On the back of a shock defeat to Newcastle during the last Premier League weekend, Klopp’s men played host to West Bromwich Albion, who in recent scraps were able to claim a win against Arsenal & a draw against Tottenham. Liverpool, who had been in fine scoring form, were unable to convert chances at St. James Park and were looking to redeem themselves in front of their own fans today. Liverpool were also hit by the news that Daniel Sturridge, who had just made a recovery from his injuries, was yet again out with a slight knock.
The match finished Liverpool 2 – 2 West Brom, thanks to goals scored by Henderson and Origi for Liverpool, and Dawson and Olsson for West Brom.
Here are the main talking points from the match.
1. The disallowed goal for West Brom at half-time
At the stroke of half time, following a free-kick into the box from Gardner, the ball was just headed into the back of the net by Olsson. The celebrations for the Baggies were short lived, as after consulting with his assistant, the goal was ruled as offside. The decision did not sit down well with the Baggies who then surrounded the officials.
Yet, replays showed that the West Brom defenders who had moved forward for the set-piece were marginally offside when the ball was delivered. The disallowance of the goal meant that the match was again open going into the second half, leading to an even more entertaining & thrilling second half.
Mignolet has always been giving a mixed set of performances between the sticks since the start of his Liverpool career. There are times when he makes every correct decision, and there are times when there are major errors committed on his part. In today’s match, he again showed his uneasiness while coming forward during corners and free-kicks. When the balls were being pushed forward by West Brom, even with the Liverpool defenders and midfielders back-tracking, he would often leave the box to see it out to the panic of most Liverpool fans.
He nearly got caught out by the West Brom forwards twice, and other times the high press by West Brom forced Liverpool to play it back to him in somewhat dangerous situations. Overall, it was not an impressive goalkeeping display by the Belgian, especially since he horribly mistimed the punch at the 30th minute, allowing it to fall at Dawson’s feet, who then proceeded to score WBA’s first goal.
Liverpool created more than 20 chances in the game, while West Brom had only a handful of chances. Yet the Red’s were almost on the losing end. The finishing by the team was just not up to scratch, with Benteke missing some pretty good chances & misfiring in front of goal. Coutinho and Henderson hit the ball straight at the keeper, with little or no power that barely managed to bother the keeper. Lallana, too, missed a sitter of a goal when he finished right into the hands of the keeper, even after getting lots of time on the ball.
Credit also needs to be given to the West Brom defence, which was able to close down and put pressure on Liverpool, forcing them to play the ball early sometimes. Whatever be the case, for more than 20 chances, scoring one & barely scoring the other through a deflection is a poor return.
At the 74th minute, Lovern suffered a nasty high-speed tackle from Craig Gardner. His knee took the full blow of the impact and from the scream of agony, it seemed like a very painful affair. His knee was bleeding and until scans are done, the full extent of the injury will not be known.
With Sakho also out (but with chances of returning next week), another headache Liverpool did not need was to have one more of their centre backs out for the busy festive period. While Kolo Toure is still there, he has not played for a long time and may not be the best option as of now. Hopefully, it’s not going to be a long term injury.
When he was purchased at the start of the 2014/15 season, Origi had impressed with Lille in Ligue 1 and the Belgian team at the 2014 World Cup. Yet, when he finally arrived at Merseyside, he was far from what his potential talent and pace was perceived to be, as he struggled to adjust to life in the Premier League.
He was mostly kept out of the squad, remaining on the bench for most games. Under Klopp, the youngster has got a bit of a resurgence, with him finally netting a hat trick in the League Cup. Today, he came on for Lovren after the Liverpool defender had been stretchered off. It was a move that paid off, as Origi pounced on a chance to slip in a deflected equalizer for Liverpool and thus prevent back-to-back Premier League defeats for Klopp, thereby salvaging a point.
His efforts also sparked a more organized & passionate Liverpool counter-attack to try and close in for a last-minute win. He is still far from finished, but his confidence will no doubt be boosted with this important goal.
Jurgen Klopp has shown what he can do at the club level with Borussia Dortmund. Today, bringing on Origi for Lovren was yet another tactical masterclass since the youngster went on to score the equalizer for the German manager, thus preventing back-to-back defeats for Liverpool.
More than that, Klopp’s fervent gestures at injury time made the fans at Anfield the loudest they’ve been for years. The passion was visible for all to see. Leading all the players to thank the fans after the game was yet another amazing gesture by the gaffer. It’s obvious that the club has received a gem of a manager who’s here to stay & make a mark in the Premier League.