A late Divock Origi equaliser gave Liverpool a deserved draw at home to a cynical West Bromwich Albion on Sunday afternoon.
Liverpool 2-2 West Brom
Premier League – Anfield – Sunday 13th December 2015
Goals: Henderson 21′, Origi 90+6′; Dawson 30′, Olsson 73′
Henderson took the captain’s armband for his first start in the league under Klopp, while Coutinho stationed himself alongside Adam Lallana and Christian Benteke is a versatile, three-man attacking line.
But coming up against a Baggies side that included four centre-backs and one brutish centre-forward in Salomon Rondon, this was never going to be a cakewalk for the Reds.
Asking his side to spark a “special atmosphere” before the game, Klopp will be bemused at what unfolded.
Liverpool applied the pressure early on, with Henderson combining brilliantly with Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne working up the right flank and Emre Can having the best of the chances after a smart swivel in the box on 11 minutes.
Two minutes later and Coutinho should have put the Reds 1-0 up, blasting an effort over the bar from 10 yards after a poor clearance from Craig Dawson.
As the half went on West Brom began to gain a foothold in attack, with dangerous crosses from Chris Brunt and Craig Gardner troubling Simon Mignolet in the box, but Klopp’s side held on with some strong defensive work.
This gave Liverpool the impetus to hit back, and they did so in style on 21 minutes as Henderson finished off a lovely team move by hammering home Lallana’s knockdown to put his side 1-0 up.
Despite the Reds’ dominance, Klopp will no doubt have been aware of West Brom‘s threat from set pieces, and Simon Mignolet provided a perfect example as he flapped at a Baggies corner to give Dawson the simplest of finishes to level the scores on the half-hour mark.
Anfield fell to a deathly silence, as the Belgian’s error suffocated this special atmosphere.
Jonas Olsson had the ball in the back of the net again before the end of the first half, but with a number of West Brom players in offside positions, the goal was correctly ruled out; the threat was evident, however, with Liverpool once again struggling from a wide delivery.
As the half-time whistle blew, Klopp’s side left the field visibly dejected, with an German awaiting in the dressing room.
With no changes made at the interval, Klopp will have hoped his team talk would inspire his side to victory.
The second half kicked off with a slower tempo than the previous 45 minutes, but Liverpool remained on top in terms of possession and chances created, with Henderson’s long-range effort on 59 minutes to pick of the opportunities early on.
To their credit, the home support looked to muster Klopp’s desired atmosphere and encourage the Reds to up their game, with The Fields of Anfield Road echoing around the ground.
With Coutinho enduring a muted return to the first-team fold after injury, Jordon Ibe was brought on in the Brazilian’s place on 72 minutes, as Klopp looked to inject pace behind the West Brom defence.
Naturally, this did not come for Liverpool, with Olsson heading home from an exceptional Brunt delivery to put West Brom 2-1 up.
Minutes later, Dejan Lovren was down clutching his knee and screaming after a horrific late challenge from Gardner, with Klopp forced to drop Can into defence with the Croatian stretchered off.
Divock Origi took his place, prompting a change in emphasis for the Reds, who were desperate to grab an equaliser.
It took the Belgian 15 minutes, but with Anfield roaring him on Origi blasted Liverpool level with his long-range effort bouncing beyond Boaz Myhill deep into stoppage time.
Klopp and the Anfield crowd have a right to be disappointed with their side’s errors, but it will all be forgetten with that late Origi strike.
TIA Man of the Match: Emre Can
Liverpool: Mignolet; Clyne, Skrtel, Lovren (Origi 79′), Moreno; Henderson, Can, Milner; Lallana (Firmino 86′), Benteke, Coutinho (Ibe 72′)
Substitutes: Bogdan, Toure, Lucas, Allen, Ibe, Firmino, Origi
West Brom: Myhill; Dawson, McAuley, Olsson, Evans; Brunt, Fletcher, Gardner; Morrison, McClean, Rondon (Lambert 90+2′)
Substitutes: Lindegaard, Chester, Gnabry, McManaman, Berahino, Lambert, Anichebe