Liverpool’s last home game of 2020 ended in frustration as West Brom found a late equaliser to force a 1-1 draw, meaning the Reds only go three points clear at the top.
Liverpool 1-1 West Brom
Premier League, Anfield
December 27, 2020
Goals: Mane 11′; Ajayi 81′
Alisson – 7 (out of 10)
Could have swapped with any of those behind him in the Kop in the first half and nobody would ever have known.
Second half, though, he came up big with a huge one-on-one save against Karlan Grant.
A few decent crosses and overlapping runs. Sent one free-kick wide and had a couple of issues defending when the Baggies got forward down his flank.
Rather sloppy on the ball from time to time, a bit slow to release possession.
Short corner in the final seconds. Not quite Iago Aspas, but.
Joel Matip – 7
An assist Zidane and De Bruyne would have been proud of. Won the ball back numerous times just as West Brom thought they were getting out of their own penalty box, but no.
But, as has happened too often, pulled up with an injury shortly into the second half. Hopefully it’s not a long one but it’s now abundantly clear he cannot be relied upon.
Fabinho – 7
Pretty much got to play in his more natural midfield in the first half. Not because he was named there, but because West Brom opted for a 7-3-0 formation, so he might as well have joined in a little higher upfield.
Mostly good with the defensive work after the break including a huge header from a dangerous corner late on, but was beaten in the air for the goal.
Andy Robertson – 7
Nobody runs as hard or as much as this guy. Always on the overlap or the recovery run, always good enough to make his own space and produce a good cross, always tackling back, directing team-mates and generally making life a misery for the opposition right-winger.
Relentless, though usually one or two more of his crosses would result in great chances – didn’t quite happen this time.
Jordan Henderson – 7
Lots of recycling passes, lots of clipped crosses from the channel. All a bit easy, so all a bit passive – not his fault, just a consequence of the pace of the game while the Reds dominated.
Started to lift the play a little in the last 15 minutes.
Curtis Jones – 7
Mountain of a player. Always keen to get moving forward, unafraid to take on his man and made some brilliant exchanges down the right flank in particular.
Still things to work on: twice he lost possession leading to attacks, the second of which led to the equaliser off a corner. Big lesson to take.
Gini Wijnaldum – 6
Seemed as though he spent much of the early game getting out of the way of Henderson and Jones’ passes. Much more involved after the break when West Brom had more counters, more runners from deep.
Mohamed Salah – 6
A bit quiet for long spells on account of West Brom‘s back 15. Still found gaps at times though to link play and get in a cross or two.
Should have scored with a second-half header, then did well with a couple of quick dribbles infield later on.
Roberto Firmino – 8 – Man of the match
Wonderful first half full of movement, great lay-offs, block tackles on the edge of the West Brom penalty box and a couple of cheeky smiles.
Brought out the backheels in the second half and was a general menace throughout, nearly netting a last-minute winner with a header.
Sadio Mane – 7
He’s got better chest-and-turn control than most players have with their dominant foot. What a goal.
Thereafter he was mostly forced to come deep to get involved in the build-up play and didn’t really have another sight of goal.
Rhys Williams (on for Matip, 58′) – 6
Fine on the ball but once dropped deep when the rest of the defence stepped up, then was beaten by a long, high ball with pace in behind.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (on for Jones, 81′) – 6
Got the final 10 and tried to get into the box as much as possible.
Divock Origi (on for Firmino, 89′) – n/a
No late heroics.
Subs not used: Kelleher, N Williams, Phillips, Milner, Minamino, Shaqiri
Jurgen Klopp – 8
Went with his strongest line-up after the eight-day break and was rewarded with a fast start.
Berated the ref after the 641st non-foul was given against the Reds for no apparent reason and received a booking for his fume.
Not really anything he did wrong in this game, but he’ll be fuming at his players for dropping the tempo so much in the second half. Origi instead of Minamino might be a question, but there was only a minute left.