The Liverpool fans in the Transfer Tavern are looking forward to their clash with West Bromwich Albion tomorrow.
Liverpool have not mathematically confirmed their place in the top-four this season just yet, but it would take an almighty collapse in the final weeks of the season for them to drop behind Chelsea who are currently 7 points adrift with just 4 fixtures left to play. A victory against West Brom tomorrow would all but ensure the Reds of their place in the competition once again next season and, considering how poor their opponents have been this season, they are strong favourites to claim all three points.
However, the Baggies finally had something to shout about last weekend in an otherwise demoralising season as they clinched a 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford to hand Manchester City the title. United were poor on that day, but West Brom further legitimised the notion that anything can happen in football, so Liverpool cannot afford to be complacent tomorrow.
Although the club cannot be complacent, they also must be pragmatic in their approach with a Champions League semi-final clash against Roma to look forward to on Tuesday evening. With a healthy lead over Chelsea in the Premier League, Klopp can afford to rest a handful of his key players tomorrow afternoon, and one man who should definitely be taking a seat on Liverpool’s bench is Roberto Firmino.
Firmino (valued at £45 million by Transfermarkt) has been in sensational form for the Reds this season and he was unlucky not to be named in the PFA Team of the Year. His presence at the spearhead of Liverpool’s attack encourages devastating interplay to flow in the final-third, but the club should make do without him today and instead start Dominic Solanke at centre-forward.
Solanke has barely had a sniff of the first-team since he moved to Anfield from Chelsea last summer, mostly due to Firmino’s form. When he has had an opportunity to shine in the first-team Solanke has struggled due to a lack of experience and confidence as a consequence of failing to get off the mark for the club in the Premier League thus far, but against West Brom he should have a great opportunity to break his duck.
Liverpool have a fantastic opportunity to move into the final of the Champions League this season with a victory over Roma, so Klopp must prioritise the first-leg fixture on Tuesday by resting Firmino and starting Solanke in his place against the Baggies.
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