Liverpool 2-3 West Brom: VAR the star as Reds exit FA Cup
West Bromwich Albion recorded a shock win at Anfield, beating Liverpool 3-2 to march into the fifth round of the FA Cup at the Reds’ expense.
A mad opening ten minutes saw three goals before VAR took over, two huge decisions that both went for Liverpool, although the Reds couldn’t use it to their advantage.
West Brom would eventually extend their lead to 3-1, Mohamed Salah’s second-half goal just a consolation as Liverpool were beaten.
It all looked set to be a good night of football for Liverpool, Klopp picking a strong team with Alberto Moreno back from injury, Trent Alexander-Arnold given an opportunity at right-back and number two ‘keeper Simon Mignolet in goal.
An early goal only added to the confidence and positivity, Roberto Firmino notching once more as he latched onto a saved Salah shot, dinking the ball supremely over Foster to give the hosts an early lead, a lead that would last just 68 seconds.
West Brom would level almost instantly through Jay Rodriguez, taking advantage of some poor play by Wijnaldum in midfield to burst away and smash the ball past a helpless Mignolet.
Rodriguez couldn’t believe his luck. Liverpool’s defence came apart at the seams as they conceded a second straight after Krychowiak powered past Emre Can before sending the ball out to the left, Rodriguez latching onto the low cross with a smart finish.
It looked to have been 3-1 as Craig Dawson nodded in a corner, VAR ruling the goal out as Gareth Barry was flagged offside.
That was only the start of the video technology drama as Liverpool were awarded a penalty soon after. Salah appealed as he was tugged down by Jake Livermore in the area and referee Craig Pawson would eventually point to the spot after an age of deliberation.
In true comical fashion, Liverpool would then miss the dramatic penalty, Firmino unable to get his second as he saw the ball come back off the bar.
If that hadn’t taken the wind out of Liverpool’s sails, West Brom’s third certainly did on the stroke of half-time. Poorer defending from a set-piece allowed Krychowiak to pick the ball up beyond the defence in the second phase of play, sending it towards the corner where Joel Matip was unable to clear, slicing the ball into his own net.
The second-half was much calmer in terms of action. West Brom dominated possession for a little while as Mignolet was nearly beaten by substitute Matt Phillips before Pardew’s men reverted to their bus-like formation and asked Liverpool if they fancied breaking them down.
The Reds clawed one back as Firmino set up Salah in the box, the Egyptian picking up his 25th of the season by placing the ball into the bottom right-hand corner, but it wasn’t enough.
Henderson, Ings and Milner were fairly uninspiring substitutes but were the best Klopp had at his disposal and seemed to improve the performance. Ings felt he could have picked up a penalty after clashing with Foster in the box.
It was Foster’s day though, and West Brom’s, as the goalkeeper, clung on to a stoppage-time header from Van Dijk to seal a prized win for the Baggies.