Liverpool concede late to draw 1-1 with lowly West Brom

AP , Sunday 27 Dec 2020

Liverpool has a three-point lead over second-place Everton

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, front, chases the ball during an English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Sunday Dec. 27, 2020. AP

Liverpool dropped points at Anfield for the first time this season after conceding an 82nd-minute equalizer to draw 1-1 against lowly West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

The champions looked set to move five points clear _ for the biggest lead of their Premier League title defense so far _ thanks to Sadio Mane's 12th-minute goal.

However, what had been a one-sided match changed when Liverpool center back Joel Matip was forced off injured in the 60th minute.

And from one of West Brom's half-chances, Semi Ajayi rose above Fabinho to head the ball in off the far post, allowing West Brom to snatch a point despite only enjoying 22% possession.

It was Sam Allardyce's first away match in charge of West Brom after taking over a team likely to be embroiled in a relegation scrap this season. He is known as a survival specialist and this is the type of battling result ``Big Sam'' is known to secure, against the odds.

Allardyce is the last visiting manager to win a Premier League match at Anfield, in April 2017 when he was in charge of Crystal Palace.

``There is a lot of defending you have to do against a quality team with a fantastic home record,'' Allardyce said. ``To a man, we frustrated Liverpool as much as we could.''

``People will say we are lucky,'' he added, ``but that was good application from the players and they took their opportunity at the other end.''

Liverpool had just two efforts on target, and the second _ a late header from Roberto Firmino _ was tipped around the post superbly by West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.

``It's an incredible challenge to stay active, to stay lively, when you're constantly faced with 10 men,'' Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said. ``West Brom deserved the point tonight because we didn't finish the game.''

Liverpool has a three-point lead over second-place Everton, its close neighbour on Merseyside. The Reds had won their first seven home matches.

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