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JAMES NURSEY: Liverpool show grit and flair in valuable win over West Brom

Date Posted,April 15, 2017

Successive victories at Stoke and West Brom will hardly rekindle memories of Liverpool’s glory years.

Yet they could prove a significant signpost on the route back to the Champions League as Jurgen Klopp’s Reds climbed to third.

Liverpool showed flair and no little grit to triumph at The Hawthorns for the club’s first League win here since 2011.

They were forced to dig deep in the closing stages as the hosts, safe from the drop, dispensed with any remaining caution.

Albion even threw keeper Ben Foster up front at corners for an all-out assault. But the visitors held out thanks to some impressive goalkeeping from Simon Mignolet.

Roberto Firmino’s first half header for his 11 top-flight goal of the season proved decisive.

Firmino heads home the winner for Liverpool on Sunday (Photo: REUTERS)
The Reds forward impressed as he claimed his 11th goal of the season (Photo: Reuters)

It was the second time in a week the Brazilian had produced the winner after a crucial late strike at the Potters.

Ironically it came from a free-kick after much of the talk had been about the Baggies scoring 18 times from set-pieces this season.

Boss Klopp was thrilled as he clearly showed at the final whistle with his celebrations on the pitch as he congratulated all his players.

Unbeaten in their last seven Premier League games now with just five remaining as they bid to compete again against Europe’s elite after a two-year absence.

Klopp insisted: “This is one of the most difficult places to go because in no game can you be comfortable.

Simon Mignolet makes one of his saves that were key to victory (Photo: Reuters)

“I thought we won here last year but it was only a draw.

“If it had been 4-0 after 86 minutes maybe then I would have thought it is done.

“They have good footballers on the pitch and if you are a little bit less aggressive they use their threat from set-pieces to play football.

“It was very important to show this concentration level until the end which was really good.

“After the whistle I don’t think we did crazy things but we were very happy.

“I thought the boys did very well and we have 66 points now which is a really good week.”

Albion started brightly as a long throw caused chaos and ended with Hal Robson-Kanu just failing to convert Matt Phillips’ subsequent cross.

Hal Robson-Kanu is denied again by the Reds keeper (Photo: Action Images via Reuters)

But despite their positive start, the hosts nearly fell behind in the 15 minute.

Firmino should have hit the target but dragged a low left-foot shot wide from Philippe Coutinho’s pass after an error by Claudio Yacob.

Robson-Kanu had another sight of goal in the 35 minute from Jake Livermore’s defence-splitting pass but the Welsh international’s finish was straight at Mignolet.

Albion were made to pay seconds before the break when Lucas flicked on James Milner’s free-kick for Firmino to head in.

After the re-start Liverpool continued in the ascendancy to push for a second goal.

Firmino evades the ball (Photo: Getty)

Skipper Milner volleyed over Firmino’s cross from the right when well placed.

Ten minutes from time Liverpool were indebted to a fine stop from Mignolet who came running off his line to close down Phillips.

Albion threw everything at the visitors in a frantic finale as keeper Foster even went up.

Foster was then stranded upfield as Liverpool broke but sub Alberto Moreno tried his luck from distance and put his shot wide amid a breathless conclusion.

Yet fortunately it did not cost the visitors as Klopp added: “I would have been happy for him if he had scored this goal but it meant excitement until the end which is pretty much always when we are involved.”

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