In-form Liverpool had one eye set for midweek’s Champions League semi-final clash against AS Roma at Anfield but, at the same time, were focusing on the West Bromwich Albion fixture at the Hawthorns despite the Baggies’ inevitable relegation disappointment.
They have been the ‘bogey’ side for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool all season having knocked them out of the FA Cup competition in January and also held them back to a goalless draw in the reverse fixture. They are upbeat following last weekend’s stunning win against Manchester United at Old Trafford and were determined to end the season on a higher note defeating the Reds once more who rested a few of their crucial first-team stars ahead of the AS Roma tie.
The outing, meanwhile, witnessed a late drama when the Reds threw away a two-goal lead and the Baggies netted twice late in the game to keep the slightest of survival hope alive.
The game started off favorably for Liverpool who drew the first blood when Danny Ings scored within five minutes of the game and netted his first goal in 2.5 years time following an injury nightmare. The Reds, however, kept on holding the possession and did well to defend consecutive threats from a series of West Brom corners. Jay Rodriguez came close late in the first half but could not poke James McClean’s cross into the back of the net, whereas Ings failed to beat Ben Foster one-on-one in the closing minutes. It ended 1-0 in favor of the visitors after first 45 minutes of the game.
West Brom opted to play long balls inside the box since the beginning of the second half but the Reds stood firm to defend those thanks to Virgil van Dijk’s towering presence inside the box. Danny Ings was denied a penalty despite being brought down by Craig Gordon in early minutes. He and Sadio Mane were taken off midway through the second-half and Klopp’s substitution paid off as two of the replacements Roberto Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain constituted a move and the latter placed it for Mohamed Salah who made no mistake to double the lead and joins the list of the highest scorers in a Premier League season alongside Alan Shearer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez with three games remaining.
The jubilation, however, did not last long as the Baggies kept throwing their bodies into the box and Jake Livermore pulled one back inside the net. The introduction of Dejan Lovren did not help the Reds much as Salomon Rondon headed home from Chris Brunt’s freekick conceded by a dreadful Joe Gomez as he was too casual in closing minutes and pulled down Olivier Burke wrongly down the left flank.
The game thus ended all square at Hawthorns and the Reds still need five more points to secure a top-four finish.
West Brom vs Liverpool Lineups:
West Brom: Ben Foster, Allan Nyom, Craig Dawson, Ahmed Hegazi, Kieran Gibbs (Olivier Burke 76′), Chris Brunt, Jake Livermore, James McClean (Jonny Evans 71′), Matt Philipps, Jay Rodriguez (Hal Robson-Kanu 89′), Salomon Rondon.
Liverpool: Loris Karius, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Ragnar Klavan, Alberto Moreno, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum, Mohamed Salah (Dejan Lovren 84′), Sadio Mane (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 66′), Danny Ings ( Roberto Firmino 66′).
West Brom vs Liverpool Highlights:
West Brom vs Liverpool Match Stats:
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