Firmino on target as Liverpool climb to third
LONDON: Liverpool reclaimed third spot in the Premier League after Roberto Firmino’s header sealed a hard-fought 1-0 victory against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
West Brom created the best chances in a largely uneventful first half before Firmino nodded home Lucas’ flick on to register his 11th league goal of the season just before the break.
The visitors could have extended their lead after halftime but James Milner blazed a glorious opportunity over the bar and Divock Origi had a goal ruled out for offside.
Simon Mignolet made a crucial late save to deny Matt Phillips but, as West Brom piled on the pressure in the closing stages, Alberto Moreno missed an open goal after Ben Foster had come up for a corner.
Liverpool have 66 points from 33 games, although they have played one more game than Manchester City who sit two points adrift in fourth. West Brom, meanwhile, lie eighth with 44 points.
“If you come away to West Brom you know what to expect and you must deal with it,” Mignolet told Sky Sports.
“We are very pleased with the performance and the three points is massive today. You feel the pressure after you see the other teams and their results but we have to look at ourselves and do our jobs.”
After Manchester City were impressive 3-0 victors against Southampton on Saturday, Liverpool needed to respond in kind against a West Brom side who are notoriously strong at home.
The hosts, however, had failed to score in their previous three league fixtures, but carved out a couple of promising chances through Hal Robson-Kanu and Nacer Chadli.
A goalless halftime beckoned at the end of a cagey first half before Firmino rushed in at the back post to convert Lucas’ flick-on past goalkeeper Foster.
Liverpool started the second half brightly but as the match progressed the hosts slowly started to assert themselves with their best chance falling to Phillips, whose attempted chip was blocked by the onrushing Mignolet.
Liverpool held on to claim a fifth victory in seven games but could have added a second goal in a bizarre finale after Foster was twice caught horribly out of position.
First Moreno shot wide with the goal gaping then Daniel Sturridge dwelled in possession before seeing a wayward pass intercepted.