LIVERPOOL 2-2 WEST BROM
Liverpool manage to take a single point away from their last game at Anfield before Christmas Day.
The game was more exciting than our recent visit to St James Park in Newcastle, for sure. We’d made sure not to replicate the result or performances from that game, making more effort in our attacking force. We weren’t “playing for a draw” in this game, either. This is the Premier League (not the group stage of the Europa League) and we did actually attempt to go out and win this fixture.
I was one of the many fans at Anfield for this game, sitting with thousands of other Reds in the Kop. From singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, to seeing two of our players score in front of me at our home stadium, it was a special experience.
Kick off for the game was 4PM but it’s winter time in Liverpool, England and rather dark at that time of day so the stadium had all of lights turned on. Looked very bright when you first walk in. You get used to it, though. You could always wear shades if you don’t like the brightness.
It’s a friendly atmosphere. Why people there are even at the stadium is the same reason as you… to see their favourite team (Liverpool FC) play. It’s easy enough to strike up a conversation with anyone you’re sitting near at Anfield. You can’t go wrong if you’re talking about football.
The manager had chosen to make several changes from our latest squads, though that’s unsurprising because we’ve played in different competitions, not just Premier League games. He’d take Brad Smith and Connor Randall out of the squad completely. Ibe, Allen, Origi, Lucas, Firmino and Toure would only be substitutes. Our captain is once again Jordan Henderson instead of James Milner or Lucas. Alberto Moreno would go right back into the starting 11 as would Coutinho who’s back from injury and Benteke was our main striker instead of being substitute as he was in previous recent fixtures.
Liverpool started this game just fine. We’d even score first, which would only take 20 minutes. Adam Lallana provided a headed pass for captain Jordan Henderson to strike a right footed shot from the center of the penalty area and make it Liverpool 1-0 WBA.
From here on out, things got a little worse. Liverpool looked rather shaky in defence, truth be told. We’d looked like conceding a goal of our own since we had scored and then in the 30th minute, it actually happened. Salomón Rondón took a corner and then after a series of attempted but failed clearances, Craig Dawson’s left footed shot from very close range made it’s way past Simon Mignolet and into the bottom left corner of our net. Liverpool 1-1 WBA.
The rest of the first half would be spent just trying not to concede again, mostly. We did have a few more shots by Milner, Benteke, Henderson and Coutinho but none of them were close enough to beat the keeper. West Brom also did manage to put the ball in the net again, but their effort was ruled offside after a few words between the referee and the linesman, who disallowed it just before the half time break.
Liverpool came out for the second half seemingly stronger, or perhaps just looking less likely to concede a goal than in the first half.
We’d go on the offensive, making shots by Benteke, Milner and Henderson. West Brom would have chances of their own and eventually score next. Their goals were quite scrappy. The build up to them scoring wasn’t great, it was just like 9 failed shots that got blocked and then 1 that managed to squeeze into the net. The 72nd minute would see Emre Can concede a corner. Chris Brunt would manage to find Jonas Olsson with a cross and he’d score from very close range (inside the 6 yard box) with a header. Liverpool 1-2 WBA.
The Reds fans were still giving their all, singing their hearts out and encouraging the team to keep going forward and attempting to score.
Shortly after the goal, Dejan Lovren was involved in a very serious challenge which saw him lying on the pitch bleeding and needing to be substituted. It seemed like ten minutes had passed by the time he’d been stretchered off the pitch but 8 minutes of extra time were added by the match officials for this stoppage, we’d find out later in the game.
Divock Origi would be the one who came on for the injured Dejan Lovren (we seemed to have adopted a 3-4-3 formation after taking our defender out of the team and replacing him with a striker). The extra offensive player seemed to help, Origi made a noticeable difference from the moment he came on. We looked more confident. Likely to score, which we would eventually.
Liverpool attacked again and again, using all the regular time we had left and then 5 more minutes of extra time before we’d manage to get our second goal. Adam Lallana had almost scored from close range, then was soon substituted for Roberto Firmino. He had a positive influence on the game, too. It was good to see the Brazilian play, even if it wasn’t for very long.
Anyway, shortly after substitution Rickie Lambert had made his first appearance at Anfield since leaving Liverpool and signing for West Brom, Jordan Henderson made a cross deep to the edge of the box. Divock Origi would collect it, shoot at goal and the powerfully struck ball would eventually make it’s way into the net at the Kop end, perhaps deflecting off a West Brom defender before it went in. But Origi would claim the goal as his own (not an own goal) and the score was now Liverpool 2-2 WBA in the 95th minute. Liverpool would hold on for about three more minutes and manage to take a single point from the game, when it had looked like we might lose and get no points since about the 72nd minute of the game. The game changer for me was Divock Origi. I’m naming Origi as the Man Of The Match.
Origi inspired us to get our second goal and a point from the game (rather than losing 1-2), from what I saw. The whole team seemed determined not to lose from the moment he came onto the pitch as Dejan Lovren was stretchered off.
Also inspired by our draw was the manager. Klopp applauded the crowd for their encouraging and positive atmosphere (which I am proud to say I was a part of) and at the final whistle, our manager gathered the team together to take a bow to the fans, right in front of the Kop.
Liverpool are now set to continue their season with an away game just before Christmas Day.
Walk on with hope in your hearts, Anfield Family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (about 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.