LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 14, 2018: Referee Craig Pawson disallows West Bromwich Albion's third goal after a video replay during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool 2-3 West Brom: VAR rules over wild FA Cup night at Anfield

Liverpool’s 3-2 loss to West Brom in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday night was dominated by a significant influence of the video assistant referee.

Liverpool 2-3 West Brom

FA Cup Fourth Round, Anfield
January 27, 2018


Firmino 5′ (assist – Salah)
Rodriguez 6′ (assist – Brunt)
Rodriguez 11′ (assist – Gibbs)
Matip OG 45+2′ (assist – Dawson)
Salah 78′ (assist – Firmino)

Given just four days between their chastening defeat at Swansea City on Monday night and the visit of Alan Pardew’s West Brom, the Reds were tasked with an immediate response in the FA Cup.

Having been caught without an answer at the Liberty Stadium at the start of the week, Liverpool returned to Anfield looking for a turnaround.

In previous years Jurgen Klopp has fielded makeshift sides in England’s most prestigious cup tournament, handed debuts to Tiago Ilori, Joe Maguire, Kevin Stewart, Sheyi Ojo, Ryan Kent and Harry Wilson.

But this season the German has the squad depth to set his sights on silverware on the domestic stage, making just three changes to the side that lost in south Wales.

With Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino part of his starting lineup, Klopp will have been confident he had the firepower to secure progress to the fifth round, but instead he witnessed a laughable display.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 14, 2018: Referee Craig Pawson awards Liverpool a penalty after reviewing a video replay during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Firmino and Rodriguez strike in quick-fire opening salvo
  • Rodriguez puts West Brom ahead before VAR rules out Dawson header
  • Firmino then misses penalty awarded utilising pitch-side monitor
  • Dawson cross forces Matip into own goal on cusp of half-time
  • Salah claws goal back after Klopp’s triple substitution
  • Liverpool knocked out of FA Cup at fourth round again

It took the Reds just five minutes to find the back of the net, with Salah taking advantage of an error from Jonny Evans to allow Firmino to lob Ben Foster for the opener.

But Liverpool were ahead for a mere 68 seconds, as Jay Rodriguez hammered home a stunning effort to equalise in style.

And the former Southampton striker had doubled his tally shortly after, tapping home from Kieran Gibbs’ cross as Klopp’s defensive line fell apart.

The Reds narrowly avoided further misery being heaped on them before the 20-minute mark, with referee Craig Pawson calling on VAR to rule out Craig Dawson’s header for offside.

Then, with Salah brought down in the penalty area, Pawson consulted the pitch-side monitor to award Liverpool with a spot-kick, but with Firmino stepping up the Brazilian fired it against the bar.

This kept the hosts in the game, but they were unable to level the scores before the break, and instead West Brom extended their lead in the closing stages through a Joel Matip own goal.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 14, 2018: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp makes a triple substitution as he brings on Danny Ings, James Milner and captain Jordan Henderson during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and West Brom at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The relentless intensity halted at the break, but Liverpool were still unable to gain a foothold as West Brom presided over their two-goal lead.

Such was his side’s hopelessness Klopp opted to make a triple substitution before the hour mark, sending on the agricultural trio of Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Danny Ings.

The Reds did take control after those changes, and both Milner and Ings tested the impressive Foster with powerful efforts as they continued to knock on the door.

They did reduce the deficit with just over 10 minutes to play, however, with Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s cross rebounding off Firmino into the path of Salah, who buried his chance to make it 3-2.

Unfortunately, despite dominating in the final minutes, this proved to be the last goal, with Klopp suffering an exit in the fourth round of the FA Cup for the third consecutive season.

TIA Man of the Match: Roberto Firmino

Referee: Craig Pawson

Next Match: Huddersfield Town (A) – Premier League – January 30

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