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English Premier League

Firmino fires Liverpool back to third in Premier League

Close-range header in first-half stoppage time settles scrappy game against West Brom

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 April, 2017, 11:45pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 April, 2017, 11:45pm

Roberto Firmino fired Liverpool to a 1-0 victory at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday that moved Juergen Klopp’s men back into third place in the English Premier League.

Firmino settled a scrappy game with a close-range header in first-half stoppage time to condemn Albion boss Tony Pulis to his first ever home league defeat against the Reds.

The Brazilian converted a flick-on from Lucas Leiva to seal a fifth win in their last seven games for Liverpool.

They are unbeaten since losing at Leicester in late February and now lead fourth-placed Manchester City by two points, although Pep Guardiola’s team have a game in hand in the race for an automatic spot in the Champions League group stage.

A rare chance for Pulis’ side came with 12 minutes remaining as Jake Livermore dragged a shot well wide of Simon Mignolet’s goal.

But two minutes later they should have been level after Liverpool gifted possession to Salomon Rondon, who moved towards goal before feeding Matt Phillips.

The winger connected well with his shot but it was smothered low down by Mignolet.

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Liverpool substitute Alberto Moreno wasted a golden opportunity in stoppage time when, with West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster forward for a corner, he led a Liverpool counter-attack but opted to shoot from distance at an open goal and missed, with teammates screaming for a pass.

“It was a big win against a good, tall team,” said Liverpool manager Klopp. “We played really well from the first second.

“We needed to adapt to what West Brom wanted to do. In all our plans it was ‘no set pieces. no set pieces, no set pieces’.”

Pulis said: “We are disappointed. I thought we did enough to get a point. The goal really knocked us. It took us 20 minutes, in which time they had some good opportunities.