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Liverpool held by West Brom

Liverpool held by West Brom

FOOTBALL: Liverpool offered the chasing pack in the Premier League title race a late Christmas gift by throwing away two points at home to struggling West Brom in a 1-1 draw yesterday (Dec 27), as Spurs drew with Wolves and Leeds eased fears they could be dragged into a relegation battle with a fortunate 1-0 win over Burnley.


Monday 28 December 2020, 09:39AM

Liverpool were held 1-1 at home by struggling West Brom yesterday (Dec 27) to open up the Premier League title race. Photo: AFP.

Liverpool were held 1-1 at home by struggling West Brom yesterday (Dec 27) to open up the Premier League title race. Photo: AFP.

The defending champions edged three points clear at the top of the table, but dropped points in the league at Anfield for just the second time in 34 games after failing to make the most of a dominant first-half performance.

Sadio Mane opened the scoring with a classy finish on 12 minutes as Jurgen Klopp’s men had West Brom camped inside their own half until the break, but eased off in the second-half and were made to pay.

Karlan Grant gave the Reds a warning when he was denied when one-on-one with Alisson Becker.

Sam Allardyce was taking charge of West Brom for just the second time and the former England manager’s excellent recent record at Anfield continued when Semi Ajayi rose to head home from a corner and give the Baggies a valuable point in their battle to avoid relegation.

Allardyce has now not been beaten in his last four away league games against Klopp’s Liverpool with four different clubs.

“It was our own fault,” said Klopp. “We gave them simple corners and that’s the only thing they wanted to have tonight. That’s why it is only one point instead of three.”

West Brom remain second bottom, but are now within five points of safety.

“Every man today showed the spirit this team needs to get out of this position,” said Allardyce. “I saw a lot of guts, a lot of determination and a lot of quality.”

Jose bemoans Spurs’ ambition

Jose Mourinho said Tottenham’s lack of attacking intent was not inspired by him after dropping more points from a winning position in a 1-1 draw at Wolves later yesterday.

Spurs have now failed to win in four consecutive league games to heavily dent their hopes of a first league title in 60 years.

Mourinho’s men edge up to fifth, but remain six points adrift of leaders Liverpool.

Tottenham have dropped eight points by conceding equalisers in the final 10 minutes this season after also blowing leads against Newcastle, West Ham and Crystal Palace. They also conceded a 90th minute goal to lose at Liverpool.

The visitors made a dream start at Molineux as Tanguy Ndombele opened the scoring in the first minute.

But it was a familiar story for Mourinho as, just as against Palace a fortnight ago, they sat on a precarious 1-0 lead for most of the match and were punished.

“We didn’t have that ambition, that desire to go for more,” said Mourinho.

Thai Residential

“One point against Wolves normally wouldn’t be a bad result because they are a strong opponent, but scoring a goal in the first minute and having 89 minutes to score more goals, you feel frustrated.

“Defending deep, that’s not the intention. They know what I asked them at half-time, if they couldn’t do better it’s because they couldn’t do better.”

Romain Saiss’s late leveller was no less than Wolves deserved as they dominated after a nightmare start.

“We conceded in the first minute and that requires a lot of character,” said Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo. “We played a good game after that.”

Leeds ride their luck

Earlier, Patrick Bamford’s penalty earned Leeds a controversial 1-0 win over Burnley to move Marcelo Bielsa’s men up to 11th, nine points clear of the relegation zone.

However, Leeds needed luck on their side as Burnley were denied an equaliser through Ashley Barnes by a refereeing error.

The only goal at Elland Road came after just five minutes when Bamford latched onto a long ball over the top and was wiped out by the onrushing Nick Pope.

Bamford fired home the resulting penalty into the top corner for his 10th goal of the season.

Burnley felt doubly aggrieved when Barnes smashed home after Illan Meslier fumbled a high ball into the box on 17 minutes.

The French goalkeeper was awarded a free-kick for backing in by Ben Mee and despite Meslier appearing to be the aggressor, the goal could not be reviewed by VAR as referee Robert Jones had blown for the foul before the ball hit the net.

“Not only is it a penalty, we put it in the goal and he doesn’t give it one second to review it,” said Burnley boss Sean Dyche.

“Ironically, it’s been taking hours to make a decision and you get a really important decision and they can’t look at it. The referee played a big part, but we still have to focus on our part.”

Defeat sees the Clarets drop to 17th, still just two points above the relegation zone.

Brighton edged ahead of Burnley thanks to a 2-2 draw at West Ham, but will be disappointed to have thrown away the chance of just a second win in 14 games.

Twice the Seagulls led through Neal Maupay and Lewis Dunk. West Ham had been dire for the first 45 minutes, but two half-time changes by David Moyes sparked a second-half response as Ben Johnson slotted home his first senior goal to make it 1-1 before Tomas Soucek’s header earned a point eight minutes from time.

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