Downing hails Clarke impact
West Brom manager Steve Clarke has been praised for filling Roy Hodgson's shoes and continuing last season's success.
Baggies assistant head coach Keith Downing believes Clarke has combined the defensive solidity of current England boss Hodgson with a more attacking approach.
Albion are fourth in the Premier League and will be looking to complete a quickfire double over holders Liverpool in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday after their 3-0 opening-day win at the Hawthorns.
Downing said: "The manager (Clarke) takes a lot of credit because he stepped into some big shoes in terms of Roy's work previously.
"Steve is a very quiet man, he doesn't take the plaudits too much and he does his work in the background.
"But the transition has been seamless. He has come in and put his own slant on it.
"He has worked off Roy's principles but put his own mark to it."
When asked to compare the qualities of the duo, Downing said: "They are very similar, very organised, structured, know exactly what we are doing on the pitch.
"In general terms, Steve has added a bit in terms of ideas going forward on the offensive side.
"But there are a lot of principles in terms of what Roy has done in terms of structure and team ethic and he has carried that on.
"The sensible thing is Steve has realised what is good and added the things he feels need improving and has done that really well.
"He has given different ideas in terms of offensive patterns but we have still kept clean sheets at home in three games."
Downing believes the Baggies now have strength in depth and will field a competitive side whatever line-up Clarke opts to field against the Reds.
He also feels the 2011 trophy success of Birmingham offers hope of securing a major trophy.
He said: "We are conscious of the Premier League being a very important competition but equally there is a seriousness about going as far as we can in this competition.
"The decision hasn't been made yet. There is a competition for places here. We feel it is the strongest squad, certainly in my time here.
"The competition for spots has risen in terms of standard and, whoever we put out tomorrow, we feel it will be a strong team to compete against the cup holders.
"There is a really good feeling about the place at the moment and it will be disrespectful to the competition if we take it lightly tomorrow.
"It is a competition you can win. Birmingham showed that a couple of seasons ago.
"There is a seriousness about it and the manager is very keen to show that tomorrow."
Downing expects Liverpool to make changes given their current hectic schedule.
He said: "They are the cup holders. But they are in a difficult situation where they are playing four games in 10 days.
"I am sure (Reds boss) Brendan Rodgers will have to consider that, and they had a few injuries on Sunday against Manchester United, so that will be difficult for them to decide who will play.
"But I'm sure he will want to get a result somewhere along the line and his side will be pretty strong as well. Their strength in depth is good."