Preview: It has been all change during the summer at both West Brom and Liverpool meaning that there is a great deal of both anticipation and uncertainty ahead of their meeting to kick-off their Premier League season on Saturday.
After a disappointing eighth-place finish last season, Kenny Dalglish has been shown the exit door with hope for a new dawn invested in former Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers. It took some time but the Northern-Irishman has started to mold a squad at Anfield capable of implementing his short-passing, high-pressing philosophy.
New signings Joe Allen and Fabio Borini should integrate quickly haven previously worked under Rodgers. Allen, in particular, could be a vital cog for Rodgers in the center of midfield. Morocco international Oussama Assaidi, signed from Heerenveen on Friday, should provide some much needed pace and invention either out wide or behind the forward line. The 24-year-old is unlikely to feature on Saturday, though, especially as he is currently fasting for Ramadan.
While not a new signing, having Lucas Leiva back in midfield for the start of the season will certainly feel like one for Liverpool fans. The Brazilian midfielder was sorely missed after going down with a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury last November.
West Brom have also had a change of manager over the summer, with their new man in the dugout very familiar to Liverpool fans. After Roy Hodgson snapped up the opportunity to manage England, the Midlands side turned to former Liverpool and Chelsea assistant coach Steve Clarke.
In his first job as the main man, Clarke's appointment is a significant gamble for West Brom. Although well-respected as an assistant, he would be far from the first to struggle to make the transition to the managerial hot seat. A good start is vital, or the pressure could mount quickly on the quietly-spoken Clarke.
Very little money has been spent this summer, but there is reason to be optimistic about their transfer business. Goalkeeper Ben Foster, impressive on loan last season, has been signed on a permanent basis from Birmingham, while Argentinian midfielder Caludio Yacob should add some tenacity in the middle of midfield.
Albion also have plenty have options upfront with the experienced Swedish international Markus Rosenberg arriving on a free transfer and the raw but exciting Romelu Lukaku joining on a season-long loan from Chelsea. The duo will provide plenty of competition for Shane Long, Peter Odemwingie and Marc-Antoine Fortune.
West Brom could be short at left-back for the time being, though, with Nicky Shorey sold during the summer and Liam Ridgewell doubtful for the contest with Liverpool.
West Brom (probable)
D: Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell
M: Morrison, Mulumbu, Yacob, Gera
F: Odemwingie, Long
G: Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique
M: Gerrard, Lucas, Allen
F: Downing, Suarez, Borini
Prediction: There is much intrigue to see how both Liverpool and West Brom respond to their new coaches in this opening match at the Hawthorns. Both sides should be strong in the middle of the pitch, meaning that the contest looks set to be a tightly-fought affair.
Liverpool's big problem last season was failing to convert chances and that will have to change if the Reds are going to progress. While Borini has been brought in, he is not a prolific scorer and much will again depend on Luis Suarez.
Both sides may ultimately settle for a point.
West Brom 1-1 Liverpool