West Brom 1-2 Liverpool
Premier League (36), The Hawthorns
May 16, 2021
Goals: Robson-Kanu 16′; Salah 34′, Alisson 90+5′
Alisson – 9 (out of 10)
We bow to you Sir Alisson, you absolute legend.
Forget that he made timely claims and punches to avert the danger or that he wasn’t asked to pull out too many saves but was up to the task when asked to be, it all comes to the final moment.
A headed goal to rescue top-four and a goal that will, hopefully, see it come to fruition.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8
Picked up from where he left off from his Man of the Match outing at Old Trafford, mixing stunning deliveries into the box with timely blocks in his own.
A cross-field ball to Salah from the left was exquisite as was his desperation to stop Robson-Kanu after his centre-backs took themselves out of the play.
Full of energy but it’s safe to say his left foot shot at goal could do with improving.
Nat Phillips – 5
Not afraid to throw himself into the contest, a bump on his head and a busted lip say as much, but it was not a fine display of defending from Phillips.
The goal saw him stranded thanks to his unneeded deep position and he then had Trent to thank for saving his blushes after bursting out of the line and failing to win the ball in a welcome invitation to shoot.
Not as dominant in the air as we have come to expect.
Rhys Williams – 5
Allowed himself to be drawn toward the ball and by failing to clear the danger he opened a gaping hole for Robson-Kanu to stroll into and score in the top-flight for the first time since 2017.
Targeted as the obvious weak link and, unfortunately, they were right to do so. He did assert himself more as the game progressed but it’s one to learn from and move on.
Andy Robertson – 6
As ever, eager to bomb forward but by doing so left an already targeted Williams to fend for himself and was largely sloppy in possession when he was not attempting deliveries into the box.
Has been as consistent as they come but a 66-hour turnaround after an already taxing season continues to show. Often drifted too far in-field. Overall, just not his day.
Fabinho – 6
A willing forward runner, his quick thinking to send the dead ball on its way instigated the Reds’ opener.
Clearly frustrated by a number of referee Mike Dean’s decisions, and rightly so, but on the whole, was a player noticeably off the pace with tired legs that at times looked to be wading through mud.
Thiago – 9 (Man of the Match)
The key Red trying to make things happen, opening up angles and pushing his teammates forward in attempts to break up a deep sitting West Brom.
The Spaniard was a constant thorn in the hosts’ side as they offered up plenty of space for him to pull the strings, throwing a lollipop or two in there in a fine performance.
Curtis Jones – 6
In his first start since the defeat to Chelsea at the start of March, it was a rusty return for the 20-year-old as he sought to pick up the pace of the match.
Readily worked his way into the final third but created little in the end and just before the hour mark, he was withdrawn. Didn’t really justify a place for midweek.
Mohamed Salah – 7
A shining light this season, Salah’s 22nd league goal came in cracking fashion with a first-time shot bouncing in off the upright – scary to think where Liverpool would be without him.
Was consistently making good runs across and in behind the Baggies’ defence but not always sought out, while his own disposal regularly opened up the pitch.
Sadio Mane – 5
After his post-match cold shoulder which Klopp quickly drew a line under, Mane slotted back in on the left in place of an injured Jota in what was a mixed outing.
Missed a big chance midway through the first half, dragging his first-time effort wide with the goal gaping but his desperation to win the ball back set Salah on his way.
He may be lacking confidence but his work ethic has to be on point, and here it was but Mane is definitely a shell of his former electric self.
Roberto Firmino – 7
Starting as captain, Firmino was the link once more and while part of the build-up for Salah’s opener, he ought to have had a goal of his own moments later but hit the post from right in front.
Worked his way into the right spaces and was tireless in doing so, the final execution in front of the sticks frustratingly evaded him, however.
Xherdan Shaqiri (on for Jones, 59′) – 5 –
The lack of game-time showed, with finesse absent and no creative spark which was desperately needed.
Gini Wijnaldum (on for Williams, 84′) – 6 –
Got straight into the action and will rue the chances he had to nestle one into the net, but, thankfully, it didn’t cost leaving with all three points.
Subs not used: Adrian, Koumetio, N. Williams, Tsimikas, Woodburn, Clarkson, Origi
Jurgen Klopp – 7
A reminder of the turbulent season we’ve experienced came prior to kick-off with Diogo Jota ruled out for the remaining three games, stripping Klopp of yet another valuable option.
And when you looked to the options on the bench it was made abundantly clear the challenges the Reds have had to overcome, and if Liverpool get over the line in the top four race it will be an almighty achievement.
But right now, the Champions League dream remains in reach and we only need a chance and we still have it. One more down, two to go.