Liverpool were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw with West Brom as once again controversial decision-making from the officials was at the heart of the action. Whilst Liverpool were nowhere near good enough on the night, there was once again a feeling that the officials robbed the Reds of two points.
Things started slowly and never really picked up. There was absolutely nothing from Liverpool in the opening fifteen minutes until Mo Salah picked up the ball and played a wonderful pass to Firmino, who couldn’t squeeze it in from a narrow angle.
West Brom had scarce attacking opportunities in the first half but scared the home side when Robson-Kanu’s dipping effort from range came back off the top of the bar. This seemed to spur Liverpool on a bit, as Trent nearly picked out Salah for an open goal, Coutinho’s cross-field pass would have set Mané away but for a poor touch and Firmino and Salah had shots inside the box blocked.
But as a lacklustre half came to an end, the Baggies threatened again as the game began again, testing Karius twice in a minute from a freak free-kick from Krychowiak before Yacob headed goalwards from the resulting corner.
But from there it was all Liverpool, as they huffed and puffed but couldn’t blow the house down. Mané, Salah and Firmino all had excellent chances to score; none of them hit the target, or in Firmino’s case even get a shot off. The excellent Alexander-Arnold continued to threaten but the ball didn’t drop for the Reds. The best example of that was when Ben Foster made an absolute howler, dropping his own punch right to Gini Wijnaldum, who couldn’t get a clean connection in the six-yard box.
But as Klopp threw on Ox and Solanke to change the game, the controversy took over. The cross came in and the defender turned the ball off Solanke’s chest onto his arm from a yard out. The ball ended up in the net, but the ref belatedly ruled it as handball. It looked incredibly harsh.
There was time for Solanke to make amends, as Foster rushed out to deny Oxlade-Chamberlain and the ball dropped at his feet, but his shot was weak and cleared off the line. More frustration, to top off a night of perfect frustration for the Reds.
On the bright side, the Reds are only out of the top four on goal difference, level on points with Spurs and ahead of Arsenal. On the downside, they should be four points better off, level with Chelsea. Five draws at Anfield in the league this season, with only three goals scored in those five games, isn’t good enough.
We need a reaction against Bournemouth. Given how knackered our front four looked, I worry that we may not see it.