LONDON: Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson’s dramatic 95th-minute goal gave the Reds a 2-1 victory at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday to maintain their bid to play in the Champions League. Liverpool trail fourth-placed Chelsea by one point and Leicester by three, with two league games left to play this season thanks to Alisson’s late header.
With Leicester and Chelsea still to face off in a repeat of the FA Cup final, won 1-0 by the Foxes on Saturday, victories over Burnley and Crystal Palace will take Liverpool into the top four. The already-relegated Baggies took an early lead through Hal Robson-Kanu before the in-form Mohamed Salah equalized before half-time.
But Liverpool were still heading for a damaging draw when Alisson headed in from a corner in the fifth minute of stoppage-time. “Wow, is a pretty good word,” elated Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told the BBC. “It’s the best goal I’ve ever seen scored by a goalkeeper! Strikers score like that. If Olivier Giroud scores like that you say it’s a worldie. It’s a worldie! Wow!,” the German added.
Already-crowned Premier League champions Manchester City and Chelsea will contest this season’s Champions League final in Porto on May 29. But if Chelsea remain in the top four there won’t be an additional Champions League place given to the fifth-placed side in the Premier League.
Liverpool were stunned when Robson-Kanu, making his first league start of the season for Albion, put the hosts ahead in the 15th minute after he ran onto Matheus Pereira’s pass and found the bottom corner at the Hawthorns. Liverpool levelled when Sadio Mane, starting in place of the injured Diogo Jota, intercepted a loose pass to Kyle Bartley, with the ball then falling to Salah, who hit a first-time shot into the bottom left corner.
The Egypt striker’s 22nd Premier League goal of the season drew him level with Harry Kane in the race for the English top-flight’s golden boot award. Tottenham Hotspur moved into sixth place, on goal difference from West Ham, after a 2-0 win at home to Wolves. England captain Kane fired Spurs ahead on the stroke of half-time, curling the ball into the corner of the net after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s through ball behind the defense.
Hojbjerg made it 2-0 just after the hour when he followed up as Gareth Bale’s shot was parried by Rui Patricio as Spurs bolstered their hopes of at least playing Europa League football next season. “This is Tottenham Hotspur,” said interim manager Ryan Mason. “We want to be playing in the biggest competition in the biggest games. This season hasn’t gone to plan,” added Mason, appointed after Spurs sacked Jose Mourinho.
Eighth-placed Everton, Liverpool’s local rivals, are at home to bottom of the table Sheffield United in the day’s concluding Premier League match. Earlier, Crystal Palace twice came from behind to beat Aston Villa 3-2, with Tyrick Mitchell’s first goal for the club sealing victory six minutes from time.
John McGinn put Villa ahead in the 17th minute at Selhurst Park before Christian Benteke equalised against his former club with a 32nd-minute header. Palace fell behind again two minutes later when Anwar El Ghazi scored from close range. The Eagles, however, equalized for a second time in the 76th minute when Wilfried Zaha grabbed his 11th goal of the season with a shot deflected in off Ahmed Elmohamady. The comeback was complete in the 84th minute when the 21-year-old Mitchell followed-up from close range after team-mate Eberechi Eze had miscued in a victory that lifted Palace to 13th place. – AFP