A solitary goal from Roberto Firmino saw Liverpool seal a crucial 1-0 victory away to West Brom in a tough Easter Sunday battle at the Hawthorns.
West Brom 0-1 Liverpool
Premier League, The Hawthorns
April 16, 2017
Firmino 45′ (assist – Lucas)
With just six games left to play before the end of the season, Liverpool headed to the West Midlands on form and looking to maintain their top-four challenge in the Premier League.
After Man City‘s 3-0 victory away to Southampton on Saturday, the Reds needed a victory at the Hawthorns to keep up with their closest rivals, with Jurgen Klopp buoyed by the return of both Firmino and Philippe Coutinho.
The Brazilian duo came off the substitutes’ bench to fuel a 2-1 comeback win away to Stoke City last time out, and were able to start against West Brom, joining Divock Origi in attack.
Able to put pressure on Man United ahead of their clash with Chelsea later on Easter Sunday, Liverpool will have been desperate for victory, and they pulled off a battling display to do so.
- Klopp makes three changes to side from Stoke win
- Reds dominate in tough test of character
- Firmino opens scoring after dull first half at Hawthorns
- Mignolet makes vital save to deny Phillips late on
- Another three points in top-four Premier League push
The opening stages of the clash played out as expected, with West Brom happy to allow the visitors the majority of possession, focused on stymieing any threats from the Reds’ attack.
Pulis’ side remained resolute in defence throughout the opening 45 minutes, with both Coutinho and Firmino resorting to hopeful efforts from the left side in their bid to test Ben Foster.
At the other end, Wales’ European Championship hero Hal Robson-Kanu remained a constant threat, with the forward drawing a save from Simon Mignolet on 35 minutes after peeling away from Dejan Lovren.
Origi was left to toil away up front throughout the first half, feeding off scraps with neither Coutinho or Firmino able to get involved consistently on the transition.
Liverpool’s breakthrough came, surprisingly, from a set-piece, with Lucas Leiva flicking on James Milner‘s free-kick, allowing Firmino to fire home at the far post on the stroke of half-time.
The game picked up where it left off after the interval, with the Reds the more dominant side but struggling to create any meaningful chances in the final third.
A burst of quality from Firmino did craft an opening just before the hour mark, however, but Milner skewed his volley over the bar following an exquisite pass from the goalscorer.
Origi had the ball in the back of the net shortly after, but Jon Moss ruled his effort out due to a questionable offside from Firmino in the buildup, with the No. 11 involved in everything positive for Liverpool.
After spending most of the game as a spectator, Simon Mignolet was called into action with 10 minutes left to play, spreading himself to deny Matt Phillips on the break.
The Baggies continued to threaten late on, with Liverpool forced to drop back and defend, with Klopp overseeing a priceless victory to keep the pressure on at the top.
TIA Man of the Match: Roberto Firmino
Referee: Jon Moss
West Brom: Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Brunt; Fletcher, Yacob (Brunt 64′), Livermore; Phillips, Chadli (Morrison 61′); Robson-Kanu (Rondon 64′)
Subs not used: Myhill, Wilson, Nyom, Field
Liverpool: Mignolet; Lovren, Matip, Lucas; Clyne, Can, Wijnaldum, Milner; Coutinho (Moreno 90+1′), Firmino, Origi (Sturridge 81′)
Subs not used: Karius, Gomez, Alexander-Arnold, Grujic, Woodburn
Next match: Crystal Palace (H) – Premier League – April 23