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    Liverpool 2-2 West Bromwich Albion Match Report

    A goal six minutes into injury time from substitute Divock Origi salvaged a well-deserved point for Liverpool in a hard-fought and incident-packed encounter against West Brom at Anfield. The home side had taken the lead early-on through Jordan Henderson but goals from Craig Dawson and Jonas Olsson looked to have given the Baggies an unlikely victory as the match headed deep into stoppage time, before Origi's last-gasp leveller.

    West Brom will be bitterly disappointed to have returned home without all three points after having a goal ruled out just before half-time, with the referee's assistant taking 30 seconds to raise his flag for offside. Although the referee and his assistant ultimately made the correct call, Baggies boss Tony Pulis was disappointed that the flag was not raised sooner to prevent the confusion which later ensued. His team also missed a golden opportunity to give themselves an unassailable 3-1 lead when Jose Salomon Rondon shot wide with three minutes in a rare foray forward for the away side.

    Although Liverpool had 28 efforts on goal, with eight of those hitting the target, and 70 per cent of possession, the Baggies defended resolutely and made it difficult for the home side to break them down. West Brom posed a constant threat throughout the match and were especially dangerous from set-pieces, from which they scored two goals and were denied another when Olsson's first-half effort was ruled out. The visitors managed to hold out for 96 minutes before Origi's deflected long-range effort gave Liverpool the reward for their persistence, spirit and endeavour.

    Liverpool decided to hand a first start since August to Captain Jordan Henderson, who replaced Lucas Leiva in midfield, while Philippe Coutinho made his first Premier League appearance for three weeks at the expense of Roberto Firmino. There was no place for Jordon Ibe, who was suffering with illness before the match and replaced by Adam Lallana, with Emre Can preferred to Joe Allen in midfield having returned from a one-match ban. For West Brom, Craig Gardner replaced the suspended Stephane Sessegnon, while Jonas Olsson was preferred to of Claudio Yacob, who was eligible after serving a one-match ban.

    The home side began the match on the front-foot and should have taken the lead after 14 minutes through Philippe Coutinho. Emre Can's cross was intended for Christian Benteke, standing just outside the six-yard box, but the ball was headed straight into Coutinho's path by Gareth McAuley. It sat-up perfectly for the unmarked Brazilian, who somehow managed to blaze over the bar from 15 yards to miss the first chance of the game. West Brom were employing a defensive formation, with Jonny Evans playing in front of a back-four and Darren Fletcher and James Morrison patrolling the centre of midfield, which proved to be a difficult unit for Liverpool to break down.

    The Reds didn't have long to wait though until taking the lead through Henderson, who started in the Premier League for the first time since mid-August and played like he was making up for lost time. On this occasion, it was Coutinho who crossed into the West Brom penalty area, with Adam Lallana heading the ball down for Henderson to steer home right-footed from just outside the six-yard box. Even though the match was still in its early stages, it felt like a crucial breakthrough with the away side coming to defend and Liverpool successfully managing to break down their resistance to take the lead.

    The Baggies made a swift reply to falling a goal behind and managed to equalise through a set-piece, which was always going to be their most likely route back into the match. Simon Mignolet failed to claim Chris Brunt's corner and, after a couple of ricochets, Rondon set up Craig Dawson to strike left-footed past three Liverpool defenders on the goal line. The equaliser came at a pivotal time for West Brom, who were being dominated in possession and it enabled them to weather an early storm, with the match seemingly heading for a routine Liverpool win.

    The most controversial moment of the game then ensued in the final minute of the first half when West Brom thought they had taken the lead, only to be denied by a delayed offside decision. Jonas Olsson's side-footed volley past Mignolet from Craig Gardner's free-kick was ruled out belatedly by assistant referee Richard West. West originally failed to flag as he wanted clarification from referee Craig Pawson as to whether a Liverpool or West Brom player had touched the ball on its way into the net. Olsson was one of four West Brom players in offside positions, three of whom made a movement towards the ball, so an offside flag should have been raised irrespective of who had turned home the free-kick.

    Olsson was not to be denied from giving his side the lead from another set-piece in the second half, however, as he headed home Brunt's inswinging corner from three yards with only 17 minutes remaining. Perhaps remembering Mignolet's vulnerability on crosses in the first-half, Darren Fletcher stood in front of the Belgian, restricting his ability to come to collect the cross and freeing up space that allowed Olsson to head home unchallenged. Although Liverpool probably didn't deserve to be behind, it was a West Brom masterclass in frustrating the opposition and being clinical in front of goal.

    With 15 minutes remaining, Dejan Lovren was stretchered off following a challenge from Craig Gardner where he sustained a serious-looking knee injury. Although the midfielder won the ball, he caught Lovren on the follow-through, with the Croat waving his arms in seek of imminent medical attention. The incident caused a prolonged delay as the defender left the field on a stretcher, with eight minutes added at the end of the match as a result of the stoppage. It also allowed Klopp the opportunity to make a positive substitution, with Lovren being replaced by Divock Origi to boost the home side's attacking options.

