Match Reports

Gross is spot on for Albion

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Midfielder scores stoppage-time spot-kick to earn point against champions.

By Bruce Talbot • 28 November 2020

By Paul Hazlewood
Pascal Gross celebrates his goal against the Reds.

A stoppage-time penalty by Pascal Gross earned Albion deserved reward against champions Liverpool at the Amex.

Albion looked as if they would be left frustrated after Neal Maupay missed a first-half penalty and other chances came and went when Diogo Jota's classy finish put Liverpool in front on the hour.

Liverpool had two goals disallowed for offside by VAR but looked to be holding on when the technology intervened again moments into stoppage time. Danny Welbeck was fouled in the box and referee Stuart Attwell changed his mind after he was advised to check the pitch-side monitor. Gross kept his cool and drilled the penalty low into the bottom corner to secure a 1-1 draw.

On the balance of play it was no more than Albion deserved for their contribution to an entertaining contest.

By Paul Hazlewood
Pascal Gross calmly fires in from 12-yards.

What happened

There were a couple of early scares for Albion when Roberto Firmino and then Mo Salah got in behind their defence, but neither were able to hit the target and it was the hosts who created the first clear-cut opportunity in the 10th minute.

Maupay's pass played in Aaron Connolly down the middle but he frustratingly failed to test Allison with only the Liverpool goalkeeper to beat.

Nine minutes later Albion squandered an even better opportunity. Connolly latched onto Yves Bissouma's pass and was bundled over on the edge of the six-yard box by Neco Williams. Maupay sent Allison the wrong way, but his penalty went wide of the right-hand post.

With both sides playing three up front the game was open and pleasing on the eye and Albion continued to give as good as they got. Five minutes after his miss, Maupay went off with what looked like a tight hamstring. Leo Trossard replaced him and had a sight of goal in the 33rd minute after strong hold-up play by Connolly, but again failed to test Allison.

Albion had a let off two minutes later. Firmino helped on Allison's clearance and Salah was away, finishing in style. But he had strayed an inch or two in front of Ben White and the goal was ruled out for offside by VAR official Kevin Friend.

By Paul Hazlewood
Liverpool were denied twice by VAR on the afternoon, before playing its part in Albion's penalty award.

Finally Allison had to get his hands warm nine minutes into the second half after great work by Danny Welbeck, who surged into the box, feinted past Firmino and tested the Brazilian keeper with a low drive.

Albion had been very much in the game with an hour played but Liverpool punished their first defensive lap to take the lead. Salah played in Jota who ghosted past Adam Webster and Trossard before firing past Maty Ryan into the bottom corner.

Adam Lallana replaced Connolly a few moments later but he was involved for less than ten minutes before coming off with Alireza Jahanbakhsh taking his place.

Liverpool had a measure of control now, without threatening to score again, but Albion were also struggling to create in open play. They had an opportunity when Welbeck was fouled 25 yards out and although Solly March got his free kick on target, Allison made a comfortable save to his right.

Albion upped the ante in the closing stages although they had another VAR reprieve when Mane headed in Jordan Henderson's free kick but had strayed offside. White had conceded the free kick for a foul on Jota and was booked.

By Paul Hazlewood
Albion celebrate their late equaliser against the Reds.

At times in the closing minutes Liverpool had all 11 men defending their penalty area but they looked to have got the job done. But when the tireless Welbeck was fouled by Andy Robertson, as the Liverpool defender tried to clear, and Gross did the rest.

Connolly gets his chance

With Adam Lallana only fit for the bench, Graham Potter made a bold selection by choosing Aaron Connolly for his first start since early October, when Albion lost 4-2 to Everton. The Irish international started alongside Danny Welbeck with Neal Maupay in behind. It was a bold selection by Graham Potter, although his plans changed when Maupay went off shortly after his penalty miss.

By Paul Hazlewood
Aaron Connolly fired agonisingly wide after ten minutes.

Frustration for Maupay

An afternoon to forget for Albion's French striker. He missed his second Premier League penalty in six months (his other miss was at Leicester in June) and within a couple of minutes was sitting on the deck clutching his right leg, his afternoon over. Neco Williams probably wasn’t feeling as bad, but the Liverpool defender was subbed at half-time for the second successive game at the Amex.

The line-up

Ryan; Veltman, Webster, Dunk, White, March, Bissouma, Gross, Connolly (Lallana 63 (sub: Jahanbakhsh 70)), Welbeck, Maupay (Trossard 24).

Subs not used: Steele, Alzate, Burn, Molumby.

Referee: Stuart Attwell