Liverpool frustrated as late sucker punch completes Allardyce masterclass

Date published: Sunday 27th December 2020 6:21

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Liverpool were made to settle for a point with West Brom after the visitors produced a prototypical Sam Allardyce performance.

The Reds asserted their dominance from the first whistle, immediately posing a threat through Andy Robertson down the left flank.

After a few near misses, the deadlock was broken through the unusual creative outlet of Joel Matip.

A clipped straight through ball picked out Sadio Mane, with the Senegalese forward cushioning the ball down with his chest.

A first-time volley on the stretch flew into the bottom corner to leave the visitors with an even greater mountain to climb.

If West Brom were hoping for a reprieve after conceding, they were in for a shock as Liverpool kept up their relentless pressure.

The possession split read 80/20 as the half-hour mark approached, but West Brom defended manfully as they fought to remain in the contest. Despite the hosts’ dominance on the ball, clear-cut chances were proving exceedingly difficult to craft.

A Trent Alexander-Arnold free-kick flew aimlessly wide, while Mohamed Salah’s radar was off as he blazed over from just inside the area.

West Brom emerged with a greater sense of attacking purpose after the interval, and their hopes of regaining parity were handeda boost when Joel Matip succumbed to yet another injury.

The Cameroon centre-half left the field suffering with what appeared to be a groin injury. Rhys Williams was called upon from the bench to deputise.

The youngster bedded in well, however, and after a brief foray into the Liverpool half, Jurgen Klopp’s side continued their encampment on the edge of the West Brom box.

A sucker punch was almost delivered after Karlan Grant was set free, but Alisson was up to the task to deny the forward with his legs in a one-on-one situation.

As Liverpool looked to launch another attack, Curtis Jones’ wayward pass gifted West Brom a corner.

The ball was eventually whipped in after being played short, with Semi Ajayi rising highest to head home via the post to level the scores.

Liverpool upped their tempo as they went in search of the winner, and just as it appeared close, Sam Johnstone pulled off a world-class save to deny Roberto Firmino’s headed effort.

That action would prove to be the game’s defining moment as both sides were made to settle for a 1-1 draw.

 

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