Writer: Gavin John Day
Date:Saturday February 9 2013
What scoreline has former Reds defender Mark Lawrenson plumped for in the latest edition of his prediction feature?...
Ex-Liverpool centre-back turned media pundit Mark Lawrenson has expressed his thoughts ahead of West Bromwich Albion's Premier League visit to his old side on Monday night.
Writing in his regular 'Lawro Predicts' column for the BBC, the 55-year-old revealed he expects the hosts to have too much for their out of form opponents.
Here's what he had to say in full...
"West Brom have won more Premier League games than Liverpool this season, although they have not had a win for a while.
"As well as having to deal with the Peter Odemwingie situation, the Baggies have picked up one or two injuries and they don't look quite as secure at the back as they did earlier in the season.
"You cannot really judge Steve Clarke's side on their last game, a defeat by Tottenham after Goran Popov stupidly got himself sent off but nothing is really going right for them at the moment.
"It is Clarke's first return to Anfield since he left his post of Reds first-team coach at the end of last season, a situation he handled with great dignity. But, while his team's form has slipped, Liverpool seem to have started to play better of late.
"They were impressive in their draw with Manchester City in their last outing and, if it is possible, my appreciation of Luis Suarez has increased even more since Daniel Sturridge arrived because he has been able to adapt his position.
"We know how good Suarez is in the box, wriggling past people and going down what you what think are dead-ends but don't turn out to be, but he is brilliant at finding space anywhere on the pitch.
"Sturridge missed England's game with Brazil through injury in midweek so he must be doubtful to play but he is clearly enjoying himself at Anfield.
"It must help having Suarez behind him but having Steven Gerrard fit and in form is great for him too. I think playing Lucas instead of Joe Allen is important for Liverpool - it means Gerrard plays further forward for starters and, while Allen sometimes passes for the sake of it, you feel Lucas tries to get the ball forward quicker."
Lawro's prediction: 2-0
In a week when one Liverpool stalwart, Jamie Carragher, announced he is about to quit playing, Lawrenson also commented on the continued reliance upon another of the club's established stars.
"Seeing Philippe Coutinho make his Liverpool debut, when it happens, will be interesting but the bigger picture for me in that midfield is how they will replace Gerrard when that moment comes," commented Lawro.
"Gerrard did not have a great start to the season, by his own admission, but he isn't half playing well at the moment. The transformation of the whole Liverpool team when he plays well is amazing.
"He is the best passer of the country because he whizzes the ball in so fast, and in exactly the place his team-mates want it, and he speeds up their attacks because if they take the right touch then they can keep the ball moving on.
"The worry is that, without him, they will be able to pass people to death but I don't necessarily think they are going to beat people."
About this former LFC player
Mark Lawrenson joined Liverpool from Brighton & Hove Albion for a then club record £900k in the summer of 1981. The Republic of Ireland international centre-back soon struck up a formidable partnership with Alan Hansen after injury to club stalwart Phil Thompson. After 332 appearances, Lawrenson left the club in 1989 and after a season playing in the American Soccer League went on to manage Oxford United and Peterborough United. During his time at Anfield 'Lawro' won 5 league titles, 3 League Cups, a European Cup and an FA Cup.
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Date:Saturday February 9 2013
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