Goalkeeper Alisson scored an incredible injury-time winner as Liverpool claimed a significant victory in their quest to achieve a Premier League top-four finish by coming from behind to beat West Brom.
With three points a must and just seconds left of a game in which the visitors had been frustrated by an obstinate and disciplined Baggies, the Brazilian keeper came up for a corner.
It was surely the Reds’ final chance to snatch the win and so it proved as Alisson rose to glance Trent Alexander-Arnold’s delivery into the far corner of the net to send the away side into delirium.
In an example of extraordinary timing, it is the first occasion in which a goalkeeper has scored a competitive goal for Liverpool in their entire history, dating back to 1892.
The stunning moment takes the Reds just a point and a place behind Chelsea in fourth and three points worse off than third-placed Leicester with two games to go.
That the Blues and Foxes face each other in their next league game gives Jurgen Klopp’s side a huge opportunity to take control of their own destiny in the race for Champions League qualification when they travel to Burnley on Wednesday.
Things had got off to a terrible start for the reigning champions at the Hawthorns with Hal Robson-Kanu capping his first Premier League start since December 2017 with a neat side-foot finish to give West Brom the lead.
A typically incisive Mohamed Salah finish brought the visitors level, with the Egyptian’s low shot inside the far post taking him to 22 goals for the season, level with Harry Kane at the top of the scoring charts.
With Roberto Firmino firing against the woodwork, Sadio Mane seeing a finish ruled out for offside and others profligate in front of goal, it looked as though the Reds had blown their chance.
But Alisson’s big moment keeps them firmly in the hunt.
“I just tried to run into a good place and be there to try and help my players, to bring a defender, but no one followed me and I am lucky and blessed, sometimes things you can’t explain,” Alisson told Sky Sports.
“You can’t explain a lot of things in my life, the only reason is God and he put his hand on my head today and I’m feeling very blessed.”
He also paid an emotional tribute to his late father, who drowned, aged 57, in February.
“I’m too emotional, this last month for everything that has happened with me and my family, but football is my life, I played since I can remember with my father,” he added.
“I hope he was here to see it, I’m sure he is celebrating with God at his side.”
Reds boss Klopp said: “It’s an unbelievable header, I’ve never seen anything like that, good technique. I wasn’t sure what I was seeing.
“We are really close and know exactly what it means to him, it’s outstanding, really touching. It’s only football but it means the world to us.”
Alisson makes Liverpool history
Liverpool have enjoyed some wonderful and dramatic moments during Klopp’s time as manager, from Champions League comebacks to crucial late goals en route to a first top-flight title success in 30 years.
Alisson’s header is right up there with the best of them and will live long in the memory of Reds fans.
This will especially be the case if it ultimately leads to qualification for the Champions League. It cannot be understated how crucial the moment is, in this regard.
Ahead of the corner, the Reds were facing the very real prospect of a Europa League spot as their only reward at the end of a difficult and, in parts, dire season by their own high standards.
At the final whistle, once the away side had finished mobbing their goalkeeper, they were able to reflect upon a situation that has now swung back their way.
For so much of the second half at the Hawthorns, Klopp’s side huffed and puffed without wobbling West Brom’s door a millimetre. Driving runs went nowhere, passes led to blind alleys and, when they came, shots too often hit the stand behind the goal.
Salah had done his bit in the first-half, but was well marshalled in the second, Mane continues to be a shadow of his former self and the midfield failed to play with the speed and precision required to pick open a very well-drilled defence.
What does it matter, though, when you have a goalkeeper who can pick his moment and head a ball as Alisson showed right at the death?
A get-out-jail card? Possibly. A wake-up call for the last two games? Probably. Something to add to a long list of magical Premier League moments? Definitely.
Liverpool have now scored 38 winning goals in the 90th minute or later of a Premier League game. That’s 13 more than any other team in Premier League history.
Few of them could prove as important as this.
“That game is our season in a nutshell,” added Klopp. “A lot of good stuff, we got hammered for the first mistake and then had to work like crazy.
“But nobody got over the top, we had shots and kept playing football and its really difficult against these sides, how they defend, how they set up, and in the end we needed Alisson to sort it.”
Baggies seconds from frustrating Reds again
West Brom have few positives to take away from this season, but they were agonisingly close to frustrating the champions for a second time in the campaign, having drawn at Anfield in late December.
