Liverpool 1 - West Bromwich Albion 1

Date: Sunday 27th December 2020 Live on Sky SportsBehind Closed Doors
Competition: Premier League
Liverpool:
6.1
WBA:
7.6
Johnstone 8.2, Furlong 7.9, Ajayi 8.3, O'Shea 8.2, Gibbs 7.0, Robinson 6.7 (Pereira, 73 6.7), Phillips 6.7, Sawyers 6.6, Gallagher 7.2 (Ivanovic, 91 6.2), Diangana 6.4, Grant 6.5 (Austin, 78 6.1)
Unused subs: Button, Grosicki, Harper, Krovinovic, Peltier, Kipré
Manager: Sam Allardyce 8.0
Scorers: Ajayi (82)
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) 6.6
Attendance: 2,000   Home Fans 3.6
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 22

Brendan Clegg:

A surprising bonus point here and a proper Big Sam performance.

I was surprised Pereira didn’t get the nod but otherwise the team was understandable.

For the majority of the first half it was as bad as anything we’ve ever seen. A 6-4-0 formation but not defending all that well. A soft goal conceded from nothing and we could’ve been 2 or 3 down but for Liverpool fluffing lines.

That said it somehow stayed at 1 goal and there were slight glimpses of hope at the end of the half as we managed to get in their box but Phillips inexplicably crossed to nobody instead of having a pop.

Lesson we have to learn, Diagana being the worst, is that the greatest sin in this league is not getting a shot or cross off in the final 3rd at the end of a move. There has to be something even if it results in a throw in or corner.

After the break we were a bit better and showed a touch more ambition but really it was Matip’s injury that left a very weak Liverpool defence for us to exploit - first Grant should have done much better when found in the box, chesting and shooting when they lay-on for Robinson was there, and then tamely shooting straight at the keeper when through one on one.

When Austin made an entrance I thought we were done but a worked corner, a devilish Pereira cross and that aforementioned weakness in the Liverpool back line allowed Semi to thump a header in.

We clung on thanks to the best save Sam Johnstone has ever made, flicking a wrist at full stretch to deny a point blank header. There was no luck in it and it looked even better in the replays.

Overall I don’t think the players could be knocked - especially the ones who struggled the most playing in a style and system completely alien to them. God knows how they’re supposed to recover from that and go against Leeds, probably the only team in the league who outrun Liverpool and engineer overloads everywhere.

Allardyce was clearly delighted and smug - and good luck to him. It is difficult to see how this style is compatible with the exciting talent we recruited permanently in Pereira, Diangana, Robinson and Grant. Something will have to give there.

  • SJ - 7 Not loads to do but an unbelievable save to earn us a point.
  • Furlong - 6 Stuck at it.
  • Ajayi - 7 Totally asleep for the goal and wobbled afterwards but grew into it.
  • O’Shea - 7 Played like the captain. So much grit and spirit. Will benefit massively from Allardyce if he keeps playing.
  • Gibbs - 6 Can often look so assured against the big teams. Clearly managing his fitness by not bursting forward much.
  • Robinson - 7 I thought he was our most composed player in their half and put a shift in. Finds pockets so well, if he had genuine pace he’d be some player. Again I wouldn’t have subbed him.
  • Phillips - 6 Battled away and I think his strength has been underused but a surprise captain given his fragile belief.
  • Sawyers - 5 I thought he had a terrible first half but he kept at it and, as at City, he got the measure a bit more as it went on and his reward was earning a point at Anfield. A massive achievement, can’t imagine he’ll be playing much by the end of the window.
  • Gallagher - 6 Got through the work and showed steel when needed.
  • Diangana - 4 Amazed he stayed on. Defensively really stuck at his job but offered nothing going forward and isn’t a player you can nail it at from 40 yards and expect him to do much with.
  • Grant - 6 Showed a bit more promise but had to do better when played through. Expect he might find himself out wide soon.
  • Pereira - 6 Worked well and brilliant assist.
  • Austin - 4 He’s miles off it and weakens us every time he comes on. The legs have gone. It’s not suddenly going to fix itself, play literally anyone else.

Baggyjon:

I have long enjoyed the reports and comments of Brendan. They have always been concise, truthful and sometimes thought provoking. I think, however, he has been a little harsh on aspects of the teams performance against Liverpool.

To say that the first half performance was as bad as ever is to forget the shambles of second halves against Villa and Palace. There have been many worst ever performances in my experience - Woking and the final against QPR to name but two.

Sam did exactly what was on the tin. Frustrated Klopp to the point of getting a yellow card. If the World and European champions could only muster 2 shots against a team that has conceded 30 goals then we must doing something right.

Points against Liverpool and Man City will not guarantee safety and that will only come with victories over Fulham, Burnley, Brighton etc.

BUT YOU HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE. It is not pretty to watch but yesterdays point gave us headline news in most of the papers and first slot on Match of the Day. This will not happen if we return to the Championship. Hopefully Sam can organise the team with a solid base first to catch those those teams around us and then move on.

I think it was in 1960/61 Albion lost 8 of the first 9 games and still finished 10th. Mind you we did have Derek Kevan. The next two games against Leeds and Arsenal will probably define the rest of the season. 4 points would be a massive boost and a springboard to survival.

If Sam pulls it off it would certainly eclipse the Great Escape. Live in hope.