This was the fixture which many fans believe changed the momentum for Liverpool under Klopp last season. Liverpool ‘celebrated’ a late equaliser last time around, but today a point would not have been celebrated. It was heartening that Liverpool put in a dominant performance and deserved the full three points.
This is how the Reds fared:
Loris Karius (7.5)
Loris Karius began brightly, looking assured both with his kicking and catching. He made an excellent diagonal pass to Milner early on and always looked to get Liverpool going at the earliest. His passing became a bit awry in the latter part of the first half as he first kicked the ball into touch and then put Lovren under pressure on one occasion. Did not have much to deal with from West Brom. The second half was pretty much the same until the 80th minute as West Brom posed no threat. The ending was tense though and Karius needed to make a couple of saves. He could have reacted better to the header which he parried into touch to concede a corner from which West Brom scored.
Nathaniel Clyne (8)
Clyne had an excellent first half as he dealt the threat of Mclean excellently. His link up play to get involved in attacking situations was commendable too and he delivered a teasing ball into the box which no one got to. He was excellent in the second half too as he worked tirelessly in both attack and defence. It is quite clear to see why he has played the most minutes under Klopp.
Dejan Lovren (7.5)
West Brom had only a single plan when it came to their attack, which was to hit it long to Rondon and hope for the best, but Lovren dealt with the aerial threat commendably. He won most of the aerial duels and in company of Matip ensured there was no danger. The second half was more of a challenge as Liverpool were bombarded aerially, especially in the last quarter of the game as Lovren was up to the challenge more often than not.
Joel Matip (7)
Matip was the more ‘grounded’ of the centre-back pairing, snuffing out any duels on the grass with his intelligent positioning and interceptions. He also carried the ball to the midfield as West Brom preferred to drop off from the centre-back pair. He could have reacted better to the second ball in the box which could have prevented West Brom from scoring. Matip already seems to have settled in very well at Liverpool already. ‘Free Transfer’, say that again.
James Milner (7.5)
James Milner stayed wide to ensure Liverpool have the width to ensure the centre of the pitch does not get too congested. This opened up space for the midfield to progress into the opposition box. He was sure footed with his passing, and mixed up his play by getting to the by-line and delivering crosses, but also cut in to pass the ball into midfield. Milner delivered a delicious long pass in the second half which split open the opposition defence.
Emre Can (7.5)
Emre Can got his second successive start and his first half performance had far more impact as compared to the one against United. He was prepared to carry the ball into the attack and was involved in multiple duels with the West Brom midfield. He delivered the ‘hockey assist’ for the first goal. Whenever he made a mistake, he was the first one to put his hand up to cover up for the same. He was fearless in putting his body on the line while defending.
Jordan Henderson (6.5)
The captain was silent but effective against a West Brom side that posed very little attacking threat. His positioning and the ability to spot danger was a bit off today as he often failed to close down the man which meant that West Brom won quite a bit of scruffy midfield duels. A 5th yellow card means he misses the midweek game.
Adam Lallana (7.5)
Lallana was back in the starting line after missing the start against United. He was excellent on the ball, often allowing the ball to run across his body before controlling it. His link up play with the rest of the midfielders and attackers was excellent. Liverpool seem more harmonious when Lallana plays and its a credit to the player whom most fans thought might not survive under Klopp.
Sadio Mane (8)
It is safe to say that Mane loves Anfield, as he again scored at home after a couple of quiet performances. He was direct and was a headache for the opposition. His first touch finish to beat Foster was outstanding. His pressing and defending from the front was tireless as usual.
Roberto Firmino (8.5)
An outstanding performance from Firmino as he started up top once again. He was a constant roving presence as he interchanged positions with Mane and Coutinho very often. His assist to Mane was glorious and his tireless pressing started the sequence from which Liverpool scored the second. He worked his socks off until the end and I don’t think the manager could demand much more from him today.
Philippe Coutinho (9)
Man of the Match. Outstanding combination of skill and effort tonight from the magician. It is always tough to quantify the impact of an ‘off the ball’ contribution but his dummy for the first ball just bamboozled the West Brom defence. His goal was exquisitely taken with his usual preference of cutting in onto his right foot to shoot.
Wijnaldum came on late in the second half and had an excellent attempt at goal which just missed the post. He had couple of intelligent lay-offs which created chances for others.
Origi, Lucas (N/A)