Alisson and Mohamed Salah made the difference as Liverpool came from behind to beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 at the Hawthorns on Sunday.
Liverpool saw more of the ball in the early exchanges without really posing a great deal of threat. However, it still felt like the opening goal came against the run of play when West Bromwich Albion went ahead through Hal Robson-Kanu, who produced a composed finish to make it 1-0 in the 15th minute.
Thereafter, Liverpool were made to work extremely hard to carve out the openings before they got back on level terms courtesy a fine first-time shot by Mohamed Salah. Heading into half-time, the Reds ought to have been ahead, as Roberto Firmino inexplicably smashed his effort against the upright. Post the interval, though, it was more of the same, as West Brom defended resolutely.
The chances indeed came at a premium for Liverpool, although they did have a couple of openings before the winner was finally scored with the final touch in the game and through the unlikeliest of sources, as Alisson Becker headed in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner with the most perfect of finishes. With the win in the bag, The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Alisson Becker: 8/10
🗣 "I don't have too many words."
Alisson Becker explains the emotions that went through his mind when he scored pic.twitter.com/6eEvyhjn7b
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) May 16, 2021
Given no chance to do anything about Hal Robson-Kanu’s effort, but Alisson was hardly called into action thereafter, making just a couple of regulation saves. The Liverpool no. 1, though, ended up being the most unthinkable of match-winners, as he produced a brilliant headed finish from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner to seal all three points for his side. What a moment for the Brazilian.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7/10
The Player to Watch in our preview, Alexander-Arnold, who impressed a great deal earlier in the week against Manchester United, was left frustrated by a lack of space to exploit in the final third. The young full-back, though, made one crucial intervention at the back, which stopped West Brom from going ahead for a second time. Provided the assist for the match-winner from Alisson.
Rhys Williams: 5/10
Handed another start at the heart of the Liverpool defence, Rhys Williams made a poor start to the game, as he was sucked out of position, allowing Robson-Kanu to pounce and score the opener. On another instance, Robson-Kane got past him for a chance ahead of half-time before Alexander-Arnold bailed him out. Largely untroubled in the second half before being taken off for Georginio Wijnaldum.
Nathaniel Phillips: 7/10
Unlike his central defensive partner, Phillips was solid for the most part and made a number of clearances (6) and interceptions (3) to keep Robson-Kanu at bay whenever called into action, while also winning 9 duels. On the ball, he was precise for the most part, completing 88 percent of his attempted passes.
Andrew Robertson: 5/10
There were some positives and some negatives in this game for Robertson. While he was a constant outlet down the left flank, as he usually is, the end product was nowhere near where it needed to be as he completed just one of his 10 attempted crosses. Sloppy in possession as well, the Scot lost the ball 21 times while also leaving Rhys Williams to fend for himself at times. Just one of those days.
Curtis Jones: 6/10
A surprise starter ahead of Georginio Wijnaldum, Jones produced a largely unspectacular display in the middle of the park. Chose to keep things simple and ticking by when on the ball, doing so well as he completed 91 percent of his attempted passes (53/58). Hardly called into action defensively, but remained disciplined for the most part, before being taken off at the hour mark.
The enforcer in midfield for Liverpool, Fabinho was made to sweat by Matheus Pereira on a few occasions, including when he set Robson-Kane up for the West Brom goal. The Brazilian, though, started the move that led to the equaliser and was generally solid as the minutes wore on. A game of hits and misses in the end.
Thiago Alcantara: 7/10
The man to pull the strings in the middle of the park, Thiago had some frustrating moments when West Brom were not giving any space to be exploited. Did find some openings, though, and worked hard off the ball. Played a joint-game high 5 key passes and it looks like he is slowly getting back to his best.
Mohamed Salah: 8/10
Mohamed Salah goes level with Harry Kane on 22 Premier League goals this season.
The Golden Boot race is too close to call. 👀 pic.twitter.com/CufgNSQ9k0
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) May 16, 2021
With Harry Kane taking sole lead in the Golden Boot race earlier in the day, it was up to Salah to hit back and make his mark. The Egyptian ran his socks off and tried to engineer openings on his own before eventually scoring the equaliser or Liverpool with a superb first-time shot, which gets him level with Kane on 22 goals. Should have been rewarded with a couple of assists for his efforts, but his teammates did not finish off his chances.
Roberto Firmino: 6/10
Coming off the back of a stellar display against Manchester United, Firmino, who donned the captain’s armband for Liverpool, was typically a bundle of energy, but was not always successful in pulling a West Brom defender out of position. Should have scored shortly after Salah’s equaliser but only struck the woodwork. More of the same in the second half, in what was eventually a frustrating evening.
Sadio Mane: 6/10
Back in the side in place of the injured Diogo Jota, Mane was purposeful in his display but equally wasteful with the ball at his feet. The Senegalese forward, though, did well to win the ball high up the pitch before Salah made it 1-1. His own output inside the box, though, could have been better and he is in desperate need to get it back together.
Xherdan Shaqiri: 6/10
On for Jones as Klopp looked to throw bodies into the final third, Shaqiri worked hard and looked to make things happen. Created a couple of half chances and completed 94 percent of his passes. Did his best, even if he did not contribute to the winner directly.
Georginio Wijnaldum: N/A
On for Rhys Williams, Wijnaldum did not get many touches on the ball, but should have applied the finishing touches to a pass by Salah.