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Albion 1 Liverpool 1


15:10 2nd February 2014

Anichebe leveller earns Baggies precious point

SUPER-SUB Victor Anichebe’s second Albion goal saw Pepe Mel’s men come from behind to earn a precious point against the in-form Reds.

It was a sweet moment for the former Everton man as he stepped off the bench on 64 and within three minutes cancelled out Daniel Sturridge’s 24th-minute opener.

It was a fully deserved draw for the hosts against a Liverpool team who arrived at The Hawthorns on the back of a midweek 4-0 thumping of the Toffees.

And it was fair result with both goalkeepers regularly called upon in the second half.

Simon Mignolet made crucial saves from Gareth McAuley and Chris Brunt, while Foster thwarted Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge in front of England manager Roy Hodgson watching from the stands.

Mel made five changes - two enforced - to his starting XI.

Billy Jones, Gareth McAuley, Zoltan Gera, Saido Berahino and Matej Vydra were all drafted in, while Brendan Rodgers named an unchanged Reds line-up.

The Baggies started positively and when Jonas Olsson headed Chris Brunt’s 17th-minute corner back across the 18-yard box, Gera teed up Mulumbu, whose 20-yard goalbound volley was just blocked by Steven Gerrard.

Liverpool had shown little – but it was they who took the lead on 24 when Luis Suarez showed good footwork on the right-hand side of the box and chipped the ball to the back post for Daniel Sturridge to tap into an empty net.

Three minutes later Suarez whipped a 25-yard free-kick just wide of Ben Foster’s right-hand post.

Berahino gifted the visitors the ball in the 33rd minute and Raheem Sterling picked up the loose ball before running at the Baggies’ defence and seeing his low 20-yard strike deflect wide off Gareth McAuley.

From the resultant Gerrard corner Aly Cissokho could not get control of the ball in the six-yard box and Foster was able to pounce.

The Reds launched a counter-attack on 39 but Albion did not look in danger until Cissokho managed to squeeze past McAuley on the left-hand touchline.

The France international raced towards the box – but fortunately Olsson was on hand to prevent his cross reaching Suarez.

Moments later Olsson was forced off through injury and was replaced by Diego Lugano.

Two minutes before the break good play saw Berahino find Gera 20 yards out and he let fly with a shot that sailed just wide of the left-hand post.

Albion produced some tremendous play down the right on 52 and Gera found Mulumbu in space.

The DR Congo international delivered a back-post cross that Brunt fired goalwards – but saw Jon Flanagan block.

From the resultant flag-kick from the left McAuley towered above Martin Skrtel from Brunt’s back-post delivery six yards out, only to see Simon Mignolet pull off a world-class one-hand save.

Foster kept his side in the game on 59.

A long punt upfield bounced favourably for Suarez as Lugano challenged him and the Barclays Premier League’s top scorer then tricked his way past McAuley before seeing the England goalkeeper stick out a left leg to deny him a goal.

Mel made a change in the 64th minute as Berahino made way for Victor Anichebe.

The former Everton man made an instant impact as Kolo Toure fouled him on the edge of the box.

From the resultant free-kick Mignolet flung himself low to his right to keep out Brunt’s fierce strike.

But the hosts’ frustrations came to an end in the 67th minute when Toure inexplicably played a sloppy ball across the face of his own box.

Anichebe pounced before driving his 18-yard shot sspast the despairing dive of Mignolet and into the bottom left-hand corner of the net to level.

Mel made his final change on 76 as Vydra made way for Graham Dorrans.

Skrtel pulled the ball back from Gerrard’s free-kick two minutes later and substitute Joe Allen drilled on a low shot that Foster did well to hold.

Seconds later Yacob gave the ball away to Sterling and he played in Sturridge, whose effort was stopped by Foster at his feet.

Brunt then blocked Sterling’s shot from the rebound.

Albion's defence was called upon one more time as Lugano threw his body in the way of Skrtel's drive just inside the 18-yard box.

ALBION (4-2-1-3): Foster; Billy Jones, McAuley, Olsson (41), Ridgewell; Yacob, Mulumbu; Gera; Berahino (Anichebe 64), Vydra (Dorrans 76), Brunt (c). Subs not used: Myhill (gk), Reid, Sinclair, Amalfitano.

LIVERPOOL (4-1-3-2): Mignolet; Flanagan (Kelly 74), Skrtel, Toure, Cissokho; Gerrard (c); Sterling, Henderson, Coutinho (Allen 74); Suarez, Sturridge. Subs not used: Brad Jones (gk), Kelly, Ibes, Alberto, Aspas, Moses.

GOALS: ALBION – Anichebe (67); LIVERPOOL – Sturridge (24).

BOOKINGS: ALBION – Yacob (persistent fouling 15), Ridgewell (foul 63), Mulumbu (foul 82), Lugano (foul 86); LIVERPOOL – Suarez (foul 74), Gerrard (foul 81).

REFEREE: K Friend (Leicestershire).


ALBION STARMAN: Youssouf Mulumbu.

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