Match Reports

Alzate strikes as Albion stun the champions

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Colombian's first Premier League goal for the club seals first win over Liverpool since 1984.

By Bruce Talbot • 03 February 2021

By Paul Hazlewood
Steven Alzate fired in his first Premier League goal as Albion secured all three points at Anfield.
  • Liverpool 0, Albion 1

Albion enjoyed one of their best results as a Premier League club with a stunning and thoroughly deserved victory at Anfield.

Steven Alzate scored his first Premier League goal for the club ten minutes into the second half and they had other chances with Dan Burn, Pascal Gross and Leandro all going close.

Liverpool rallied after going behind but Albion defended magnificently as a team and Rob Sanchez collected a fourth successive clean sheet. His opposite number Caoimhin Kelleher was called upon far more often than the Spaniard, who didn't have a save of note to make.

It was far from a backs-to-the-wall performance by Albion, who beat Liverpool for the first time since the Terry Connor-inspired FA Cup triumph at the Goldstone 37 years ago.

They passed the ball crisply, used space well and this victory, which lifted them above Newcastle and Burnley into 15th, will do wonders for confidence.

What happened...

Albion had to change a winning side with Joel Veltman and Alexis Mac Allister ruled out by injury so Dan Burn and Steven Alzate came into the team. Burn played on the left with Solly March switching to the right wing-back role.

There were places on the bench for under-23s goalkeeper Tom McGill and midfielder Jensen Weir as well as Polish pair Michael Karbownik and Jakub Moder.

Albion lined up in a 3-5-2 but Salah, always looking to exploit any space between Burn and Adam Webster, gave an early warning when he expertly controlled Andy Robertson's cross-field pass but lifted his shot from a good position over the bar.

That turned out to be the only serious threat on Rob Sanchez's goal in the first half. Albion funnelled men back when there was a hint of danger but they were well organised and disciplined and, as they grew into the game, they created the best two chances of the first 45.

By Paul Hazlewood
Leandro Trossard was a fantastic outlet for Albion on the night.

On 24 minutes Leandro Trossard and March combined down the right to set up Neal Maupay, who went past a couple of challenges before finding Burn in space but he side-footed over in front of an empty Kop from eight yards.

March had a couple of efforts at Caoimhin Kelleher without troubling the Liverpool keeper, who was deputising for the unwell Alison, and Maupay glanced a header from Pascal Gross' right-wing cross. The Frenchman did well to get above Jordan Henderson and was disappointed not to have at least tested the keeper. It was a good chance.

Georginio Wijnaldum was booked for fouling Maupay and Potter would have been delighted with his side at the break.

Albion would have expected a response from the champions and Lewis Dunk, commanding as usual in the heart of defence, blocked Roberto Firmino's drive before another effort from the Brazilian skidded a yard wide with the aid of a deflection.

By Paul Hazlewood
Steven Alzate celebates after putting Albion in front at Anfield.

But Liverpool were stunned in the 55th minute when Albion constructed a superb opening goal. After winning the ball back in their own half, Yves Bissouma switched play to Gross on the right. He picked out Burn's overlapping run with a deep cross which the former Wigan man headed back across the face of goal to Alzate, who fired past Kelleher from close range as Nat Phillips made an attempt in vain to clear.

Webster was alert to clear the danger when Firmino looked to be in after James Milner dinked a free kick over the defensive wall before March limped off and Adam Lallana replaced him with Alzate moving to the right.

Salah stabbed a shot from 12 yards wide after Trent Alexander-Arnold had pulled the ball back at pace, but Albion were denied a second with 15 minutes to go when they recycled possession from a corner through Dunk and Trossard. Gross curled a low shot towards the bottom corner but Kelleher pushed it away at full stretch.

Kelleher made another good save to block Trossard's blast from a tight angle and Burn headed at the keeper from Alzate’s cross before Yves Bissouma’s long-range blast flew just over.

By Paul Hazlewood
Adam Lallana was back at Anfield after departing Liverpool at the end of last season.

By the end Adam Lallana, a Liverpool legend not so long ago, was the noisiest man in Anfield as he cajoled and organised his new team to make sure they got the job done. They did on a memorable night for Potter and his team.

Praise from the boss

Adam Lallana wasn't fit to start on his return to Anfield, but it was an emotional night for the Albion midfielder, who would have been touched by the words Jurgen Klopp wrote in his programme notes. “I must mention what a special person he was for us,” said Klopp. “When he left I described him as a Liverpool legend, and I read somewhere he felt a little embarrassed by that. But he shouldn't. It's a status he earned and then some.” Lallana can look forward to a similarly warm reception on his next visit to Anfield from, fingers crossed, a full Kop.

Albion: Sanchez, White, Webster, Dunk, Burn, March (Lallana 66), Bissouma, Gross, Alzate, Maupay (Connolly 83), Trossard (Zeqiri 88).

Subs: Walton, McGill, Karbownik, Moder, Tau, Weir.

Referee: Kevin Friend.