The Chalkboard: Livermore the obstacle stopping West Brom reverting to a 4-4-2

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It has come increasingly obvious in recent times that West Bromwich Albion’s preferred 4-3-3 system isn’t quite as effective as it was earlier in the season, and it could be down to manager Darren Moore’s faith in one man.

On the chalkboard

Given the quality he has shown during his career and the fact that he is an England international – his last appearance for the Three Lions came against Brazil towards the end of 2017 – it is no surprise that Jake Livermore has been a regular starter for the Championship outfit this term, making 32 league appearances.

Moore will probably feel there is something of an obligation to start the 29-year-old regularly even when he isn’t performing that well given his stature, and the competition for places in that area will give him a selection dilemma on a weekly basis.

With the experienced trio of James Morrison, Gareth Barry and Chris Brunt, and highly-rated youngsters Rekeem Harper and Sam Field, all able to play there, it is no wonder that the 44-year-old boss has gone with a formation incorporating three central midfielders.

Time for change

Baggies fans have questioned the decision not to switch things up more often with Dwight Gayle usually asked to play out wide rather than through the middle, and in reality the only thing stopping Moore switching back to the system that served him so well at the end of the Premier League season in 2018 is his continued loyalty to Livermore.

Right now based on form, it should be Barry and Harper who are the first two names on the team-sheet as the former Tottenham Hotspur man continues to flatter to deceive with his displays.

With the option to play Gayle alongside Jay Rodriguez and with the added signings of wingers Jacob Murphy and Jefferson Montero in January, as well as the return of Matt Phillips from injury, Moore has few excuses not to switch to a 4-4-2 now.