Tre poäng är det enda som gäller när Liverpool under söndagen tar sig an West Bromwich Albion på bortaplan. Sarah Rudge(@sarah_WBAx) berättar här om hur våra motståndares säsong varit och om hur hon ser på chanserna till en snabb återkomst i Premier League.
1. What has it been like to be back in the Premier League and how hard has it been to not being able to watch the games live?
It has been good to be back in the Premier League despite the difficulties we’ve experienced throughout the season. We have managed to enjoy some great results like our win against local rivals Wolves and our 5-2 victory against Chelsea but ultimately we have come up short largely due to our defensive frailties. It’s been really difficult not being able to be in the stadiums and supporting the team and trying to be that 12th man which can be vital for the teams around the relegation places.
2. What are the main reasons for your relegation?
I would say that defensively we were not good enough particularly during the first half of the campaign. We have improved hugely since February when we bought in the likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Okay Yokuslu to shore up our midfield and we are certainly better from a defensive point of view. However, during the second half of the season we also haven’t scored enough goals in certain games where we created a lot of chances but failed to convert them. I personally think if we had the team we have now for the entirety of the campaign we would have stayed in the division.
3. How do you rate your chances of getting back to the Premier League? Do you think Allardyce will stay as manager?
I think we have a good chance of getting promotion again next season as long as we don’t lose too many of our current squad. Understandably some of our star performers will attract attention from elsewhere but if we are forced to sell a few of our players its vitally important we use those funds to replace them and build a squad capable of getting back into the Premier League. I’m not too sure if Sam Allardyce will stay with us, it probably depends on the funds which will be available to him and if he feels as though he wants to try and win promotion with us. I’m a little torn on whether I would like him to stay but its important we get behind him or any manager we have next season.
4. Which players in your team do expect other PL-teams will try to sign?
Sam Johnstone and Matheus Pereira are certainties to have interest from Premier League sides with both players already having been linked away. Johnstone has enjoyed a really good season and also won a call up to the England squad and with just one year left on his contract he looks almost certain to leave. Pereira has been one of our shining lights despite some disappointing results and performances and has been linked with a host of top half Premier League teams. With him having only signed last summer and in today’s market we should be looking to get around £30million for him in my opinion. Our loan players will return to their parent clubs but apart from that we shouldn’t be looking to lose too many.
5. Who has been your player of the year?
I would go with Matheus Pereira with Sam Johnstone as a close second. Pereira is by far our top goalscorer and simply looks a class above any player in our squad. He was outstanding in the Championship last season and has proven he is more than capable at top flight level and it will be almost impossible to keep him at the club. Johnstone has also pulled off some outstanding saves and helped us gain a lot more points had we not had him in goal.
6. What kind of game do you expect against Liverpool?
I expect a tight game against Liverpool with the Reds having endured a difficult season themselves on the back of winning the Premier League last year. We also have a fairly good record against Liverpool at the Hawthorns and have only lost one out of the last five games and drawing the rest of them. Of course Liverpool have players who can win games on their own with the likes of Salah and Mane but with the pressure now off us we have more freedom to express ourselves and a draw isn’t out of the question in my opinion.