Report as goalkeeper Alisson pulls off the most dramatic of winners, heading in from a corner in the 95th minute to grab a 2-1 win for Liverpool at West Brom and lift the Reds to within one point of the Premier League’s top four
Sunday 16 May 2021 19:12, UK
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson produced a stunning injury-time headed winner to snatch a 2-1 victory at West Brom, which keeps the Reds’ top-four hopes alive.
Liverpool had thrown everything at Sam Allardyce’s already-relegated side but by the 95th minute they still had not been able to find a second goal, after Mohamed Salah had cancelled out Hal Robson-Kanu’s opener.
However, the biggest twist was to come, with Alisson sent up for a corner and brilliantly heading home Trent Alexander-Arnold’s set-piece.
The Brazilian, whose father tragically died earlier this year, was visibly emotional at the final whistle as Klopp embraced him amid the Reds’ celebrations.
The victory keeps Liverpool’s Champions League qualifying hopes alive, moving them one point behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who host third-placed Leicester at Stamford Bridge, live on Sky Sports on Tuesday night. They know if they can beat Burnley and Crystal Palace, they are likely to be in Europe’s elite club competition again next season.
As for West Brom, who saw Kyle Bartley’s strike rightly ruled out for offside during the second half, they remain second-bottom in the Premier League table.
West Brom: Johnstone (7), Furlong (6), Bartley (7), Ajayi (7), Townsend (6), Diangana (6), Gallagher (6), Phillips (7), Yokuslu (6), Pereira (7), Robson-Kanu (7)
Subs: Maitland-Niles (6), Livermore (6), Grant (N/A)
Liverpool: Alisson (9), Alexander-Arnold (8), Phillips (8), R Williams (7), Robertson (7), Thiago (9), Fabinho (7), Jones (6), Salah (8), Mane (7), Firmino (6)
Subs: Shaqiri (6), Wijnaldum (6)
Man of the match: Alisson (Liverpool)
How Alisson grabbed a vital win for Liverpool…
While it was a must-win for Liverpool in their bid for a top-four finish, the pressure was off for Championship-bound West Brom and, after a series of set-pieces were launched into the Reds’ penalty area, Allardyce’s side struck first with a slick move.
Matheus Pereira picked up the ball midway into Liverpool’s half and flicked a smart pass past Rhys Williams, who had pushed up, for Robson-Kanu to run on to. The striker was making his first start in the top flight in three and a half years but finished in style to record his first Premier League goal since November 2017.
Liverpool responded well, though, and had a series of chances, with Sadio Mane – back in the starting XI in place of the injured Diogo Jota – shooting wide, Williams seeing an effort blocked, and Salah firing straight at Sam Johnstone.
It was that man Salah who came up with something special to pull his side level on 33 minutes. With the ball bouncing around the edge of the West Brom area, Mane prodded it to Salah and he whipped a brilliant low, left-foot shot into the far corner.
There was some controversy in the build-up, with referee Mike Dean awarding Liverpool a free-kick after he got in the way of Fabinho, when a drop-ball seemed the more appropriate restart, but there was plenty more action before Salah’s strike.
The goal moved him level with Harry Kane in the Golden Boot standings – a race which looks set to go down to the wire just like the top-four battle.
Liverpool could have had a second on 35 minutes when Roberto Firmino fired against the bar after a Mane backheel deflected through to him in the box – although West Brom delivered a reminder of their threat on the break when Alexander-Arnold got back well to prevent Robson-Kanu doubling his tally.
- Match stats | How the teams lined up
- Premier League table
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The chances continued to flow at both ends of the pitch after the break, with Mane finding the net from an offside position four minutes after the restart before Nat Phillips tracked back brilliantly to take the sting out of Pereira’s effort on the counter-attack.
It was almost a Liverpool breakaway which did the damage moments later when Alexander-Arnold drove his side up the pitch at lightning speed before Salah blasted at Johnstone, while Firmino and Thiago Alcantara were narrowly off target either side of Alisson denying Robson-Kanu from another one-on-one.
After Bartley saw his close-range finish from a corner ruled out because of Matt Phillips standing in front of Alisson in an offside position, it was all Liverpool in the final stages, with Alexander-Arnold blowing a big chance with seven minutes to play, firing over from close range after cutting in on his left foot.
Thiago and substitute Gini Wijnaldum were the next to go close but in the end it was their own goalkeeper who showed them how it should be done.
Sent up in the fifth minute of injury-time, Alisson was unmarked by the West Brom defence and made them pay, arrowing a fantastic header into the far corner and sparking wild celebrations on the Liverpool bench.
“Alisson has saved Liverpool’s season” – how the Sky Sports pundits reacted
Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher:
“The bench has gone mad, and rightly so. If a Liverpool player didn’t get the first touch on the corner it was the end, and that man Alisson has saved Liverpool season! What a header! Liverpool don’t need a centre forward anymore.
“There is still a way to go, but the Liverpool players know how big that goal is from Alisson. Whether you’re fighting relegation, going for the title for trying to qualify for the top four, it’s not about what the result does for you but more to the teams around you. That will give he teams around them a huge blow and give Liverpool a huge lift going into the game with Burnley.”
Sky Sports’ Jamie Rednkapp:
“Football never ceases to amaze you, what a moment. You can just see the emotion of Alisson, you can see what it means to him. Imagine what the Liverpool dressing room will be like now. The header is unbelievable.”
Sky Sports’ Graeme Souness:
“I’m amazed no one senses he’s there but he keeps his focus, because Nat Phillips comes in front of him late on. He knew exactly where the goal was, a super, super header. He’s done really, really well. He watches the ball all the way. Great goal.”
Opta stats – Alisson Liverpool’s first ever goal-scoring goalkeeper
- In Liverpool’s entire club history since they were founded in 1892, Alisson is the first goalkeeper ever to score a competitive goal for the club.
- Liverpool have now won six of their last eight Premier League games (D2), the same number as they registered in their 19 top-flight games beforehand (W6 D5 L8).
- No player has scored more Premier League goals this season than Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah (22, level with Harry Kane). Indeed, those 22 goals have won the Reds 16 points, with no player earning more for their side via their goals this season.
- Liverpool midfielder Thiago created five opportunities from open play for his teammates in his side’s draw with West Brom, the joint-most the Spaniard has ever managed in a top-flight league game (also creating five in December 2015 for Bayern Munich against Hannover 96).
- Hal Robson-Kanu’s opener for West Brom was his first Premier League goal since November 2017 against Newcastle, with the Welshman making a scoring return to the starting XI, last starting a top-flight game in December 2017.
- Alisson’s goal for Liverpool (94:18) was Liverpool’s latest away Premier League winner since Christian Benteke vs Crystal Palace in March 2016 (95:10), whilst the Brazilian scored the very first headed goal by a goalkeeper since the formation of the competition in 1992.
West Brom host West Ham on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 8pm; kick-off 8.15pm. Liverpool go to Burnley on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports Main Event from 8pm; kick-off 8.15pm.
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