After a 3-0 home defeat to Aston Villa in his first match, Sam Allardyce will face what is perhaps the toughest fixture in the Premier League at the moment when he leads his new team at Anfield on Sunday.
Liverpool have not been beaten at home in a Premier League fixture for three-and-a-half years, although it was Allardyce that was in charge of Crystal Palace that day, and they haven’t lost at home to a newly promoted side since October 2010.
Big Sam will still have had limited time on the training field with his new charges, but he will have learned something from the defeat to Villa and it will be interesting to see what changes he makes having not made any for that match.
Jake Livermore will serve the first of his three-match ban while Matheus Pereira will be available once again having completed his suspension for the red card against Palace, but I’m expecting a few other changes.
Big Sam has not been afraid in speaking his mind since that Villa game, and Jake Livermore was not the only one to feel his wrath as Darnell Furlong was also called out for ball-watching in the lead up to the visitors’ opener. He may not be popular with the squad as a whole, however, with his statement that Albion would stay up if they had Jack Grealish – as much as that may be true, it is hardly something that will inspire confidence.
This match is very much a free hit, but we will all be expecting to see more fight from the team than we saw against Villa, preferably without the type of assault that Livermore inflicted on Grealish.
The performance at the Etihad shows what the team is capable of, but whether those standards can be found once again with all that has happened since then remains to be seen.
Albion were quoted at 33-1 for a win at Man City last week and came away with a point. They are a mere 25-1 for Sunday’s match – just think what can be achieved! It may not be enough for me to believe in Allardyce, but if the Baggies come away with three points, I might start believing in Santa Claus again!