    Liverpool should have equalised with 10 minutes of normal time remaining but were denied by an excellent save from the West Brom goalkeeper Boaz Myhill. After some quick and incisive passing inside the visitors' half, Benteke threaded a pass through to Lallana, who found himself one-on-one with the Welsh goalkeeper. Myhill somehow managed to narrow down the space and flung himself at the England international to block his side-footed effort from six yards out. It was only one of the rare examples of Liverpool managing to get in-behind the West Brom back-four in order to create a gilt-edged chance.

    Despite Liverpool dominating much of the final 25 minutes of the match after West Brom had taken the lead, the away side still continued to pose a threat and missed a great chance to extend their lead through Rondon with three minutes of normal time left. James Milner's backward header caused confusion between Clyne and Skrtel, which allowed McClean to nip in and thread a pass through to the Venezuelan international. With part of the goal gaping, the £12 million club-record signing managed to drag his shot wide from the edge of the penalty area, perhaps the sign of a player out of form having only scored three goals in 15 Premier League appearances.

    Encouraged by Rondon's lack of ruthlessness in front of goal, Liverpool resumed their onslaught in pursuit of an equaliser, with Jordon Ibe trying his luck from 20 yards out. The England Under-21 international's left-footed effort was struck like an arrow, but ended up a yard wide of Myhill's left-hand post. Ibe had been brought on to replace Philippe Coutinho, who managed to last 72 minutes on his return from a hamstring problem but didn't seem to be showing any ill-effects from the injury that had caused him to miss nearly three weeks of action. Shortly after Ibe's chance, the board was lifted to indicate eight minutes of stoppage time.

    After six minutes of injury time had elapsed, Divock Origi picked up the ball on the left-hand side but was felled by a tired-looking challenge by Dawson. In his attempt to make the most of a promising situation, he got back up to his feet and struck a right-footed shot from 22 yards that wickedly deflected off McAuley on its way past Myhill. Although the Belgian's effort was on target, the ball's change of direction gave the goalkeeper no chance and prompted wild scenes at Anfield, with Klopp trying to rouse the home fans for the final few minutes of the match as his side tried in vain to score a winning goal.

    Although this was another home match where Liverpool were far from their best, it was a display of fighting spirit and a never-say-die attitude. There were plenty of opportunities for their heads to go down, especially when Lallana and Ibe came so close to equalising before the match headed for stoppage time, but their perseverance was rewarded with Origi's last-gasp strike. Perhaps as a show of solidarity, Klopp brought his Liverpool players together after the final whistle to stand in a line and lock hands in front of the Kop. Scenes like these have rarely, if ever, been seen in English football and are another indication of how the German is shaping the club in his identity.

    Another pleasing aspect for Klopp will be Divock Origi's first Premier League goal for the club, in his sixth appearance. Without a league goal before Sunday, doubts have been raised regarding the Belgian's suitability as a replacement for the injured Sturridge and Ings, but his goal on Sunday should give him the confidence to elevate his game to a higher level. Jordan Henderson was also a huge plus-point for his manager having played 90 minutes for the first time in four months and is looking more and more like the player who has been so impressive for the past couple of years.

    The one major worry that Klopp will take away from this match will be the defensive frailties that seem to have reared their heads again, with the visitors ruthlessly exploiting the opportunities that had been afforded to them. There must be questions raised after this performance regarding Mignolet's decision-making as well as his authority from crosses, after he travelled a huge distance to attempt to catch Brunt's corner in the first half, which he completely failed to gather. The ease in which Olsson twice managed to evade his markers will also be a worry to Klopp, especially after the improvements that the club have made defensively since his appointment as manager.

    Had West Brom held on for another two-and-a-half minutes, it would have been the perfect away performance for the visitors. They managed to weather the early Liverpool storm and thereafter looked solid defensively for most of the match, limiting The Reds to few clear-cut chances despite being dominated in terms of possession and efforts on target. The Baggies utilised their strengths and made sure their delivery from both set-pieces and wide areas created as much difficulty for the home side to defend as possible. The match could almost be regarded as the textbook performance of how to play without possession of the ball.

    The visitors may dwell on Olsson's disallowed goal as a pivotal decision that didn't go in their favour but the referee ultimately made the correct call, despite it taking 30 seconds to establish whether it was a goal or not. Pulis will reflect on the chance for Rondon to make the score 3-1, with three minutes of normal time remaining, as a crucial moment in determining the outcome of the game. He will also mindful, however, that his side created very few chances throughout the match and were set-up primarily to defend, so the point was a hard-earned reward for their afternoon's endeavours.

    Next up for Liverpool is an away trip to play in-form Watford on Sunday lunchtime, who currently sit a point and two places above the Reds in seventh place. West Brom, meanwhile, return to action on Saturday afternoon against in-form Bournemouth at The Hawthorns. The Cherries have won back-to-back matches against Chelsea and Manchester United and have climbed to 14th position, one place and four points behind the Baggies.
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    Item Reviewed: Liverpool 2-2 West Bromwich Albion Match Report Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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