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Jurgen Klopp puts Liverpool’s blown two-goal lead at 20th place West Bromwich Albion down to water.
[ RECAP: WBA 2-2 Liverpool ]
Liverpool went ahead 2-0 late in the second half when Mohamed Salah equalled the single season Premier League goal record.
But the Baggies struck twice in the final 11 minutes and out shot the Reds 13-9 over 90 minutes to pluck a point.
That sort of performance can serve them well in the Championship, Klopp said, clearly displeased with both teams.
“It was a difficult game as the pitch got drier and drier,” he said. “West Brom decided not to water the pitch at half-time and that makes it difficult. It makes a massive difference. A team like West Brom do not need a wet pitch, they can do it next year playing on a dry pitch in the Championship.”
This wasn’t about dry turf, but Klopp will have wanted to avoid discussing Liverpool’s quarter-hour regression to a side that struggles to defend and blows lead.
All that said, he only had one of his preferred back four on the field, and a UEFA Champions League date with Roma ahead on Tuesday. But competitors are competitors and cannot dodge distaste for dropped points.
He’ll be fine given a few days, saying the match stings now but won’t affect their upcoming Anfield night in the UCL.
Crystal Palace can all but clinch Premier League safety with an away win over Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)
Watford: Karnezis; Mariappa, Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas; Hughes, Capoue, Doucouré, Pereyra; Deeney, Okaka. Subs: Gomes, Britos, Femenía, Janmaat, Richarlison, Sinclair, Gray.
Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt, Loftus-Cheek, Milivojevic, Cabaye, McArthur, Townsend, Zaha. Subs: Speroni, Kelly, Wan-Bissaka, Riedewald, Lee, Benteke, Sorloth.
- Salah equals Liverpool’s club-record of 31 PL goals in a single season
- Liverpool unbeaten in last 10 PL games v. West Brom
- West Brom eight points from safety
West Bromwich Albion fought back from 2-0 down late on to draw 2-2 against Liverpool at the Hawthorns on Saturday as Jurgen Klopp‘s men threw away three points.
Despite the point West Brom are still eight points off safety with three games to go and remain bottom of the table as they can be relegated on Sunday if results for Swansea and Crystal Palace go against them. Liverpool lost ground in the race for second place with the late collapse.
[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]
Liverpool got off to a perfect start as a short corner set Mane free and his cross into the box found Georginio Wijnaldum who set up Ings to slam home his first PL goal for Liverpool since 2015. What a moment for the England international who has been through injury hell.
Soon after Salah cut inside from the right and curled an effort towards the top corner which was deflected just wide.
[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]
Ings nodded over a difficult chance, Salah sent a free kick just wide and Ings had another effort well smothered by Ben Foster, but West Brom battled their way back into the game as James McClean‘s effort across goal was almost tapped home by Jay Rodriguez.
Liverpool were just about worthy of their half time lead.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
The second half featured a few flash points early on as Craig Dawson appeared to bring down Ings in the box but nothing was given, then Ahmed Hegazi appeared to punch Ings off the ball but referee Stuart Attwell missed the incident.
Salah then seemed to put the game beyond doubt as he finished off a through ball from substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to give Liverpool a 2-0 lead and take this tally to 41 for the season in all competitions.
[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]
West Brom gave themselves hope late on as a looped ball to the back post found Rodriguez and he hooked it back in for Livermore to make it 2-1.
The Baggies then equalized as Rondon headed home to set up a wild finish, but they couldn’t grab a dramatic winner as their relegation from the Premier League is all but confirmed.
For the first time in almost 22 years Arsenal will have to start a managerial search.
And if you believe the reports, Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis has been busy on this for at least a few months with candidates lined up.
[ MORE: WENGER’S DEPARTURE ]
Speaking at a press conference on Friday after Wenger’s announcement that he will step down as Arsenal’s manager at the end of the season, Gazidis revealed the qualities he and the Arsenal board are looking for in a new manager.
“Tomorrow we have to start thinking about how we move forward. We are going to take what Arsene has given us and continue the values he has instilled,” Gazidis said. “It’s going to be a condensed summer with the World Cup in the middle of it. Having clarity sooner is better. We want someone who plays progressive, exciting football that gets people interested and excited in games we play. Another significant piece is how the candidate represents the club and it must be someone who gives youth a chance.”
That’s a pretty long wish list, Ivan.
The crux of this is that Arsenal want to get this sorted quickly but it seems like they may wait until after the World Cup to see who’s available.
Joachim Loew would be the main man they would wait for, but the likes of Carlo Ancelotti and Brendan Rodgers could come in soon and get started on LAW (Life After Wenger) ASAP.
Rodgers seems to tick the most boxes out of the candidates mentioned so far, with the current Celtic boss always keen to promote youngster and he has always produced exciting, attacking teams at Liverpool and Swansea in the past.
Yet Ancelotti would be a safe hire with his glut of trophies and his experience of managing huge clubs, something owner Stan Kroenke would surely favor in order to safeguard his investments. Get ready for weeks of speculation about Wenger’s successor but it appears Arsenal want to move on quickly as Gazidis has a big decision to make.
But as we saw when Sir Alex Ferguson was replaced at Manchester United, the man replacing a legendary figure such as Wenger will have a huge task to steady the ship, let alone turn Arsenal back into a top four force.
Perhaps the second manager to come in will have greater success as younger managers, and former Arsenal midfielders, Patrick Vieira and Mikel Arteta have been mentioned.