6 talking points as Alisson saves Liverpool’s season with West Brom winner

Liverpool’s hopes of a top four finish are still alive after an extraordinary injury-time winner by goalkeeper Alisson.

The Brazilian stopper headed home a late corner just as the Reds’ Champions League hopes looked dead.

Hal Robson-Kanu scored the opening goal, coolly converting, before Mohamed Salah’s fine equaliser prior to the break.

Kyle Bartley had a goal controversially ruled out for the hosts in the second period – much to the fury of Sam Allardyce – by VAR, but the Baggies looked set to claim a share of the spoils with Liverpool wasteful in front of goal.

However, deep into stoppage time, the Brazil No.1 found the answer that his teammates had been unable to find, beating Sam Johnstone with a towering header.

Here are six talking points from the West Midlands…

1. That VAR decision

On VAR advice, Mike Dean ruled out Kyle Bartley's effort
On VAR advice, Mike Dean ruled out Kyle Bartley’s effort

I can understand why Kyle Bartley’s goal was ruled out – apparently because Alisson’s view was obscured by Matt Phillips standing in an offside position.

But being able to understand it only enhances the farcical nature of the goal being ruled out.

Had the initial header from the right-wing corner gone straight in, then you could argue that Phillips’ position was obscuring the keeper’s viewpoint.

But given the angles at play and given how the ball ended up going into the bottom corner, closest to Bartley and not back across goal, it simply isn’t conceivable that the goal should have been disallowed.

In the grand scheme of things it means little to Allardyce’s men, but it was just more shoddy usage of the technology from the officials hiding behind it.

2. Not good enough – until Alisson!

You thought they would build on their display at Old Trafford – instead this was bitterly disappointing.

They dominated possession, worked some good positions and Thiago – in fairness – was really quite excellent with his use of the ball.

But they too often lacked composure at the crucial moment, were pretty lucky not to concede more and, ultimately, weren’t able to do what was required.

Until, well, Alisson!

3 Alisson!

Alisson heads home!
Alisson heads home!

Just wow!

It’s been a tough season for Brazil’s No.1 on a professional and personal level particularly, following the death of his father.

“I am too emotional – this last month – everything that happened with me and my family,” he said post-game.

“Football is my life, I play since I remember with my father.

“I hope that he was here to see it. I’m sure he will have seen it with God on his side, and is celebrating.

“I think it’s the best goal I’ve scored! I’m really happy.”

It’s the only professional goal he’s scored. And what a time to score it!

4. Mane’s post-apology return

Sadio Mane and Mo Salah celebrate
Sadio Mane and Mo Salah celebrate

Having been unhappy at Old Trafford after being left out of the lineup on Thursday, Sadio Mane very publicly snubbed his manager post-game.

Klopp refused to be too hard on the Senegal star in his following press conferences but revealed ahead of kickoff in the West Midlands that Mane had indeed apologised.

It was then expected that Mane, with a point to prove, would really show what he’s about here.

Only, it didn’t quite work out that way. There were good moments, sure, but this was a really inconsistent display from Liverpool’s No.10 that, at times, hindered their attack.

5. Pereira’s class

Matheus Pereira of West Bromwich Albion is closed down by Thiago of Liverpool
Matheus Pereira in action for the Baggies

West Brom will return to the Championship but you have to believe that Matheus Pereira won’t be going with them.

The Brazilian has been their standout player this term and has proven he belongs in the top flight – especially since Allardyce replaced Slaven Bilic.

The Baggies won’t let him go for cheap and he’ll need a buyer willing to pay.

But there’s been enough from him – not least another assist here – to suggest that someone will be more than willing to take the classy playmaker this summer.

6. Golden Boot race ongoing

Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking players aren’t aware of what goes on elsewhere – when Salah stepped onto the grass at the Hawthorns today, he knew Harry Kane had scored for Spurs.

That strike briefly put the England captain ahead of Liverpool’s Egyptian King in the race for the Golden Boot.

But an excellent 20-yard finish got Salah back level pegging here.

Unlike much of this Premier League season – the title race, relegation -this one will go right to the wire.

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