Player ratings as Big Sam’s Baggies stuns the Reds
Sam Allardyce’s West Brom shocked Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday night, as Semi Ajayi secured a hard-earned point with their very first Premier League goal.
The word domination sums up the first half quite well. Liverpool came in at half-time with 82% possession, with the ball very rarely leaving West Brom’s half of the field. The visitors clearly entered the tie with a park-the-bus mentality from the start, and coped very well.
Only Sadio Mane’s 12th-minute effort overtook the Baggies’ 11-man defense, despite the Reds having 10 attempts and a host of chances in the first 45. But the action in the first half didn’t did not provide good omens for the Big Sam team.
The second half was a whole different story, however, as the hosts seemed surprised at what looked like a more energetic West Brom team. Allardyce’s men had the best chances throughout the second period and might have thought it wasn’t their day as Karlan Grant lost a head to head, as Alisson made a life saving save.
The Baggies kept pushing, however, and eventually found an equalizer with their third effort on target, as Semi Ajayi jumped up to convert a corner from Matheus Pereira. The excitement was not over as Roberto Firmino saw his header brilliantly saved by Sam Johnstone two minutes from time as the goalkeeper sealed a point for the 19th-ranked team.
Allardyce is now the last coach to draw and win at Anfield in the Premier League.
Okay, let’s move on to the odds.
Alisson (GK) – 6/10 – The Brazilian had very little to do overall and made a great save to turn Grant down. He was, however, unable to keep Ajayi’s head.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) – 6/10 – The full-back was unlucky not to have an assist as he delivered five quality crosses into the box in the second half.
Joël Matip (CB) – 8/10 – Assisted Mane in the first half with a well-placed pass, and defended perfectly when called upon, making three tackles and three clearances before being forced to injure himself and it all went wrong…
Fabinho (CB) – 6/10 – Was solid overall, but will have been frustrated as he was beaten on the ball by Ajayi for West Brom’s goal.
Andy Robertson (LB) – 7/10 – It was a constant threat on the left, and if it had been for better anticipation of Liverpool forwards he would have had a few assists to his name as he delivered 12 crosses during the game.
Georginio Wijnaldum (CM) – 6/10 – The Dutchman didn’t have much of an impact on the procedure but was quite solid in the middle of the park without creating much.
Jordan Henderson (CM) – 7/10 – The Liverpool captain led the show in the first half and was calm and composed when he needed to be in the second, making 141 assists in the game, but could not inspire his side to victory.
Curtis Jones (CM) – 7/10 – Looked shiny as usual, covering a lot of ground and benefitting from a few shiny accents. The midfielder left the field after completing three dribbles and achieving 95% passing accuracy.
Mohamed Salah (RW) – 5/10 – Failed to enter the game as much as usual and missed a free header six yards in 65 minutes that would have sealed the game.
Roberto Firmino (ST) – 6/10 – The Brazilian teamed up well with his teammates and wasn’t fortunate enough not to score three points as Johnstone saved his last effort in the 89th minute.
Sadio Mane (LW) – 7/10 – Completed wonderfully in the early stages to put Liverpool 1-0 and proved a threat throughout, testing the keeper three times himself.
Rhys Williams (CB) – 5/10
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (CM) – N / A
Divock Origi (ST) – N / A
Sam Johnstone (GK) – 7/10 – The goalie looked comfortable every time a cross came in and saved West Brom to death, stopping Firmino’s header.
Darnell Furlong (RB) – 8/10 – The full-back faced Robertson and Mane well throughout the game and won possession four times in the 90s.
Semi Ajayi (CB) – 7/10 – Turned off as Mane moved away from him for the opening goal and occasionally looked out of depth against Liverpool’s top three in the first half. However, the center-back responded beautifully after the break and secured a memorable Premier League debut goal to equalize.
Dara O’Shea (CB) – 7/10 – He looked calm when threatened by the Liverpool attack and was important as he made nine clearances.
Kieran Gibbs (LB) – 7/10 – Solid against an unusually calm Salah and helped stem the onslaught of Alexander-Arnold.
Callum Robinson (RM) – 6/10 – He looked brighter after the break because he had more freedom. However, he couldn’t find a final product in the future, ending his time in the field with 50% pass accuracy.
Matt Phillips (CM) – 5/10 – Didn’t provide much action and looked muffled from playing center. Only touched the ball 39 times during the game.
Romaine Sawyers (CM) – 7/10 – It looked a lot better in the second half and was a big part of West Brom’s rejuvenated performance after the break, making a key pass and playing two precise long balls as they progressed.
Conor Gallagher (CM) – 5/10 – The man who has scored West Brom’s only winning goal this season has had no impact at Anfield, touching the ball just 47 times in central midfield.
Grady Diangana (LM) – 6/10 – Seemed a lot more comfortable after the interval and took good positions in the final third.
Karlan Grant (ST) – 6/10 – Had no serve and lacked urgency when pressing opening 45, but looked better as his side engaged bodies forward. He missed a head-to-head with 20 minutes remaining, which could have been a game-changer.
Matheus Pereira (RM) – 6/10 – Put in a quality corner to configure the equalizer.
Charlie Austin (ST) – N / A
Branislav Ivanovic (CB) – N / A