ALAN Pardew will encourage his players to play with “freedom” against Liverpool in the Emirates FA Cup at Anfield on Saturday night.
The Baggies travel to Merseyside in high spirits having delivered some impressive performances and results of late, with Pardew’s men unbeaten in three games.
A break from the relentless pressures of Premier League football offers Albion an opportunity to express themselves in the world’s most famous cup competition.
And our Head Coach is hoping his side can cause the seven-time FA Cup winners problems in the fourth-round tie.
He said: “We take less pressure into this game. It’s a cup game with no league points on offer. The pressure is off us so maybe we can open up our game a little bit which is what I’ve been trying to encourage since I have been here.
“We will go to Liverpool and try and cause them problems. It’s a daunting task going to Liverpool because their last home game was one of the performances of the season. It’s a daunting task don’t get me wrong, but it’s not impossible. Any cup tie is winnable and I’ve always believed that.
“We are prepared for the challenge and hopefully we can play with a little bit more freedom with the ball.”
A bout of flu has struck the squad this week with a number of first-team players affected.
“We have got a little bit of the flu bug at the moment and some of the players couldn’t train today including James McClean, Jay Rodriguez, Ben Foster, Sam Field, Ahmed Hegazi and Gareth McAuley.
“We will have to see how they are overnight before assessing the team. Certainly there are enough players available to not have to make too many changes.”