Monday 5 December 2016

Benched Saido Berahino put on fitness programme to lose weight

Published 21/10/2016 | 13:31

Striker Saido Berahino has not played in West Brom's past four games after being ruled unfit
Striker Saido Berahino has not played in West Brom's past four games after being ruled unfit

West Brom boss Tony Pulis has insisted that Saido Berahino needed to be taken out of the side and placed on a personal fitness plan.

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The striker is now doing extra work as well as training with the first team after the club decided he was overweight and unfit to play.

Tests found he was eight pounds over his ideal weight and the 23-year-old will not feature at Liverpool on Saturday.

Berahino has not scored since February, a 14-game run, and has not played in the Baggies' past four matches having also been left out of the squad completely for last weekend's 1-1 draw with Tottenham.

Pulis said: "We've come to the conclusion that's the best way forward, he's bought into it and we'll take him out of the firing line. It's important we get him back to sharpness and fitness.

"When you're playing as we are the players are training hard at the beginning of the week and dropping off and then Saido is having the weekend off as well. We're hoping and praying that'll benefit him and get him back to where we want him.

"I don't think there's one reason, there's all different reasons. We've looked at it and he wants to get as fit as he can.

"Saido has got too many people around him talking to him at times and gets carried away with too many different ideas and thoughts.

"We've decided this is the best way to get Saido fit, back on board and playing the way he played when I first came here."

Berahino scored just four Premier League goals last season, after netting 20 times in 2014-15, but the Baggies still turned down bids of around £20million from Crystal Palace and Stoke in the summer.

He will not feature at Anfield with Jonny Evans also banned after collecting five yellow cards this season.

Jonas Olsson could replace him while Chris Brunt returned from eight months out with a knee injury as a second-half substitute against Tottenham last week.

Albion go to Anfield having drawn their past three games against Liverpool, including last season's 2-2 draw at Anfield.

Pulis and Reds boss Jurgen Klopp failed to shake hands at the end of the game following Divock Origi's late equaliser but Pulis has no issues with the German and tipped Liverpool to challenge for the title.

"He's alright, he's passionate which is brilliant. Supporters accept that passion is an important part of the game," he added.

"They've got a great chance this year, they have a clear run at it with the other clubs bogged down with European games."

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