Liverpool är spellediga på Boxing Day, men dagen efter kommer nykomlingarna West Bromwich Albion till Anfield. Med nyanställde Sam Allardyce på bänken ska våra motståndare försöka skapa kontakt i bottenstriden. Sarah Rudge(@sarah_WBAx) är skribent för @FBL72 och utöver det en stor WBA-supporter, hon berättar här om hur inledningen av säsongen varit och hur hon ser på att Slaven Bilic nyligen fick lämna tränarposten.

1. Tell us about the time in Championship and the way back to Premier League. 
Well we started off really well in our promotion season and spent much of the time top of the table but then suffered a downturn in form around Christmas which led to the teams also vying for promotion closing the gap at the top. We were second as Covid-19 struck but ultimately never really got going after lockdown. We were lucky to snatch second spot with Brentford going on a winning streak which almost saw us lose out on automatic promotion. It was a pulsating end to the campaign but eventually a successful one.

2. Slaven Bilic were replaced by Sam Allardyce recently, what are your thoughts on that? 
Personally I would have kept Slaven Bilic in charge a little longer. The players were playing for him in almost every game except a couple of tough defeats which in my opinion the blame should also lie with the players. I can see why the board decided to make the change and although I’m not a huge fan of Sam Allardyce nobody can dispute his management record. He’s never been relegated from the Premier League but whether you’re a West Brom fan or not, anyone can see he faces a huge challenge in keeping us in the division.

3. How good is this squad, if you compare it to the one who got relegated a couple of seasons ago? 
In my opinion we have a Championship squad competing in the Premier League. With a couple of exceptions in the form of Matheus Pereira, Grady Diangana (on his day), Sam Johnstone and Conor Gallagher who has impressed we have a squad at Championship level. In comparison to the squad from a couple of years ago the lack of leadership is clear to see. Having lost the likes of Chris Brunt, James Morrison, Gareth Barry and more recently Ahmed Hegazi there has been a huge amount of experience depart the club.

4. Which players are most important to your team? 
Definitely Matheus Pereira. He is a class above when playing at his highest level and enjoyed many standout performances in the Championship last season. His vision at times can be mesmerising and the quality of his set-pieces most of the time is outstanding. Sam Johnstone has also played a major part in our team this season and despite having his doubters he has made a number of crucial saves for us and has probably been our player of the season so far.

5. How do you rate your chances of staying in the Premier League? 
Not great in all honesty. It probably depends on who Big Sam can bring in this January. We are in real need of some more experience and an out and out goalscorer but trying to lure those kinds of players to a club fighting relegation can be a difficult task. Big Sam has proven before with the likes of Sunderland, Blackburn Rovers and Crystal Palace that he is the ideal man for a relegation dogfight but this is without question the biggest challenge he has faced so far.

6. The transfer Window is about the open, do you expect any players coming? Where do you want the team to strenghten? 
We have been linked with James Tomkins and Andy Carroll both whom would bring extra quality and experience to the team but their fitness issues would concern me. We ideally need players who will be able to hit the ground running and improve what we already have and that is a difficult thing for any club to do in January. Karlan Grant is just bedding into the team so it would be unfair to criticise him too much but one goal so far simply isn’t enough but our creative players should also take some of the blame for that.

7. What kind of game do you expect at Anfield?
A tough one! Very tough. Liverpool had a mixed start to the season losing heavily to Aston Villa but in recent weeks they have looked back to their very best beating Tottenham Hotspur and thrashing Crystal Palace. On their day their front three can be devastating and there is no doubt our defence will have to be on the top of their game if we are to take anything from the match. But the last manager to win in the league at Anfield? Sam Allardyce. Stranger things have happened!