West Brom and Liverpool drew 1-1 at The Hawthorns in the final game of the season. Salomon Rondon opened the scorer, but a wonderful Jordon Ibe solo goal meant both teams left with a point.
West Brom were unchanged from the side that drew 1-1 with Bournemouth last Saturday. In contrast, Liverpool made eleven changes from the side which drew with Chelsea on Wednesday; Bogdan returned to goal, Flanagan was in the back four, and Ojo and Ibe supported Benteke in attack.
The biggest news, however, was on the Liverpool bench. Jordan Henderson took his place after being injured against Borussia Dortmund, while Danny Ings was also given a space after injuring knee ligaments in Klopp’s first training session last October.
West Brom started the better, and after 13 minutes they grabbed the lead thanks to Salomon Rondon. 17-year-old winger Jonathan Leko was the architect, with a magical run that saw him weave through the Liverpool defence before slipping the ball to Rondon to finish. Joe Allen and Adam Bogdan both hung their hands – Allen for a sloppy pass that set up the move, and the Hungarian keeper for getting beaten too easily at his near post.
— Football Fever (@footballfeverh1) May 15, 2016
Ten minutes later and Liverpool were level, as Jordon Ibe scored his first ever Premier League goal. He gave Jonny Evans the slip on the half-way line, they drove at the West Brom defence. Next, he left Jonas Olsson in his wake, then fired a well-placed shot past the helpless Ben Foster.
— The LFC Lane (@TheLFCLane) May 15, 2016
There was little goal-mouth action in the rest of the half. Allen smashed a 35-yard effort well wide and Benteke fired a free-kick into the wall, while James McClean picked up a stupid booking for the hosts.
West Brom almost retook the lead less than 60 seconds after the restart. Rondon rose highest to meet a free-kick, but it bounced back off the post and he was unable to guide the rebound into the back of the net.
Ten minutes later Rondon almost managed to get his head on the end of a Leko cross, but it ultimately drifted out for a goal kick.
With twenty five minutes to go, Liverpool introduced their comeback kids – Jordan Henderson and Danny Ings. The latter got a warm ripple of a applause from all sections of the stadium.
Liverpool had a penalty appeal with 15 minutes to go as Henderson was tripped when he tried to get on the end of a cross, but Bobby Madley waved it away.
Neither side could ultimately find a winner, despite Liverpool giving a late debut to former Barcelona youth player Sergi Canos.
The result means Liverpool end the season in eighth place. They need to beat Sevilla to secure European football next term. West Brom end the season in 14th.
Liverpool have one game left – the Europa League final against Sevilla in Basel on Wednesday night. It will be their 63rd game of the season, more than any other top-flight club around Europe.
West Brom will now slink away for the summer, ready to improve on a run which saw them win just one of the their final ten league games.