Roberto Firmino strikes as Jurgen Klopp’s side stay on course for a top four finish

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FIRM GRIP

Brazilian headed home the only goal to keep Reds on course for a place in the Champions League next season

ROBERTO FIRMINO’S header seconds before the break was enough to keep Liverpool on course for a top four finish in the Premier League.

Firmino headed home on the stroke of half-time to snatch three vital points against West Brom as the Reds look to secure a place in next year’s Champions League.

Reuters

Roberto Firmino and Emre Can celebrate the goal that put Liverpool ahead just before the break

The Brazilian had earlier wasted a great chance to score when he shot wide as Jurgen Klopp’s side controlled the majority of the game against a below par Baggies.

Victory was enough to see Liverpool climb above Manchester City into third as they keep up the pressure on Manchester United and Arsenal to catch them in the closing weeks of the season.

FACTS, STATS, GOALS AND LOLS

  • Jurgen Klopp made it a triple Samba Sunday as he recalled Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino to his side, along with Lucas who came in for the injured Ragnar Klavan.
  • Baggies boss Tony Pulis coughed up around £3million to his former club Crystal Palace last week after a legal row – so he was looking for a good result to help lift his spirits.

Tony Pulis has seen his bank balance take a hit this week but was still happy to greet Jurgen Klopp

PA:Press Association

Tony Pulis has seen his bank balance take a hit this week but was still happy to greet Jurgen Klopp

Roberto Firmino wasted a great chance to score an early goal when he dragged his shot wide

Getty Images

Roberto Firmino wasted a great chance to score an early goal when he dragged his shot wide
  • Firmino wasted a great chance to get Liverpool off to the ideal start when he was played through by Coutinho, only to slide his shot wide of target.
  • The Baggies should have taken a 24th minute lead as Matty Phillips crossed to the far post but Nacer Chadli took his eye off the ball and missed his kicked completely with the goal at his mercy.
  • Hal Robson-Kanu was a genius at Euro 2016, but his true level is that of a journeyman striker and his finish when clean through as he rolled a shot at Simon Mignolet summed him up.

Nacer Chadli completely misses the ball with the goal at his mercy

Rex Features

Nacer Chadli completely misses the ball with the goal at his mercy

Hal Robson-Kanu should have opened the scoring - but could only pass the ball weakly at Simon Mignolet

PA:Press Association

Hal Robson-Kanu should have opened the scoring – but could only pass the ball weakly at Simon Mignolet

Robson-Kanu cannot believe he has wasted his chance to open the scoring

Getty Images

Robson-Kanu cannot believe he has wasted his chance to open the scoring
  • It needed a set-piece to open the scoring, but it wasn’t West Brom who were celebrating. Firmino reacted first to a Lucos flick-on to nod home on the stroke of half time.
  • James Milner is a man for all positions – except a striker. The makeshift left-back only had Ben Foster to beat from six yards but volleyed high and wide.

Firmino steals in at the far post to head Liverpool in front just before half-time

Reuters

Firmino steals in at the far post to head Liverpool in front just before half-time

Robert Firmino celebrates opening the scoring against West Brom

Getty Images

Robert Firmino celebrates opening the scoring against West Brom
  • Salomon Rondon was introduced as a replacement for the poor Robson-Kanu on the hour, much to the delight of the small Venezuelan fan-club in attendance at The Hawthorns.
  • West Brom struggled to create any chances of note – their first real attempt on goal in the second half took 22 minutes to come and Jake Livermore shot yards wide of target.
  • Simon Mignolet has had his critics, but the Liverpool keeper saved his side when he denied Matty Phillips as he raced through on goal looking for the equaliser.
  • Alberto Moreno should have added a second in stoppage time with Ben Foster caught up for a corner, but the Liverpool defender shot wide of an empty net.

WHAT THEY SAID

Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet said: “Three points were massive for us today. We knew they wouldf throw everything at us late on.

“Everybody did their jobs today. We have grinded it out for the last two games and that’s important.”

DREAM TEAM RATINGS

West Brom: Foster 5, Dawson 6, McAuley 6, Evans 6, Brunt 6, Fletcher 6, Yacob 6 (McClean 64, 5), Livermore; Phillips 6 , Chadli 5 (Morrison 61, 6); Robson-Kanu 6 (Rondon 64, 6)

Liverpool: Mignolet 7, Clyne 7, Lovren 7, Matip 8, Lucas 7, Milner 7, Can 7, Wijnaldum 7, Coutinho 6 (Moreno 89, ), Firmino 8, Origi 7 (Sturridge 82, 6)

Star Man: Roberto Firmino

THE BIG PICTURE

Upcoming Fixtures

WEST BROM
Apr 29: Leicester (h) Premier League
May 6: Burnley (a) Premier League
May 12: Chelsea (h) Premier League
May 16: Man City (a) Premier League
May 21: Swansea (a) Premier League

LIVERPOOL
Apr 23: Crystal Palace (h) Premier League
May 1: Watford (a) Premier League
May 7: Southampton (h) Premier League
May 14: West Ham (a) Premier League
May 21: Middlesbrough (h) Premier League

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