Liverpool have taken one step closer to the Champions League after they managed to beat West Brom thanks to a single Roberto Firmino goal.
It wasn’t the most exciting game to watch, but the Reds dug in and showed that they have the right to supplement their undoubted quality in the final third.
They have made sure that a healthy gap remains between them and the chasing pack, which is crucial at this stage of the season.
Here are three things that we learnt at the Hawthorns…
Jurgen Klopp’s side have real fighting spirit
They have been excellent to watch this season, but there have been doubts about the team’s ability to dig in and grind out results.
Although they have managed to sustain an impressive record against the rest of the top six, they have been fallible in matches against teams lower down the table.
Defeats against Leicester City and Hull City set them back in their title chase, but they weren’t going to be beaten on Sunday afternoon.
They completed 21 tackles and 18 interceptions, which was more than their opposition. This is very impressive, considering that they also dominated possession with nearly 64%.
This was an important win for Liverpool as they continue to lead the way ahead of Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal. The matches in hand that the other teams have are a massive advantage and mean that the Reds can’t rest easily.
All they can do is win the matches that they have to play and hope to get enough points.
They are in a strong position and they will be confident of seeing out the season in the top four. However, this performance underlines the determination and desire to get the team over the line.
West Brom are on the beach
The Baggies have had a superb season and are currently in 8th position in the league table. However, there will be a lot of disappointment around the Hawthorns that the side haven’t pushed on after reaching 40 points.
They have only taken four points from their last five matches and they aren’t playing with the same desire that they showed earlier in the season.
This is a common characteristic that Tony Pulis’ sides have shown down the years and it won’t be surprising that it is happening to West Brom again this season.
They completed less than half of their attempted tackles and won only 22 of the 45 aerial duels. These are normally areas that the Baggies will dominate, but that wasn’t the case on Sunday afternoon.
The entire team under-performed and it will be a concern for supporters heading into the final few matches.
With five matches to go, they have the opportunity to finish in the top eight of the Premier League and that should be enough motivation for the players.
Lucas Leiva won’t be short of offers in the summer
The Brazilian is unlikely to remain at Anfield next year as his contract is set to expire at the end of the season.
He has been a bit-part player since Jurgen Klopp took over at the club, but he has been asked to come in during recent weeks in the absences of Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana. T
he midfielder has done well and deserves credit for his performance against West Brom in particular.
Throughout the match, he completed four ball recoveries and won three aerial duels, making a few key contributions to ensure his side kept their clean sheet in tact.
It was his role in the goal that was most important to this match’s outcome as he got the assist for Roberto Firmino.
The goal came as a result of an excellently-worked set piece, as Lucas won the knock on for Firmino to slot home. It was even more impressive as it came against West Brom, a side known for their ability from set pieces.
If he does leave Anfield as expected this summer, there will be a number of teams interested, especially after his performances over the last few weeks.
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