Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace were the last team to beat Liverpool on their own ground in the Premier League back in April 2017 – since then the Reds have been invincible at home.
But the man who knows a thing or two about getting a result at Anfield will be taking his West Bromwich Albion side to Merseyside on Sunday looking to cause another upset which might just kick-start the most unlikely of survival bids.
Big Sam is back in the Premier League following Slaven Bilic’s departure from The Hawthorns earlier this month with the Baggies sitting firmly in the relegation zone – and the former England boss will have his work cut-out of he is to continue his impressive record against the Reds.
Since that loss almost four years ago, Jurgen Klopp’s side have gone on to set a new record for home league games without a defeat, eclipsing the total of 63 matches unbeaten which was set back in 1981.
Of the 66 opponents who have played in front of the Kop in a league match since that defeat against Palace, only 11 have left with as much as a point to show for their efforts.
Liverpool’s unbeaten league run at home stands at 55 wins and 11 draws, with only 22 points dropped from a total of 195 available.
Along the way, Klopp’s team have hit five goals in a game on seven different occasions, with poor Watford the recipients of back-to-back 5-0 drubbings on their visits.
If that wasn’t enough, over the course of the past 66 home Premier League outings, Liverpool have scored a grand total of 175 goals – including the four they put past Wolves last time out.
But that won’t deter Allardyce who, despite having been in charge for just over a week, will no doubt look to be physical, direct and take on a more defence-minded approach against the Reds.
“Let’s try as best as we can,” Allardyce said ahead of the game. “I’m not saying we’re likely to win with the record they have got at home in the Premier League, but we have to try and get a result.
“If you open up yourself too much against Liverpool they will just play through you. They have players who can score all types of goals. We need to try and be as solid as possible.”
The game will be the seventh meeting between Jurgen Klopp and Allardyce and while they have exchanged words down the years, the Baggies boss was full of praise for the German following on from his FIFA men’s coach of the year award.
Klopp is eyeing a second consecutive league title to follow up last season’s triumph, and right now Liverpool are well on course to achieving that goal having gone seven games without defeat following their 7-2 hammering at Aston Villa.
What’s more, the German has been quick to outline the importance of his staff and the role they play on a daily basis – something that Allardyce has openly admired.
“I heard him say the other day, which was a real positive for his back-room team – he said am I the best coach in the world? No. Have I got the best coaches? Yes,” Allardyce pointed out.
“That’s a massive, massive boost for the people who work behind Jurgen Klopp. It shows just how much respect he has for them and how they’ve helped him to achieve as much as he has done with the players.
“That’s exactly the route I try to employ, somebody who is much better at that particular job than I am, and hope it works.
“Jurgen’s charisma, and his love for Liverpool and the club, has paid off 1000% and he deserves all the credit he gets at this moment in time.”
Liverpool could welcome back midfielders James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri into the squad for the visit of West Brom.
Milner has missed the last six matches with a hamstring injury while Shaqiri has been side-lined by a muscle problem since the November international break.
Fellow midfielder Thiago Alcantara is edging closer to a return after more than two months out with a knee injury but will not be fit for this game.
Meanwhile, West Brom skipper Jake Livermore begins a three-match suspension following the midfielder’s red card in the 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa, Albion’s first game under Allardyce.
Matheus Pereira is back available after completing a three-game ban of his own though Kyle Bartley, Conor Townsend, Sam Field and Hal Robson-Kanu remain side-lined.
Albion are 24 points adrift of Liverpool at the top of the table having picked up just one victory so far this season and will be hoping their new manager can summon a few ghosts of the past this Christmas period.
As well as that landmark win at the home of the Reds back in April 2017, Allardyce also masterminded two draws at Anfield during his time as manager of Everton and before that Sunderland and knows just what a boost any kind of result would be for his relegation threatened side on Sunday.
“If we go there and get a win, which can happen at any time and any place in this league, it would be a wonderful achievement by the players,” he said ahead of the match.
“If we stick together in possession and out of possession, then we may just be able to frustrate Liverpool.”
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