Match Reports

Albion succumb to title-chasing Liverpool

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Goals from Luis Diaz and Mo Salah secure a 2-0 win and sentence Albion to a fifth successive defeat.

By Bruce Talbot • 12 March 2022

By Paul Hazlewood
Neal Maupay battles for possession with Fabinho.

Albion produced a spirited performance against the title chasers but couldn’t prevent Liverpool from recording an eighth successive Premier League victory.

There were spells when Albion matched Liverpool but Luiz Diaz’s brave first-half goal put the visitors in charge.

Mo Salah added a second from the penalty spot and while Albion enjoyed good spells of possession either side of the goals they didn’t create too many clear-cut chances until substitute Danny Welbeck forced a brilliant save late on from Alisson, who denied Solly March in stoppage time. 

Graham Potter would have been pleased with Albion’s start as they took the game to Liverpool.

Neal Maupay had Alisson scrambling across his goal with a crisply-struck effort from 20 yards as Albion moved the ball quickly and Tariq Lamptey relished attacking the space down Liverpool’s left. One lovely backheel in a crowded midfield by Alexis Mac Allister to create space had home fans purring.

By Bennett Dean
Tariq Lamptey had a good battle with Luis Diaz.

So it was a surprise when Liverpool went ahead after 19 minutes and it was a poor goal to concede. Joel Matip’s long pass found Diaz just onside and he bravely headed past an onrushing Rob Sanchez into an empty net. The keeper caught Diaz with his left thigh on his follow through, but he was spared even a yellow card after VAR checked for serious foul play while Diaz needed treatment before continuing.

The momentum shifted. Robertson and Mo Salah fired over from decent positions and for a spell Albion were pinned back and Liverpool took control of midfield. And when they did have a corner just before the break Liverpool cleared and countered through Salah, who ran about 50 yards to the edge of the six-yard box where, under pressure from Yves Bissouma, he shot tamely at Sanchez.

Adam Lallana came on for Steven Alzate at the break but lasted seven minutes before going off with an injury. During that time Albion created their best chance so far. Mac Allister won a header, Maupay helped the ball on to Trossard 15 yards out but he skied his shot disappointingly over.

Albion were in the game but after twice going close Salah doubled Liverpool’s lead on the hour.

By Paul Hazlewood
Adam Lallana's second-half substitute appearance was cut short.

Salah had already seen a shot deflect off Lewis Dunk onto the bar before dragging a shot wide from a great position after Diaz had picked him out in space. But on the hour Naby Keita’s shot hit Bissouma on the arm and referee Dean pointed to the spot. Salah drove the penalty down the middle for his 20th League goal of the season.

Welbeck came on for Bissouma and to their credit Albion kept pushing. They went closest in the 89th minute when Alisson made a brilliant instinctive save to turn Welbeck’s close-range shot over the bar before denying March in stoppage time.

By Bennett Dean
Neal Maupay teed up Leandro Trossard to shoot, but the Belgium international blazed over.

There wasn’t a great deal between the teams except in the finishing. Albion now prepare for a home game against Spurs on Wednesday.

Albion: Sanchez, Dunk, Veltman, Cucurella, Lamptey, Bissouma (Welbeck 66), Mac Allister, Alzate (Lallana 45 (Gross 52)), March, Trossard, Maupay.

Subs: Steele, McGill, Mwepu, Gross, Moder, Duffy, Leonard.

Referee: Michael Dean

Attendance: 31,474