Sadio Mane gives Liverpool the lead with a high-class finish. Matip curled a flat pass into him on the edge of this area. He took it beautifully on his chest, away from Ajayi, and thrashed the ball past Johnstone on the half-volley. Lovely goal.
GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 West Brom (Mane 12)
And it’s goodnight from West Brom.
11 min Mane plays a nice reverse pass to the relentless Robertson, who surges into the area and hits a cross that is blocked. Andy Robertson is an incredible footballer; I was unpleasantly surprised by how low he was in the Guardian 100.
10 min Furlong’s long throw is headed well wide under pressure by Ajayi. West Brom should threaten from set pieces when they get the opportunity.
9 min West Brom win a goal kick. Sam Johnstone whips out a copy of War and Peace, thumbs through a few pages and then boots the ball downfield. I don’t blame him, I’d do the same.
8 min In a surprising development, Liverpool are completely dominant. West Brom would take a 2-0 defeat right now, and probably say thank you.
6 min Robertson flashes another dangerous ball across the face, this time just in front of the stretching Fabinho.
6 min West Brom are almost playing with four centre-backs: Gibbs and Furlong are very narrow. So far they have done well.
4 min West Brom’s formation is essentially 4-5-1, with Callum Robinson and Diangana on the wings.
3 min Robertson curls a dangerous ball across the six-yard box. Salah retrieves it and finds Henderson, whose chipped cross is headed away by Ajayi.
2 min I’m surprised Jurgen Klopp has gone with his strongest available team, given the imminent fixture congestion. But he’s the best manager in the world and I’m not, so we shouldn’t judge him too harshly.
1 min Peep peep! West Brom kick off from left to right and win a throw-in.
Liverpool is still in tier 2, so there are 2,000 fans at Anfield. They greet the arrival of the Liverpool team with a heartfelt chant of “Championes”.
Liverpool (4-3-3) Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson; Jones, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Substitutes: Kelleher, R Williams, Phillips, N Williams, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri, Minamino, Origi.
West Brom (4-5-1) Johnstone; Furlong, Ajayi, O’Shea, Gibbs; Robinson, Phillips, Sawyers, Gallagher, Diangana; Grant.
Substitutes: Button, Ivanovic, Peltier, Grosicki, Harper, Krovinovic, Edwards, Pereira, Austin.
Referee Kevin Friend.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion from Anfield. Liverpool have had a good Christmas period so far, and they haven’t played a game. Yesterday’s draw between Leicester and Manchester United was the perfect result for Liverpool, and means they will go five points clear at the top if they win today. Now, about that exciting title race we were promised…
A Liverpool win looks a formality against a West Brom side who are fighting for survival, though the presence of Sam Allardyce might induce one of two pangs among Liverpool supporters. He was the last manager to win a Premier League game at Anfield, with Crystal Palace in April 2017, and drew 1-1 with Everton on his last visit later that year. Everton had 21 per cent possession that day.
Can Liverpool’s bejowled bogeyman do it again? Probably not. But it’ll be hilarious if he does.
Kick off 4.30pm.