Premier League
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Liverpool 1-1 West Bromwich Albion: Semi Ajayi scores dramatic late equaliser

By Neil JohnstonBBC Sport

Semi Ajayi scored a dramatic late equaliser against leaders Liverpool to earn struggling West Brom their first point since Sam Allardyce took charge.

Jurgen Klopp's side looked to be going five points clear at the top of the table when Sadio Mane chested down Joel Matip's long ball forward and fired past Sam Johnstone.

Liverpool dominated for long periods without adding to their lead but the Baggies improved after the break and equalised in the 83rd minute.

Ajayi leapt high above the home defence to send a header in off the post to spark jubilant celebrations from the away team at Anfield.

West Brom keeper Johnstone made a superb save to deny Roberto Firmino a winner near the end.

Reds frustrated by Baggies

There was a deep sense of frustration at full-time from Liverpool's players after they dropped league points at Anfield for the first time this season.

Klopp, who was booked during the second-half by referee Kevin Friend for protesting a decision, walked to the Kop to acknowledge the 2,000 fans allowed into the ground as the home team headed for the dressing room knowing they had let two points slip.

It has been a monumental 2020 with the Reds ending a 30-year wait for a league title, but this was not the result they wanted in their final home game of 2020.

Klopp's side dominated the first half, enjoying 84% possession, but were unable to add to a sumptuous finish by Senegal forward Mane.

West Brom deserved the point - Jurgen Klopp

Their dominance was highlighted by captain Jordan Henderson, who completed 39 more passes (85) than West Brom as a team (46) before half-time.

But the visitors were livelier after the break and, after Liverpool lost defender Joel Matip to injury, the hosts allowed West Brom a way back.

Alisson did well to keep out Karlan Grant after the forward had got the better of Rhys Williams before Ajayi's equaliser.

Johnstone's save to keep out Firmino at the end only added to Liverpool's frustration, their lead at the top now three points.

Battling West Brom show fight

It looked like it was going to be a long afternoon for West Brom when Mane struck early but the Baggies dug deep to return to the Black Country with a crucial point.

This result will give Allardyce, the last opposition manager to win a Premier League game at Anfield, with Crystal Palace in April 2017, huge encouragement as he looks to keep his new team in the Premier League.

A week after being beaten 3-0 at home by Aston Villa in his first game in charge, West Brom refused to go under against the leaders and showed the spirit and character needed in a relegation battle.

Having drawn 1-1 at Manchester City in Slaven Bilic's final game in charge, the Baggies have now taken points off last season's top two clubs.

Allardyce, whose side are still five points from safety, will need help when the transfer market opens next month.

But this result against a Liverpool side which had won the previous eight home league games will lift morale ahead of Tuesday's home game with Leeds.

'That wasn't just luck' - Allardyce praises 'superb' West Brom

'It feels like a defeat' - what they said

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: "It does feel like a defeat, but we have a point more than before so it is completely fine.

"It's our fault but they deserved the point. In the first half it looked like 90:10 possession - it's a massive challenge to stay on track and do it again but we should have done it."

West Brom boss Sam Allardyce: "We've got a point against Liverpool, which no-one outside of us in the dressing room thought we'd get.

"When the first goal went in I think a lot of people thought how many was it going to be today, particularly after they knocked seven past Palace (last weekend).

"The players were so good today in their discipline, defending as a team, and finding a way in the second half to attack Liverpool when they got the opportunity."

Liverpool fail to win for a sixth time - the stats

  • Liverpool have failed to win six of their 15 Premier League games this season, as many as they did in the entire 2019-20 season.
  • Having picked up just one point from their opening six away league games this season, West Brom have since earned two from their last two on the road away to Manchester City and Liverpool.
  • This was the first time Liverpool failed to win a Premier League home game against a side starting the day in the relegation zone - despite taking the lead - since a 2-2 draw with Slaven Bilic's West Ham in December 2016.
  • Among defenders since the start of the 2018-19 season, only Virgil van Dijk and Aaron Pierre (both nine) have scored more headed league goals in England's top four tiers than West Brom's Semi Ajayi (eight).
  • Sadio Mane scored his 69th Premier League goal for Liverpool, moving him level with Luis Suárez and behind only Robbie Fowler (128), Steven Gerrard (120), Michael Owen (118) and Mohamed Salah (86) for most goals in the competition for the Reds.

What's next?

Liverpool's festive programme continues at Newcastle on Wednesday (20:00 GMT), while West Brom host Leeds United on Tuesday (18:00 GMT).

