A late Alisson Becker winner secured Liverpool a last gasp 2-1 win against West Bromwich Albion that kept their Champions League qualification hopes alive.
Drawing 1-1 against a deep-sitting home team, the Reds won a corner in the fourth minute of the allotted extra time. Trent Alexander Arnold’s corner was then met powerfully by the head of the Brazilian and the ball surged past Sam Johnstone for a goal that could be huge in the years to come.
West Brom took an early lead through Hal Robson Kanu and the Reds — who dominated throughout — equalized through a Mohamed Salah strike from outside the box.
Liverpool started the game on the front foot and looked to attack the hosts consistently, with Thiago and Alexander Arnold pulling the strings and supplying the front three with the ball in dangerous areas.
But it was Sam Allardyce’s Baggies who took the lead when Robson Kanu was sent in behind with a long ball, a route they consistently took all afternoon against the visitors rookie defenders, Nat Phillips and Rhys William. The Wales international then calmly slotted past Alisson to give the hosts the lead.
The away team responded well and they laid siege to the host’s goal, but a poor final ball — a recurring failing — hampered their momentum on several occasions. Sadio Mane, who was restored to the team in place of the injured Diogo Jota, spurned the best chance when he dragged a Thiago cutback wide from a great position.
They didn’t have to wait long for a goal, however, as Salah proved his class and tied level with Harry Kane in the Golden Boot race. A poor touch from Roberto Firmino saw the ball bobble between Mane and a West Brom defender. The Senegal star was sharp, though, and managed to prod the ball into the direction of Salah and the Egyptian expertly curled a low finish into the bottom corner from outside the box.
Liverpool continued to probe but they couldn’t add a second and went into the break with the scores tied at 1-1.
The second half followed a similar pattern, with the Champions League-chasing visitors launching attack after attack. West Brom, though, looked dangerous on the break and long balls into the channels caused issues for the Reds’ defence.
As ever, the Allardyce team also proved potent from set-pieces and they thought they had taken the lead when Kyle Bartley headed in a flicked header from a corner. The goal — quite mystifyingly — was chalked off, however, as a West Brom player was deemed to have interfered with Alisson before the ball hit the net.
With Thiago imperiously pulling the midfield strings, the Reds kept pushing and they crafted a good opening when Alexander Arnold cut in from the right-hand side and fired a left-footed strike over the bar. It felt like it would be one of those days.
The players weren’t keen to die wondering, though, and they threw the kitchen sink at the Baggies and, eventually, in the fourth minute of added time, their persistence told.
Alexander Arnold whipped a menacing corner in and Alisson, who was unmarked, powerfully nodded the set-piece home in the manner of a seasoned centre forward. Such a moment could have a huge bearing on the future of the club. Football, bloody hell.
Liverpool team: Alisson; Alexander Arnold, Phillips, Williams, Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago, Jones; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Replacements: Xherdan Shaqiri for Jones, Georginio Wijnaldum for Phillips.