defensive display against Jurgen Klopp’s side this weekend.
When Moore became West Brom’s third manager of the season a few weeks ago, nobody expected the former under-21 manager to make as much as an impact as he has. Two games, one draw and one win at Old Trafford isn’t a bad start to a managerial reign and many are now tipping Moore to get the job full-time.
“Dogged” is definitely the word to describe the first two games under Moore, and the direct football and ruthless defending is the main reason they’re on this mini unbeaten run. Fifteen fouls against Swansea and 13 against United highlights their tenacity and, against a fast flowing Liverpool side, their high foul count could continue.
Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final against Roma on Tuesday is undoubtedly their priority and rotation is almost guaranteed. Danny Ings, Dominic Solanke and Alberto Moreno are all likely to start, but with a lack of squad depth, it’ll still be a pretty strong Liverpool side.
Klopp would’ve liked to rotate the likes of Virgil Van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum but with no suitable replacements, he’ll have to pray they avoid any injuries ahead of the huge European game next week.
The last time they rested their front three was in the Mersyside derby against Everton and that game finished 0-0, so I wouldn’t be expecting too many goals when the likes of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane aren’t playing.
The betting angle
When looking at the way West Brom have gone about things under Moore, you’d have to expect a tight game with few goals. Under 2.5 Goals has landed in both of Moore’s game as West Brom boss and has also landed in West Brom’s last four home matches against Liverpool in all competitions.
With Liverpool’s front three being rested too, 11/10 seems a good price with Betstars for a repeat.
I’m keen to take advantage of West Brom’s physicality and have a punt on some of the more obscure markets. I like the look of West Brom to receive 20+ booking points which is evens with SkyBet. I’ve already highlighted their high foul count, and with Liverpool’s quick, attacking football, bookings are inevitable.
Referee Stuart Atwell is also generally card happy, issuing an average of 3.40 cards per-game.
Finally, it’s a longshot but I fancy Jay Rodriguez to score and be carded which is 25/1 with SkyBet. He’s scored in both of Moore’s games as manager and has also recorded the third highest fouls for his side this campaign so, for me, 25/1 seems a cracking price.