They spent large periods on the back foot, but had their attacking moments, most notably Robson-Kanu’s neat finish following a pass from the again impressive Matheus Pereira.
The Brazilian has now either scored (10) or assisted (six) 16 of West Brom’s 33 Premier League goals this season (48.5%); with only Harry Kane for Tottenham (55.6%) directly involved in a higher ratio for his side.
When the Baggies come to rebuild in the summer, they are unlikely to be short of suitors should they wish to offload their star man.
Albion also thought they had snatched the win themselves when Kyle Bartley poked in from a corner, but it was ruled out with an offside Matt Phillips obstructing Alisson’s view from a corner.
“If down at Stockley Park they said that’s right then that’s nonsense,” boss Sam Allardyce told the BBC. “If they say the referee or the linesman disallowed that goal it’s a disgrace. There is no interference with the goalkeeper whatsoever.
“All those things people say they have to do to stop the goalkeeper saving it. If there was nobody there he still wouldn’t have saved it. It’s baffling.”
Liverpool’s latest winner since March 2016
- Alisson’s goal for Liverpool (94:18) was Liverpool’s latest Premier League winner since Christian Benteke v Crystal Palace in March 2016 (95:10), whilst the Brazilian scored the very first headed goal by a goalkeeper since the formation of the competition in 1992.
- Liverpool have now won six of their last eight Premier League games (D2), the same number as they registered in their 19 top-flight games beforehand (W6 D5 L8).
- West Brom have only managed to keep four clean sheets since Sam Allardyce took over the club in late December, with only Sheffield United and Newcastle (3) managing fewer. Indeed, no side has conceded more Premier League goals than the Baggies (44) since Allardyce’s first game in charge (level with Southampton).
- No player has scored more Premier League goals this season than Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah (22, level with Harry Kane). Indeed, those 22 goals have won the Reds 16 points, with no player earning more for their side via their goals this season.
- Mohamed Salah’s equaliser was his 125th goal for Liverpool since signing for the club ahead of the 2017-18 season, the most by any Premier League player across all competitions, with only four other players within the top-five European leagues managing more than the Egyptian since then.
- Liverpool midfielder Thiago created five opportunities from open play for his teammates in his side’s draw with West Brom, the joint-most the Spaniard has ever managed in a top-flight league game (also creating five in December 2015 for Bayern Munich against Hannover 96).
- West Brom forward Hal Robson-Kanu’s 13 Premier League goals have been scored against teams with an average position in the table at the start of that day of 7.4 – the highest average position of teams scored against for any player with as many goals as Robson-Kanu in Premier League history.
- Hal Robson-Kanu’s opener for West Brom was his first Premier League goal since November 2017 against Newcastle, with the Welshman making a scoring return to the starting XI, last starting a top-flight game in December 2017.
Liverpool must keep up their winning ways when they travel to Burnley on Wednesday (20:15 BST) if they want to maintain their push for the top four.
West Brom’s next game is again at the Hawthorns and sees another side near the top of the table, West Ham, the visitors for a 20:15 kick-off.
West Bromwich Albion
- 35YokusluSubstituted forLivermoreat 75′minutes
- 11DianganaSubstituted forMaitland-Nilesat 73′minutes
- 12Costa Pereira
- 4Robson-KanuSubstituted forGrantat 82′minutes
- 46R WilliamsSubstituted forWijnaldumat 84′minutes
- 6Thiago Alcántara
- 17JonesSubstituted forShaqiriat 59′minutes
- 76N Williams
Match ends, West Bromwich Albion 1, Liverpool 2.
Second Half ends, West Bromwich Albion 1, Liverpool 2.
Goal! West Bromwich Albion 1, Liverpool 2. Alisson (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Trent Alexander-Arnold with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Darnell Furlong.
Attempt blocked. Thiago (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Georginio Wijnaldum.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Darnell Furlong.
Attempt blocked. Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Andrew Robertson.
Attempt missed. Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Mohamed Salah.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Sam Johnstone.
Attempt saved. Thiago (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Roberto Firmino.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Nathaniel Phillips (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion).
Foul by Sadio Mané (Liverpool).
Semi Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Liverpool. Georginio Wijnaldum replaces Rhys Williams.
Attempt missed. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Fabinho.
Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Karlan Grant replaces Hal Robson-Kanu.
Attempt missed. Thiago (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Xherdan Shaqiri.
Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Alisson.