Liverpool conceded late despite a dominant display but held on for a 2-1 victory West Bromwich Albion at Anfield on Saturday evening.
- Liverpool 2 West Brom 1
- Mane opens the scoring
- Coutinho stunner makes it 2-0
- McAuley grabs a late consolation
It's fair to say that the final score didn't reflect the dominant performance from Jurgen Klopp's side.
Sadio Mane and Phillip Coutinho combined well in the first half to turn Liverpool's superiority into a two-goal lead going into half-time.
The second-half was one way traffic with the Reds looking at ease, but they failed to convert their chances and found Ben Foster in inspired form.
Gareth McAuley grabbed a consolation 10 minutes from time but the home side held firm to secure a 2-1 victory.
Liverpool started the game like a team looking to make a real signal of intent and referee Neil Swarbrick had to wave a penalty appeal away in the opening seconds. Sadio Mane was brought down in the area by full-back Alan Nyom but at second glance it look to have been a fair call.
However, the explosive forward was not to be denied a starring role in the opening half as he contributed to both goals.
In the blink of an eye 20 minutes into the game, Phillip Coutinho's dummy let Emre Can loose, and the German the managed to find Roberto Firmino on the left flank. The in-form Brazilian dinked the ball over Nyom and Mane was in the right place to slot home past Ben Foster.
It took only 15 minutes for the rollocking Reds to find a second as Mane turned provider but the individual brilliance of Coutinho can not be denied.
After collecting the Senegal international's pass, the diminutive playmaker faked a shot, cut inside his marker and, as he angled for a far post finesse shot, dragged it past Foster at his near post.
Going into the break, the Kop were in full voice and Tony Pulis' men hardly had a sniff of the ball. Pulis pulled off Claudio Yacob for Chris Brunt during the interval but it could have been any other player.
The changes seemed to have made a bit of an influence for the away team but the veteran coach took a gamble by using another two substitutions before the hour mark – James Morrison for Matty Phillips and Hal Robson-Kanu for James McClean.
Klopp and his charges were still very much in cruise control and had a host of chances but poor finishing and a combination of incredible reflexes from Ben Foster kept the Baggies in the game.
Ten minutes from time, they found an unlikely consolation against the run of play through their set-piece strength, effectively denying Liverpool top spot in the league.
Gareth McAuley was left on unmarked to juggle the ball with his chest and knee before volleying in – though the home side managed to see out the game with relative ease.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 22, 2016