Player of the match

JohnstoneSam Johnstone

with an average of 8.14

Liverpool

  1. Squad number10Player nameMané
    Average rating

    4.65

  2. Squad number1Player nameAlisson
    Average rating

    4.55

  3. Squad number26Player nameRobertson
    Average rating

    4.44

  4. Squad number3Player nameFabinho
    Average rating

    4.28

  5. Squad number14Player nameHenderson
    Average rating

    4.15

  6. Squad number32Player nameMatip
    Average rating

    4.14

  7. Squad number9Player nameRoberto Firmino
    Average rating

    4.07

  8. Squad number5Player nameWijnaldum
    Average rating

    3.86

  9. Squad number66Player nameAlexander-Arnold
    Average rating

    3.82

  10. Squad number11Player nameMohamed Salah
    Average rating

    3.74

  11. Squad number15Player nameOxlade-Chamberlain
    Average rating

    3.67

  12. Squad number46Player nameR Williams
    Average rating

    3.63

  13. Squad number17Player nameJones
    Average rating

    3.41

  14. Squad number27Player nameOrigi
    Average rating

    3.31

West Bromwich Albion

  1. Squad number1Player nameJohnstone
    Average rating

    8.14

  2. Squad number6Player nameAjayi
    Average rating

    7.93

  3. Squad number2Player nameFurlong
    Average rating

    7.56

  4. Squad number27Player nameO'Shea
    Average rating

    7.55

  5. Squad number18Player nameGallagher
    Average rating

    7.51

  6. Squad number11Player nameDiangana
    Average rating

    7.48

  7. Squad number12Player nameMatheus Pereira
    Average rating

    7.47

  8. Squad number7Player nameRobinson
    Average rating

    7.44

  9. Squad number3Player nameGibbs
    Average rating

    7.40

  10. Squad number10Player namePhillips
    Average rating

    7.38

  11. Squad number29Player nameGrant
    Average rating

    7.38

  12. Squad number19Player nameSawyers
    Average rating

    7.34

  13. Squad number15Player nameAustin
    Average rating

    7.24

  14. Squad number20Player nameIvanovic
    Average rating

    7.12

Line-ups

Liverpool

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Alisson
  • 66Alexander-Arnold
  • 32MatipSubstituted forR Williamsat 60'minutes
  • 3Fabinho
  • 26Robertson
  • 17JonesSubstituted forOxlade-Chamberlainat 83'minutes
  • 14Henderson
  • 5Wijnaldum
  • 11Salah
  • 9FirminoSubstituted forOrigiat 90'minutes
  • 10Mané

Substitutes

  • 7Milner
  • 15Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 18Minamino
  • 23Shaqiri
  • 27Origi
  • 46R Williams
  • 47Phillips
  • 62Kelleher
  • 76N Williams

West Brom

Formation 4-5-1

  • 1Johnstone
  • 2Furlong
  • 6Ajayi
  • 27O'SheaBooked at 56mins
  • 3Gibbs
  • 7RobinsonSubstituted forCosta Pereiraat 73'minutes
  • 10Phillips
  • 19Sawyers
  • 18GallagherSubstituted forIvanovicat 90+1'minutes
  • 11Diangana
  • 29GrantSubstituted forAustinat 78'minutes

Substitutes

  • 12Costa Pereira
  • 13Grosicki
  • 15Austin
  • 16Harper
  • 17Krovinovic
  • 20Ivanovic
  • 22Peltier
  • 24Kipré
  • 25Button
Referee:
Kevin Friend
Attendance:
2,000

Match Stats

Home TeamLiverpoolAway TeamWest Brom
Possession
Home78%
Away22%
Shots
Home17
Away5
Shots on Target
Home2
Away3
Corners
Home8
Away3
Fouls
Home8
Away5

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Liverpool 1, West Bromwich Albion 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Liverpool 1, West Bromwich Albion 1.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Grady Diangana.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Matt Phillips.

  5. Post update

    Offside, West Bromwich Albion. Grady Diangana tries a through ball, but Matheus Pereira is caught offside.

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Branislav Ivanovic replaces Conor Gallagher.

  7. Post update

    Attempt missed. Rhys Williams (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Trent Alexander-Arnold with a cross following a corner.

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Divock Origi replaces Roberto Firmino.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Sam Johnstone.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

  11. Post update

    Offside, West Bromwich Albion. Romaine Sawyers tries a through ball, but Matheus Pereira is caught offside.

  12. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Sadio Mané.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a corner.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Matheus Pereira.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Curtis Jones.

  16. Goal!

    Goal! Liverpool 1, West Bromwich Albion 1. Semi Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Matheus Pereira with a cross following a corner.

  17. Post update

    Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Rhys Williams.

  18. Post update

    Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Andrew Robertson.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Charlie Austin replaces Karlan Grant.

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

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