Liverpool are looking to continue their upturn in form and pile the pressure on a free-falling West Brom side, whose manager Steve Clarke is making a first return to Anfield since leaving as assistant manager upon Kenny Daglish’s sacking from the Reds hotseat last May.
The Merseysiders have lost once in the league so far in 2013, away at rivals Manchester United, and impressed hugely in their recent 2-2 draws at Arsenal and Manchester City. Brendan Rodgers men may remain 12 points off the fourth Champions League place by the time of kick-off on Monday night but at least there appears to be evidence, particularly in the fruitful striking partnership of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, that his “philosophy” is just beginning to take shape at Anfield.
Meanwhile, after gaining admirers across the country following their excellent early-season form, the Baggies appear to have just hit a brick wall with only two wins from last 12 league games and none so far in 2013. While slipping into the relegation battle is far from a realistic prospect, West Brom’s once promising season looks in danger of petering out into mediocrity.
Liverpool will hand a fitness test to Daniel Sturridge with the striker continuing to be troubled by the thigh injury that ruled him out of England’s friendly victory over Brazil in midweek. Raheem Sterling is also fit while new signing Philippe Coutinho could make his debut for the club.
West Brom will be without Goran Popov after the left-back was handed a three-match suspension for spitting at Tottenham’s Kyle Walker. Elsewhere, Youssouf Mulumbu could return after being at the Africa Cup of Nations with DR Congo while Peter Odemwingie is available for selection again after all the furore surrounding his failed deadline-day transfer to QPR.