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Clarke not surprised by Liverpool form

West Brom manager Steve Clarke believes Liverpool are ‘playing the best football in the Premier League’ ahead of their clash on Monday.

The former Liverpool coach takes West Brom to Anfield – a ground where they triumphed 1-0 last season – in the hope of leapfrogging the Reds into eighth place.

And Clarke, who worked under Kenny Dalglish when Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and Jose Enrique were recruited, believes every Liverpool player is starting to show their true talent.

“I’m not surprised now that some of the younger players are starting to flourish (at Liverpool), or some of the more experienced ones that Kenny signed. It can take a period of time for people to settle into a club the size of Liverpool,” he said.

“For Stewart Downing to be in the team and Jordan Henderson, as well as Jose Enrique, and doing really well, is good. Luis Suarez has really settled into the club now and, if you look at it at this stage, Liverpool are probably playing the best football in the Premier League.”

And Clarke also praised the influence of Dalglish’s successor at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers, for his tactical nous and positive impact on the current squad.

“I don’t think there’s anybody in football now who thinks you just turn up at a club and create a good team just because they’re a great, historical club,” added Clarke.

“You have to work at it. Every club in the league has to work hard to try to put a good team on the pitch and you have to work as hard as you can with your players.

“Brendan went in there with a different philosophy to Kenny but Liverpool have always tried to play good football. Brendan has slightly different ideas that maybe took a little bit of time to get across.

“But you can see now that the team is starting to gel and maybe starting to play the way Brendan wants them to play.

“They had a difficult start but they have picked up and are doing really well and it’s going to be a tough night for us. But hopefully West Brom can get the same result as they did last year at Anfield.”

Mon 11 February, 2013
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