Defending English Champions Liverpool Fc dropped crucial points as they were held to a 1-1 draw by the visitors West Bromwich Albion Fc in the Premier League.
Prior to the Match, Jürgen Klopp made just 2 changes to the squad that hammered the hosts Crystal Palace Fc last week.
Curtis Jones replaced Naby Keïta as the Guinean was ruled out of the Match due to an unspecified fitness issue.
Mohamed Salah returned to the starting line up in place of Takumi Minamino.
After recovering from their respective injuries, James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri were named among the substitutes.
As expected, West Bromwich Albion Fc (The Baggies) under Sam Allardyce tried to be on the front foot but instantly had all their men behind as soon Liverpool Fc (The Reds) got the ball.
With the visitors defending deep, the Reds dominated the First Half with vast possession and shots. Georginio Wijnaldum shot the ball high after an assist from Andrew Robertson in the 7th minute.
Sadio Mané broke the deadlock in the 12th minute as the Sengalese slotted the ball past Sam Johnstone following a through ball from Joël Matip.
Mané threatened to score again in the 21st minute as his header narrowly missed the post after a cross from Jordan Henderson.
Defending deep, the Visitors had a rare chance as Romaine Sawyers had his shot blocked from outside the box in the 32nd minute.
The Reds had to dig deep in search of Goals and were left frustrated by the stubborn defending of the Baggies. Mohamed Salah fired his shot high following a free kick from Robertson in the 34th minute.
With the Match finely poised, the First Half ended 1-0. The Visitors started the Second Half more positively as Karlan Grant shot the ball straight to Alisson Becker in the 51st minute.
After what seemed like an adductor issue, Matip was substituted in the 59th minute and Rhys Williams was brought on.
There were plenty of warning signs from the Visitors. Grant was hauled down by Williams and Klopp was shown the yellow card by Referee Kevin Friend for venting out his frustrations.
Salah had the chance to extend the lead for the Reds but headed his shot too high following a cross from Wijnaldum in the 65th minute.
The Baggies came close to equalising but Grady Diangana dragged his volley wide in the 68th minute.
Alisson came to the Reds rescue after Karlan Grant outpaced Rhys Williams in the 72nd minute and the Brazilian denied Grant with a brilliant save with his foot.
Klopp’s slowness to react and replace the weak link was exposed in the Second Half.
Curtis Jones performance in the First Half was more circumspect and his performance deteriorated during the Second Half thereby putting pressure in the Midfield particularly.
Sensing the opportunity and capitalising on Klopp’s slowness to make the necessary changes; the Visitors equalised thanks to a Goal from Semi Ajayi from a Corner Kick in the 82nd minute.
An error to clear the ball by Curtis Jones led to Rhys Williams unnecessary clearance of the ball that eventually led to the equalising Goal.
Immediately after replacing Curtis Jones in the 83rd minute, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had his shot blocked following an assist from Roberto Firmino in the 86th minute.
The Reds came close to scoring the winning Goal but Firmino’s header was stopped by Sam Johnstone following a cross from Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Firmino made way for Divock Origi in 90th minute with the match hanging in the balance.
Unable to find a winner, the Match ended at 1-1 as the Reds dropped valuable points.
Reds Team Performance Ratings
Liverpool (4-3-3 Formation)
Alisson Becker – 7: Alert when needed especially by making crucial saves but could not do anything with the equalising Goal.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6: Bright during the First Half providing good crosses but struggled during the Second Half as the Baggies were defending deep in numbers.
Joël Matip – 7: Before another untimely injury, provided the opening Goal and defended well.
Fabinho – 6: Solid defending and needed to be alert during the Second Half as the Baggies pressed for the equaliser and got beaten in the air by Ajayi to equalise.
Andrew Robertson – 7: Constant threat moving forward but unfortunately the forwards were not alert enough to pick out his deliveries.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 6: Kept the Reds attack on the front foot during the First Half but took the foot off the gas during the Second Half.
Jordan Henderson – 7: Mopped up for the defence when required and helped the Reds to press forward.
Curtis Jones – 4: Circumspect during the First Half and his error eventually led to the equalising Goal.
Sadio Mané – 7: Scored the opening Goal for the side and looked dangerous drifting to the centre or left side of the field but unable take the opportunities from the crosses.
Roberto Firmino – 6: Dropped deep, found some pockets of spaces and pressed hard when required but unable to make a major impact.
Mohamed Salah – 6: Relatively quiet day for the Egyptian’s lofty standards. Had few chances but unfortunately could not convert.
Rhys Williams – 5: Replaced the injured Matip during the Second Half and looked unsettled. The youngster conceded the needless corner kick that eventually resulted in the equaliser and prior to that, he was outpaced by Karlan Grant.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – N/A: Almost made an instant impact immediately after replacing ineffective Curtis Jones and could have had an assist to his name if Firmino’s header was not stopped by Sam Johnstone.
Divock Origi – N/A: Not enough time to make an impact.
Jürgen Klopp – 6: Valuable points have been lost! The Second Half of the Game somewhat resembles to the shock home loss to Atalanta BC but fortunately for this game, the Reds were held to a draw.
Klopp like the Atalanta BC game was too slow to make the necessary changes. The German Coach waited longer rather than make the necessary changes in the Atalanta BC game as the Visitors struck twice during the Second Half.
Oxlade-Chamberlain or even perhaps Takumi Minamino could have brought on much earlier in place of the struggling Curtis Jones. Under utilising Minamino is such a waste of talent!
One thing is sure, the Reds never would have won any of their trophies under Klopp had he kept using youngsters like Curtis Jones, Rhys Williams, Neco Williams and others.
The Reds seriously needs to consider bringing either David Alaba or Dayot Upamecano as fragile Matip cannot be entrusted on the long run.
#LiverpoolFc #WestBromwichAlbionFc #PremierLeague