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Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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Discussion Starter #1
Anfield
Saturday 31 December
Kick-off: 1500 GMT
BBC Radio Five Live

Team news to follow later.

BIG-MATCH FACTS

# LIVERPOOL are aiming to end the year with 10 out of 10. They welcome West Brom to Anfield, hoping to make the Baggies their 10th successive victims in the Premiership and seventh on their own patch. Rafa's Reds have dropped only three points from a last possible 33 since mid October and conceded just one goal in 13 and a half hours of League soccer - James Beattie's consolation for Everton in the 3-1 Merseyside derby victory at Goodison on Wednesday night. They're on their longest winning League run since a club record 12 successive matches spanning two seasons between 21 April and 6 October 1990.

# The European champions have avoided defeat in 28 of 33 League and Cup games this season, and are two places and 15 points behind leaders Chelsea with two games in hand, having conceded just nine League goals - equal with the Premiership champions. They've kept more clean sheets in the top tier than any other club (13) and conceded the opening goal in their only League defeats (home to Chelsea, and away to Fulham). Liverpool have leaked a mere four goals in nine home League clashes and have not conceded in 548 minutes (nine hours eight minutes) of top flight soccer at Anfield. Their 17 Premier League games have yielded 34 goals (25 for, nine against) - that's exactly two per game. Liverpool's last of the holiday fixtures is at Bolton on Monday.

# Premiership fixtures between Liverpool and West Brom could hardly be more one sided. The European champions have won four out of four, scoring 16 with none conceded. Half of those goals came last season with Steven Gerrard, Steve Finnan and Luis Garcia scoring at Anfield, and a Jon Arne Risse brace, and goals from Florent Sinama Pongolle, Gerrard and Luis Garcia on Boxing Day last year at the Hawthorns.

# WEST BROMWICH ALBION picked up their first points and scored their first goals in three games in Wednesday's 2-0 home win over a strangely out-of-sorts Tottenham - Nwankwo Kanu scoring both. Albion lie two places and five points above the relegation zone, but without an away League victory all season - nor in 13 League games on the road since a 1-4 triumph at Charlton on 19 March. Like Fulham, they've only picked up three points from drawn games on their top flight travels (0-0 at Manchester City, 1-1 at Sunderland and 2-2 at Middlesbrough).

# The Baggies, who host Aston Villa on Monday, have won 10 Premiership games in Bryan Robson's 45 in charge, and have only taken maximum points from four of their 47 away Premiership matches all-time (v West Ham, Manchester City and Sunderland in 2002/03 and Charlton, last season).

# Albion have not beaten the Reds in 15 attempts in any competition, since a 2-0 top flight victory at the Hawthorns on 7 February 1981. Since then they've lost 13 and drawn two in League and Cup. The Baggies have also drawn four and lost 14 League visits to Anfield and have not taken away maximum points since a single goal victory in the top level on 22 April 1967 - 38 years ago.

REFEREE:
Alan Wiley (Burntwood, Staffordshire)

SEQUENCES/RECENT FORM

LIVERPOOL
Club stats
Fixtures
3rd 37 points
Highest achievable after Saturday's matches: 3rd
Lowest could fall: 4th

WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Club stats
Fixtures
16th 19 points
Highest achievable after Saturday's matches: 15th
Lowest could fall: 17th

KEY PLAYER NOTES/POTENTIAL MILESTONES

LIVERPOOL
Squad profiles

# Steven GERRARD and Sanz LUIS GARCIA have both scored two goals in two Premiership appearances against West Brom. John Arne RIISE has done likewise, but has also netted three in four top flight appearances against the Baggies.
# Goalkeeper Jose REINA and Jamie CARRAGHER are the only players to have figured in every minute of every one of Liverpool's Premiership matches this season.

WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Squad profiles

# Goalkeeper Chris KIRKLAND is on loan from Liverpool and therefore ineligible to play.
# Robert EARNSHAW is a hat trick shy of 100 English League goals.
# EARNSHAW is one short of 100 goals in the English and Scottish Leagues (Cardiff, Morton and West Brom).
# Nathan ELLINGTON, needs three more to total 100 in his League career.
# If he gets a run out, Andy JOHNSON will be making his 100th appearance in top flight soccer.
# If he plays, Darren MOORE will be making his 50th career Premiership appearance (Bradford C and West Brom).
# If involved, Zoltan GERA will be making his 50th appearance for West Brom.

