West Brom 1-1 Liverpool: Young Liverpool side unable to ensure European play

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Despite the possibility of European play firmly on the line, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp played a largely reserve lineup for the second straight match.

It didn’t work so well last time out. This time, Jordan Ibe ensured a point, but it wasn’t enough to grab Europa League play as the draw means Liverpool finish eighth, outside a possible Europa League place, leaving them with Champions League or bust.

West Brom took the lead on 14 minutes as 17-year-old Jonathan Leko absolutely carved up the Liverpool barricade, cutting down the middle and finding Salomon Rondon who beat Adam Bogdan at his near post to open the scoring.

It would only last until the 23rd minute, when Jordan Ibe brought Liverpool level all on his own. He picked up a pass over the halfway line on the right, and with acres of space, he charged forward, cut inside, and rifled into the bottom corner to bring Liverpool level.

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Straight off halftime, West Brom nearly went back on top off a set-piece. A free-kick from a good distance out floated into the box, glancing off the head of Rondon. The Venezuelan nearly started celebrating, but the ball clanged the far post and came back out, and his off-balance follow up skied over.

[ MORE: Final Premier League standings ]

The home side had yet another chance on the hour mark. A right-sided cross from Craig Dawson fizzed across the face of goal, just out of reach of Rondon who got a slight touch with his head, but not enough to put it on net. The touch from Rondon also put off Craig Gardner unmarked at the far post, who may have had a shot to touch home had it not glanced off the first man.

The Baggies continued to push for a winner, with a 67th minute corner coming close, but as Dawson rose to meet it, he collided with Bogdan and was unable to make contact.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

A draw means Liverpool finishes the year in eighth on 60 points, two back of West Ham in 7th and three behind Southampton and Manchester United. A one-goal win would have put them level with West Ham and potentially in need of a playoff, while a two-goal or more win would have given them 7th place. 7th position only becomes a Europa League position should Manchester United win the FA Cup.

West Brom, meanwhile, jumps Crystal Palace to finish in 14th on 43 points.