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Sep 25, 2012

Long expects Liverpool backlash

Shane Long has warned his West Bromwich Albion team-mates to beware a Liverpool backlash when the clubs meet on Wednesday for the second time this season.

• Lukaku tired of Drogba talk

Republic of Ireland striker Long won two penalties - and missed one of them - when the Baggies won 3-0 at The Hawthorns on the opening day of 2012-13.

The sides' fortunes have continued to move in sharply contrasting directions since, with Albion collecting ten points from five Premier League games and Liverpool in the bottom three following their worst start for over a century.

But Long, who is hoping for a recall to the starting line-up for the Capital One Cup tie after being given a breather on Saturday, believes his team's task will be tough.

"We are playing very well at the moment - these are good times," he said. "We have a few tough games coming up with a derby next week [at Aston Villa] and Liverpool sandwiched in between.

"Cup games are brilliant on a Wednesday night and give the so-called fringe players a run. I don't know what the manager wants to do but you always want the big teams and we've got Liverpool at home, so hopefully we can keep the winning feeling going.

"But they have got strength in depth. The other night, when they played Young Boys in the Europa League, they could have fallen away at 3-2 but came back to win 5-3.

"It just shows the quality they have in depth. It is going to be a tough game but one we are all looking forward to. Liverpool are one of the biggest clubs in the world. They are never going to give you anything easy and I'm sure they will have something to come back with and show us that it was a fluke on the first day of the season."

Against his former club Reading at the weekend, Long was replaced in the starting line-up by Romalu Lukaku but went on as substitute to make the only goal for him.

Clarke is certain to make changes for the tie - and the forward line is the area in which he is particularly well blessed.

"Rom has been champing at the bit for a while," he added. "The manager just decided to change it because we didn't really perform at Fulham the previous weekend.

"But he said I'm still a very big part of his plans. Lukaku is a handful for everybody. He's still only 19, he's strong and quick, he's good in the air and can finish with both feet. He's near enough the complete striker. He's young, still learning his craft, but a big addition to our team."

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