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Allardyce relishes English Premiership’s tactical battles

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Sam Allardyce said he loves figuring out how to stop the league’s biggest teams after guiding his West Brom side to a 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield, reports dailymail.co.uk.

Sadio Mane put the Reds in front after 12 minutes in half when Jurgen Klopp’s utterly dominated possession and territory.

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However, the Baggies grew more into the game after the break and snatched an unlikely point when Semi Ajayi headed home Matheus Pereira’s corner on 82 minutes.

Klopp admitted he had been caught out by the striker-less 6-4-0 formation employed by Allardyce and the former Everton boss told talkSPORT Breakfast that the system has been honed over a significant period of time. “I’ve been able to master that over many years and that’s why I’ve been doing it so long,” revealed Allardyce.

“You can challenge the best in your league and you can challenge your tactics against theirs as, more often than not, recently, my players are seen as not as good as the opposition.

“We have to set out a tactical situation to nullify their strengths really and see what we can do by capitalising on what possession we get.”

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The draw meant Allardyce has now collected five points during his three previous league trips to Anfield since April 2017, which incredibly is more than the number of points picked up at Liverpool’s fortress by the ‘big six’ clubs combined in that time.

How did Allardyce feel after Ajayi had brought them level?

“Tense and nervous, because I looked up at the clock to see how long was left and I was glad to see it was only about nine minutes plus injury time,” he admitted.

“We had to defend the onslaught that Liverpool was putting on with everybody forward, and there were some magnificent saves from Sam Johnstone at the end as well.

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“All round, everybody did their job. In terms of the goal, I didn’t see it until after, but thank God for the spin on the ball (for Ajayi’s goal).”

Despite Sunday’s point, West Brom still remains 19th and Allardyce is pretty clear what needs to change.

“Looking at the situation we are in, it’s not difficult to see we need to change the goals against tally.

“We’re the highest in the league in terms of goals conceded (along with Leeds) and when you look at our goals scored, I think that’s 11 in total. Obviously that’s not enough.

“We have to increase our goal tally, but getting clean sheets is the first priority as it means that just one goal would win us a game instead of our drawing.

“We’ve only had one win this season and that’s why we’re in the position we’re in, and somewhere along the line, we need to try and start winning games.

“That will come by defensive structure, getting more clean sheets and hopefully more goals in the end.”

West Brom host Leeds today before Liverpool faces Newcastle at St. James’ Park tomorrow.

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