We’re desperate to succeed - Livermore

Jake Livermore admits it’s a joy to captain Albion and says he’s ‘blessed’ to have team-mates who are ‘desperate’ to succeed.

The 30-year-old midfielder has skippered all but one game for the Baggies so far this season with Slaven Bilić’s men on 45 points from their opening 20 fixtures.

And Jake considers himself ‘fortunate’ to share a dressing room with players who have excellent qualities both on and off the pitch.

“I am enjoying it [being captain],” he said.

“We’ve got a great blend of, dare I say it, young and old in the group. We’ve got some great boys on loan who’ve come in and slotted in great. It’s a great dressing room to be involved in and to manage.

“Whether the boys are playing, whether they’re not, whether they’re not in the squad at all, they’ve been fantastic. We’re all supportive and we’ve all got the same objective.

“We are very blessed. We’re fortunate we’ve got some very good footballers, but more important than that we’ve got a great group of boys here. We’re all respectful to one another and we’re all desperate to do well for each other.”

Livermore insists Bilić and his staff have played a major part in Albion’s cohesion.

“I’ve really enjoyed this season,” he added. “The manager, his staff and the new boys who have come in, everyone’s been fantastic.

“The Club itself, as everyone knows, has been like home to me since the day I walked in. I’ve really enjoyed it and hopefully we can continue that into the new year.

“I think the management has been a big part of that positivity. I think he’s still in touch with how players feel, and what they need and what they want. That’s great for the dressing room.

“Him and his staff know when we need a day off, or when we need a low day. So I think that’s a big part of it, and the dressing room itself is fantastic.”

On their relationship as boss and skipper, he added: “He’s very good at that, I think. I think he’s quite in touch with how the boys feel and what they need. Obviously he pulls me in for a telling off every now and then but more so just to make sure the boys are happy with what’s going on. That’s a big feature in how we’ve been doing so well.”

Jake also spoke about playing alongside Romaine Sawyers in the middle of the park, saying: “He’s a great, great footballer. I think we compliment each other well.

“I’ve got a different role now with getting around a bit more than what I have in previous years here.

“We bounce off each other and work hard for each other in there, and collectively as a team in that midfield block we’re all doing our best to help each other out.”

Albion go into the midweek round of fixtures back on top of the Sky Bet Championship and Livermore says to a man all of the players know what they are fighting for.

He added: “We all know what it means to one another in the group. Throughout the whole squad we will literally do whatever we have to do not to let our mate down next to us.

“We have a huddle before every game in the changing room. We look in each other’s eyes and realise what it would mean to one another to get up this season.

“It’s been a difficult couple of years here, but we’ve got a fresh start, fresh blood coming through and like I touched on earlier - whether it’s squad players or anyone who’s not in the squad at all, when they’re out training everyone gives 100 per cent.

“I think that’s really important and it’s really pushed everyone on.”

Jake is adamant Wednesday’s trip to Wigan could be the most difficult challenge the Baggies have faced this year.

“This could be our toughest game of the season,” he said.

“I say that because on paper - we had Barnsley at home, two home games in a week, it looked inviting but turned out to be a banana skin.

“We didn't need picking up off the floor but it’s an opportunity that we thought we’d missed, and that’s still fresh in our minds. We can’t have that again.

“It’s a cup final. We’ve got 20-odd cup finals left now. That’s how we need to approach every single game and, do you know what, every single training session as well.

“There’s an abundance of quality in that dressing room, who all deserve to be playing football and we all know that - and that pushes each other on.”

And finally, on the Albion fans, he added: “I’d love to throw them all a jacket and buy them a cup of coffee, but I’m afraid all we can try and do realistically is try and get three points to give them something to shout about on the way home.”

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