LAST SEASON'S CORRESPONDING GAME:
Liverpool 3-0 West Bromwich Albion
11 September 2004 - Ref: Steve Dunn
Liverpool scorers: Gerrard 16, Finnan 42, Luis Garcia 60

HEAD TO HEAD TOTALS
League: Liverpool 51 wins, WBA 28, Draws 33
Prem: Liverpool 4 wins, WBA 0, Draws 0

HEAD TO HEAD at Liverpool
League: Liverpool 30 wins, WBA 9, Draws 17
Prem: Liverpool 2 wins, WBA 0, Draws 0
 

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Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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12,813 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Well I cant see us getting anything at all from this game.

We are utter rubbish away from home, only 3 points all season, and the lowest amount of goals scored. Cant see that changing ata ll.

Got to say 2-0 Liverpool.
 

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Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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Discussion Starter #3
Liverpool 1-0 West Brom

Liverpool's Peter Crouch and John Arne Riise
More Premiership photos
Liverpool notched up a 10th successive league win to end 2005 on a high note.

West Brom came with a strategy to stifle Liverpool - a plan that worked for 52 minutes thanks to a succession of saves from keeper Tomasz Kuszczak.

Three of those saves were to deny Harry Kewell, but the Australian got his revenge when he sent in a cross that Peter Crouch headed past Kuszczak.

Crouch almost claimed a second with another header but this time Kuszczak cleared the ball with his feet.

Having fallen behind, West Brom attempted to come out of their defensive shell but they never really tested Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina.

As so often this season the foundations of this Liverpool win were built on captain Steven Gerrard's drive and Xabi Alonso's immaculate passing.


The boys have had a long winning run and I'm sure we will keep it up
From JS
Have your say on 606

But on the left wing Kewell impressed as well and, had it not been for Kuszczak, the Australian might have had a hat-trick.

Two of those saves came in the opening quarter of an hour as the Polish keeper first beat away Kewell's effort from outside the box after Paul Robinson had casually given the ball away.

Kewell's next effort was even more ferocious, but the Australian's close-range shot was superbly tipped away by Kuszczak.

At times Kuszczak's goal seemed to be leading a charmed life, notably when John Arne Riise's shot emerged through a posse of players to come back off the post.

The ball fell to Kewell, but Kuszczak was quickly back on his feet to palm away the winger's shot.

Veteran defender Steve Watson played his part in frustrating Liverpool, coming to his goalkeeper's rescue three times with well-timed blocks.

It was not long before Kuszczak was back in action, the Pole beating away a Gerrard shot after the England midfielder swapped passes with Cisse.

Having held out for the first 45 minutes, West Brom fell behind seven minutes after the restart.

Kewell flighted in an inviting cross from the left for Crouch, who cleverly guided a header into the right-hand corner of Kuszczak's goal.

Kuszczak continued to defy Rafael Benitez's side as Liverpool searched for a second goal and just past the hour he got down to quickly to tip away a vicious Riise free-kick.

The Pole's best save of the game came with his feet rather than his hands when he brilliantly cleared a Crouch header, flicking out a leg just as the ball looked to have gone past him.

In stoppage time Gerrard went on one of his surging runs only to flash his shot narrowly wide.

The win kept Liverpool in touch with Manchester United, but the defeat for West Brom saw them to slip to fourth from bottom in the table.

# Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez:
"The West Brom goalkeeper was the game's man of the match.

"He did a very good job. We tried everything - shooting, crossing and heading, but it was almost impossible.

"We controlled the game, but they made it very difficult for us as they played deep and with many players in front of the ball."

# West Brom manager Bryan Robson:
"I'm pleased with the way we stuck at - I thought at one stage it was going to be our day.

"Tomasz Kuszczak has put on a great performance. Chris Kirkland has come back from injury but Tomasz has done nothing wrong.

"I wanted to make Liverpool a little bit edgy, but they deserved the win."

Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Riise, Luis Garcia, Gerrard, Alonso, Kewell (Sinama Pongolle 67), Cisse (Traore 89), Crouch (Sissoko 81).
Subs Not Used: Carson, Hamann

Goals: Crouch 52.

West Brom: Kuszczak, Watson, Curtis Davies, Clement, Robinson, Chaplow (Greening 65), Wallwork (Kamara 76), Albrechtsen, Carter, Campbell (Ellington 80), Horsfield.
Subs Not Used: Hoult, Moore.

Att: 44,192

Ref: A Wiley (Staffordshire).
 

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Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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12,813 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
We were never really in it, we went there to defend and we did.

Kuszczak was so man of the match, pulling off string after string of world class saves.
If he hadn't we'd have lost by a lot more.

After holding 'pool to a single goal for the last 10 minutes we tried to sneak an equalizer, we came close once or twice but it wouldn't have been deserved.

With our last choice strike partnership getting starts, I never thought we'd ever score with them on the pitch. Once Liverpool scorde I felt the game was as good as over.
 
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