That was frustrating. Liverpool absolutely dominated the first half, playing entirely in the West Brom half. Despite that, Liverpool only managed to get one shot on goal, a sumptuous take by Sadio Mane that nestled into the net. The second half was a much more open affair, with West Brom finally coming out of their shell to chase the game, with the Baggies ending up getting the better of the chances. Unfortunately, an unforced error led to a corner for West Brom, and they got a fortuitous bounce off the post and into the net for the equalizer.
Join us as we try and separate narrative from reality of the match up and how it all went down in the end.
The Senegalese striker was a scintillating force the entire first half. His darting runs into the box caused a lot of problems for the West Brom defense, and he got his goal just 12 minutes into the game. He made an intelligent run to split the center backs (with great runs from Georgino Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino as well), took a ball down off his chest with perfect control before sliding his shot past the hapless keeper. Mane is now on 69 goals (nice) for his Liverpool career, tying him for 5th on the club’s Premier League list.
Sadio Mane's 69th Premier League goal for Liverpool moves him up on the club's all-time scoring charts pic.twitter.com/TrzUHN4yBi— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 27, 2020
Yet again, Robertson was flying up and down the left flank, providing a variety of delicious crosses that flashed across the face of goal. Robbo’s consistency this season has been a god send after the rest of the defense has been in flux.
Before kickoff, it was announced the Naby Keita was out with yet another “fitness issue”, presumably another soft tissue injury. And then, in the second half, Joel Matip went down holding his groin after a rather innocuous sequence. He was subbed off and immediately went down the tunnel. These two players, when fit, have been very good. The problem is they have not seemed to be able to stay fit for more than a few games at a time.
Look, the guy leads the league with 13 goals this season. It’s hard to argue with that. But outside of scoring a couple bangers after coming on against Crystal Palace when up 5-0, Salah has just not looked up to his admittedly high standard for a little while now. He was again frustrated today, dropping deep and wide to get on the ball against a packed in West Brom defense. He struggled to beat defenders on the dribble for most of the game, and didn’t manage to get any of his 3 shots on target.
In the US (and probably elsewhere), the broadcast would not stop mentioning Sam Allardyce and his ability to keep teams from getting relegated. Read, keep everyone behind the ball and hope for a set piece goal. Well, the narrative gods came through for Big Sam. Despite the early goal, Liverpool only manage three shots on target all game, getting blocked out by the mass of bodies in and around the box. The late goal was a gut punch after leading for so long, and controlling much of the game.
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From the Manager
“We played around, crossed the ball and instead of moving we didn’t switch. It is not a game we will talk about in 20 years but it is a game we have to play and we didn’t play as we could.”
What Happens Next
Like everyone else in the Premier League, Liverpool have a quick turnaround during the festive fixtures. They will head to Newcastle on Wednesday, still atop the Premier League table no matter what happens in the interim.