WEST BROM 1-1 LIVERPOOL
Liverpool’s last fixture of the 2015-2016 Premier League season has ended in a draw. Anfield saw it’s last game against Chelsea and our 38th fixture to be played was a visit to West Brom’s ground for finishing up before we head off to the Europa League Final.
The team our manager would pick for the starting lineup was one quite full of players that didn’t need to be rested for the Europa League Final.
Lucas Leiva would be our captain for the fixture.
Adam Bogdan would be the goalkeeper (and not just sitting on the substitute bench for 90 minutes) for the first time in many months, though he hasn’t replaced Danny Ward as “second choice” goalkeeper, Ward is simply injured. When he gets back to full fitness again (he’s reported to be fit by the Euro 2016 tournament starting in summer), Ward will still be the second choice goalkeeper behind Simon Mignolet. Seeing as Ward’s not fit enough to play right now and Mignolet will definitely be the starting goalkeeper for the Europa League Final, Bogdan got his chance to show what he could do.
It took West Brom only 13 minutes to score a goal for their home fans.
Liverpool had been dominating possession, but it wasn’t resulting in taking their lead. It would be West Brom who took a lead as Jonathan Leko gave Salomon Rondon the ball inside of the penalty area, he makes a little space to shoot, puts the ball past Brad Smith and under Adam Bogdan, who came out to claim the ball but didn’t think to cover his lower left side, which is where Rondon slipped the ball through and into the net, making it West Brom 1-0 Liverpool.
Liverpool have conceded goals before, that’s nothing new. We don’t give up when this happens and we did not change tactics, we just kept attacking as we were before. Christian Benteke came close as he took a chance to score but missed as he shot past the post.
Cameron Brannagan also would have a chance to score and forced the West Brom goalkeeper to make a save. A reply of a goal by Liverpool was to be seen in the first half, though.
In the 21st minute, Jordon Ibe had received the ball on the right wing, not too far from the halfway line. He would then run at pace, towards the West Brom penalty area. He’d look up, assess the defense in front of him and run a little further with the ball until he reached around the penalty spot area, where he had enough space to strike a powerful shot. It went through the gap in the back line of defenders and past the goalkeeper, into the bottom corner of the net.
West Brom 1-1 Liverpool.
So, both teams were scoring within the first 45 minutes and the game was still tied at half time. The manager would not make any changes to the lineup during the break and both teams came back out to keep doing what they were doing already. Neither would score again though there was plenty of attacking still to see in the second half.
Early on in the 2nd half, Salomon Rondon tested (and beat) our goalkeeper yet again, though the ball hit the crossbar, his shot not resulting in a goal for him this time. Adam Bogdan was not impressing the travelling Liverpool fans with his failure to save yet another shot from the West Brom star striker, even if they didn’t get to score this time.
Sheyi Ojo spent a lot of time battling in the midfield for the ball, shooting from range and occasionally assisting his teammates, which it would be nice to see him focus on a little more.
Danny Ings would make an appearance for Liverpool, replacing Jordon Ibe. Due to serious injury he has not been seen since October (just before our new manager was appointed) and so, he would make his very first appearance under the management of Jürgen Klopp. He didn’t score, but he did not disappoint. I think the manager could have a few new ideas on how to use him in the squad after seeing his performance against West Brom. He almost certainly hasn’t done enough to warrant putting him into the Europa League Final squad (he’d definitely have to have scored at least 1 goal against West Brom for that to be possible) but he may just have earned the right to be a “star substitute” regularly coming off the bench for Premier League or (League and FA) Cup games in the next season, which is better than nothing.
Jordan Henderson would also be amongst the “returning to duty after injury” players in the Liverpool lineup now. Joe Allen came off, Hendo came on. Henderson did well and had a penalty appeal turned down at one point, if he’d have won it and scored it to make Liverpool’s final score 1-2 and gotten three points for us, that would have made his comeback a little brighter. As such, he returned only to the draw. It may be enough and he’d already done plenty this season for Liverpool before being sidelined as he recovered to full fitness. Henderson was a regular captain up until his injury and may have already earned himself a place in the Europa League Final squad from previous performances as the leader of our team. The fans would not deny he’s earned that honour but will the manager use him at all, after having organised a full (and often victorious) team without him many times in his absence?
Man of The Match?
Jordon Ibe was a dangerous attacker, running about with the ball all over the West Brom penalty area. His goal was just what we needed after our opponents had already taken a lead and he saw to it that we wouldn’t be leaving the fixture without any points at all on the last day of the Premier League season. It’s surprising to learn that this is only his first Premier League goal (he’s scored in cup games before though) and I’m delighted he could achieve that before the season ended. Hopefully he can provide more than one next season as he continues to grow and achieve success with Liverpool in the future. He’s still young but already a highly valued player at the club.
Liverpool would just make the best of what they could get from the last Premier League fixture of the season and the “game before the Europa League Final” – which wasn’t lost. We claimed 8th place in the final Premier League table standings and “Still unbeaten” is the way it will be for Liverpool as they head into what is likely the most important fixture of the entire season, with a trophy and qualification for the Champions League at stake for the winner.
So until the Europa League Final, 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 (more than 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.