Liverpool beat West Brom 2-1 in a game at Anfield which became rather edgy towards the close.
Liverpool entered the match today needing a win to go joint-top with Arsenal following Monday’s draw with arch-rivals Manchester United. Yesterday, Jürgen Klopp’s Reds again faced a similar challenge, a West Brom side that has been well disciplined by Tony Pulis to sit back, absorb pressure, and take advantages of set pieces to get a result, with attackers Nacer Chadli and Salomon Rondon in fine form.
Liverpool only made one change since Monday, with the now fit Adam Lallana taking the place of Daniel Sturridge, and Emre Can keeping his spot in midfield as Gini Wijnaldum still hasn’t fully recovered from his injury suffered during the international break.
The match started in expected fashion, the Baggies making it clear how they wanted the match to be played with two banks of four strictly aligned in Liverpool’s attacking half.
The first chance of the game fell to Pulis’ side, who won the ball in midfield and immediately found themselves in a fantastic counter-attacking situation, with Phillips’ square ball nearly reaching Rondon to tap into the net if not for Matip’s vital intervention.
The first chance for the Reds resulted in the first goal of the match, a fantastic team move starting with Milner and ending with a brilliant finish from Mané from a Firmino cross, a lovely goal, and Liverpool found themselves 1-0 up at the twenty-minute mark.
Another scoring chance came about ten minutes later for the Reds but did not turn out as the Liverpool faithful would have enjoyed -a brilliant counter-attacking move between Lallana and Can found the Englishman in the box with the space to curl his effort, which floated over the bar.
Just minutes later, Liverpool went two up in a moment of brilliance from the Brazilian pair of Firmino and Coutinho. The move started with Firmino’s pressing on goalkeeper Ben Foster which resulted in a hasty clearance and the ball fell to Mané, who found Coutinho to his left, and with a swift cut inside, finished near post.
The two sides went into the halftime break with the scoreline 2-0 to Klopp’s men. A fabulous controlled first half performance, and if the match ended then, the Reds would have been top of the Premier League table alongside Arsenal, with Manchester City playing today.
The first big chance of the second half fell to Liverpool again. Another swift counter-attacking move had Mané released down the right, who played in Coutinho with acres of space in the middle. Coutinho picked out a simple pass to Firmino in on goal but the Brazilian’s effort was saved well by Foster.
Minutes later, a free-kick in a dangerous area gave Coutinho a great opportunity to deliver a threatening ball, finding Lovren on the head and forcing a marvelous save out of Ben Foster again to keep the Baggies in the match.
The second half continued with wave after wave of Liverpool attacks, the next big chance fell to Emre Can after Coutinho was released down the left with only the goal ahead of him, in which he decided to find his German compatriot on his run into the box, whose effort was blocked incredibly by Olsson.
West Brom’s first chance of the half came from, you guessed it, their first corner of the half. The resulting rebound fell to Chadli in a bit of space in the box, but his effort was scooped wide. A difficult chance to take, but it could be argued that the Belgian should have done better.
Gini Wijnaldum entered the match for Adam Lallana in the 78th minute, and minutes later West Brom, who had begun to grab a foothold in the match, got their goal off yet another set piece. The ball fell to McCauley in the center with only the goal to aim for, and the Northern Irishman made no mistake. 10 minutes left and the score was 2-1, resulting in a very nervy finish for Liverpool.
The final minutes of the match had the home crowd begging for the final whistle, who would’ve thought, and the final whistle did come with Liverpool still in front, but no longer top of the table due to goal difference, though that may have been different had Wijnaldum finished a chance outside the 18 that was inches away from creeping in the far post.
All in all, a Liverpool win takes the Reds to at least 3rd in the table by the end of Sunday.
Final score: Liverpool 2- 1 West Brom
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