Liverpool had to prepare for this game as if it the chance of the title would still be on, but with Manchester United getting the draw they wanted yesterday it is now of far more importance to the Baggies than to the Reds.
Liverpool still want three points, because they don’t want to add to their disappointment by dropping into third – victory today would all but ensure second spot. But West Brom still have an outside chance of top-flight survival, victory today would put them one point from safety – but they would still need to see Hull and Newcastle lose next weekend as well as winning themselves.
Rafa Benitez has put Xabi Alonso back in the squad, but after his recent Joey Barton inflicted injury he’s being kept on the bench today. Xabi apart, Rafa has picked what is pretty-much his ‘first-choice’ eleven.
Pepe Reina is in goal as always, Jamie Carragher in front of him as always. Whereas Martin Skrtel has often got the nod ahead of Daniel Agger alongside Carra this season, today Agger gets the nod – despite missing last week’s match after becoming a father. No hint of a grudge from Rafa there. Arbeloa and Insua get the full-back roles, although an earlier team-sheet had Aurelio in the side in place of Insua.
Lucas gets to play in place of Xabi, alongside Javier Mascherano. The Football Writers’ player of the season Steven Gerrard is captain as always and will be looking to boost his goal tally for the season, as will Yossi Benayoun, Dirk Kuyt and Fernando Torres.
Former Liverpool goalkeeper Scott Carson is on the bench for West Brom.
West Brom: 1 Kiely, 22 Zuiverloon, 24 Martis, 26 Olsson, 30 Donk, 11 Brunt, 31 Mulumbu, 8 Greening, 7 Koren, 21 Menseguez, 32 Fortune
Subs: 19 Carson, 16 Moore, 20 Filipe Teixeira, 23 Meite, 28 Borja Valero, 29 Simpson, 39 Wood
Liverpool: 25 Reina, 17 Arbeloa, 5 Agger, 23 Carragher, 22 Insua, 21 Lucas, 20 Mascherano, 18 Kuyt, 8 Gerrard, 15 Benayoun, 9 Torres
Subs: 1 Cavalieri, 2 Dossena, 11 Riera, 14 Alonso, 24 Ngog, 37 Skrtel, 19 Babel
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Kick-off: 1:30pm BST