Alisson scores extraordinary winner to keep Liverpool top four hopes alive

Date published: Sunday 16th May 2021 6:31 - Samuel Bannister

Roberto Firmino and Alisson Becker of Liverpool

Goalkeeper Alisson Becker scored a last-minute winner to keep Liverpool’s top-four hopes on track with a 2-1 win over West Brom.

Jurgen Klopp’s side fell behind in the first half as Hal Robson-Kanu made the most of a rare start for West Brom. But Mohamed Salah levelled things up just after the half-hour mark. Both sides had goals disallowed for offside in the second half, but the winner came late on – from the most unlikely of sources.

Liverpool were dealt a blow before the game, with Diogo Jota ruled out for the remaining matches of the season. Sadio Mane regained his place in attack as a result.

West Brom, meanwhile, gave a first Premier League start since 2017 to Robson-Kanu.

Set pieces provided both teams with their best chances early on. For example, Semi Ajayi headed wide after a West Brom free kick, but was offside anyway.

The Baggies didn’t have to wait too much longer to take the lead, though – and it was Robson-Kanu who made the difference.

The Wales international got in behind the defence and placed it into the far corner with a brilliant left-footed finish.

A chance came for Liverpool to hit back when Thiago Alcantara squared it for Mane in the box. However, he aimed off target.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was next to try his luck from a free kick, but his effort was deflected over.

The right-back then created a chance for Mohamed Salah, but his shot from wide went into Sam Johnstone’s grasp.

Salah had no problem with his next chance though and found the equaliser. Mane won the ball on the edge of the West Brom box and Salah hit it first time, curling it into the far corner.

Roberto Firmino, captain for the day, wanted to get in on the act next. He had a go first time from the edge of the box but hit the bar.

At the other end, Robson-Kanu broke in again but Alexander-Arnold made up the ground to block as he was about to shoot.

It allowed Liverpool to focus on attacking again and Mane had an attempt diverted over the bar by Kyle Bartley.

The last chance of the half went to West Brom’s Matheus Pereira, who struck a free kick over the frame of Alisson’s goal.

Disallowed goals for both teams

Liverpool had the ball in the back of the net early in the second half, when Mane got on the end of a low cross from Salah. However, he was offside, so the goal didn’t count.

Salah raced through on a breakaway a few minutes later, but was once again forced wide. It made for a simple save for Johnstone.

The visitors kept probing, though, even if they weren’t testing Johnstone as much as they would have liked.

It was West Brom who had the ball in the net next, though. But just like Liverpool earlier in the half, they were denied due to an offside decision.

Bartley ran on to an Ajayi header after a corner and tapped it in, and although he was onside, one of his teammates was blocking Alisson’s view from an irregular position. Therefore, the goal was ruled out.

Liverpool took it as a wake-up call and Firmino let his frustrations out with a left-footed strike that went wide.

Ajayi then had to be alert to put behind a cross from Andy Robertson before it fell to an attacker.

The Reds also had to be alert, with Robson-Kanu getting in behind yet again. This time, Alisson put him off.

Alexander-Arnold had Liverpool’s next big chance, cutting in from the right wing. However, he skied his left-footed shot over the bar.

Johnstone parried away a Thiago attempt as Liverpool kept pushing, but it looked like the hosts would hold on.

Substitute Georginio Wijnaldum also tried to curl one in from the edge of the box, but it went wide to deny him what could have been a parting gift.

As the game entered stoppage time, Thiago had a shot blocked in a goalmouth scramble.

But instead of an outfield player, it would be the keeper who got the winner. Alisson came up for a corner and astonishingly, it was he who headed it in.

The keeper was in tears at the full-time whistle after his unbelievable impact.

The win moves Liverpool one point behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who play another top-four rival next, Leicester.

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