Match Reports

Salah strikes as Liverpool edge past Albion

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Danny Welbeck put the Seagulls in front but goals from Luis DIaz and Mo Salah earn Liverpool a 2-1 win.

By Bruce Talbot • 31 March 2024

By Paul Hazlewood
Delight for Danny Welbeck after he scored his sixth goal of the season.

Albion’s fine run of results at Anfield ended with a narrow defeat that sent Liverpool, for a few hours at least, back to the top of the Premier League.

Danny Welbeck stunned Anfield with a brilliant goal – his sixth of the season - inside two minutes, but Luis Diaz and Mo Salah scored either side of half-time to put Liverpool in charge.

Albion mounted a late surge in search of an equaliser and substitute Adam Lallana going closest when he threaded a low drive a yard wide of the far post.

Defeat left Albion ninth in the table but there will be plenty of optimism given how well we competed against one of the title chasers for long spells of an at times frantic but always absorbing tussle.

By Paul Hazlewood
What a finish! Danny Welbeck's right-foot rocket finds the top corner.

There were two changes to the team that beat Nottingham Forest in our last Premier League encounter three weeks ago with Tariq Lamptey and Welbeck returning to the starting XI.

But both sides were well short of full strength with Julio Enciso and Billy Gilmour the latest additions to our lengthy injury list, although Albion’s form against Liverpool – one defeat in the last seven meetings – was a cause for optimism.

And there was even more when Albion stunned Anfield by taking a second-minute lead. Simon Adingra broke down the left and Welbeck attempted to find Jakub Moder from his cross. The ball rebounded to him off Moder’s calf and Welbeck instinctively lashed it with his right foot into the top corner from 16 yards, his second goal in successive games.

By Paul Hazlewood
Danny Welbeck is delighted after putting Albion ahead after two minutes at Anfield.

Adingra seemed to have the beating of Connor Bradley every time he attacked the Liverpool right-back but Bradley nearly created a quick equaliser with a pass to Mo Salah in space on the right-hand corner of the box. Salah shot towards the far corner but was a yard wide.

The game continued at breakneck speed. Salah, of course, was a threat but Albion were giving as good as they got. Pascal Gross picked up a harsh booking for a foul on Alexis Mac Allister, who had earlier been cautioned for bringing down Adingra.

Liverpool were building momentum though and they drew level after 28 minutes. Lewis Dunk headed a corner clear, Salah nodded it back into the box and Joel Veltman’s attempt to hook it clear skidded off his foot and into the path of Diaz, who beat Bart Verbruggen from six yards.

Back came Albion. Adingra broke again and passed inside to Welbeck, who shifted the ball onto his right but fired into the side netting from close range. Then Welbeck picked out Moder 15 yards out and his shot was deflected over. At the other end Darwin Nunez improvised with a low shot from an angle on the right which Bart Verbruggen deflected away from goal with a combination of his ankle and wrist, although he didn’t seem to know much about it!  

Liverpool ramped up the pressure at the start of the second half and Mac Allister glances header a yard wide from Nunez’s cross wide. Carlos Baleba had become increasingly influential in the heart of midfield, winning the in transition to spark counter attacks but Albion were under the cosh.

By Paul Hazlewood
Simon Adingra gets away down the left to cause Liverpool more problems with his pace.

Verbruggen parried Nunez’s shot before Albion were cracked on 65 minutes. Mac Allister spotted Salah’s run from the inside right channel into the box and he had time to pick his spot into the far corner from eight yards.

Diaz had a goal disallowed for a tight offside by the VAR and all the time it remained 2-1 Albion were still in the contest, although Verbruggen did deny Salah after Liverpool broke at lightning speed from Albion’s first corner of the half.

Caoimhin Kelleher hadn’t had much to do in the second half but as Albion committed more men forward in search of an equaliser he plunged to his right to keep out Dunk’s header. The Liverpool keeper was grateful to see Adam Lallana’s low shot drift a yard wide, the midfielder having come on for his 100th Albion appearance to a generous ovation from the fans of his former club.

Verbruggen made a fine low save at the start of stoppage time to keep out Salah’s deflected shot but Welbeck had one final opportunity but Virgil van Dijk ushered him wide enough that the shot crashed into the side netting.

Albion: Verbruggen, Veltman, Dunk, van Hecke, Estupinan (Barco 90+1), Gross, Moder (Lallana 80), Adingra (Ferguson 80), Baleba, Lamptey (Buonanotte 70), Welbeck.

Subs not used: Steele, Igor, Webster, Barco, Fati, Chouchane.

Referee: David Coote

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