When Chelsea midfielder Jorginho blew the Premier League’s top-four race wide open with an all-time gaffe, sealing a 1-0 to Arsenal, nobody was in better position to benefit than Liverpool. The Pool Men were suddenly back within striking distance of the top four, and were looking at three extremely winnable games on the rest of their schedule: West Brom away, Burnley away, and Crystal Palace at home. Win those three games, bank the nine points, and Liverpool would almost surely be a lock for a Champions League position.
Liverpool’s path to the top four remains open after today’s 2-1 win over West Brom, but good god did the lads in red insist on making things difficult for themselves. The Baggies, already relegated and having shipped a league-high 70 goals this season, went up early thanks to a nifty run and finish from Hal Robson-Kanu. Mohamed Salah equalized before halftime, and Liverpool seemed well set to grab at least another goal in the second half and end the week just one point behind fourth-place Chelsea.
And then, for more than 45 minutes, that just … didn’t happen. Liverpool kept creating chances and playing hard, but a frustrating number of their attacks ended with someone booting the ball over the crossbar. As the clock ticked closer to the full 90 minutes, it started to look like this just wasn’t going to be Liverpool’s day. But they earned a last-gasp corner in the 95th minute, which allowed Liverpool keeper Alisson to make his way to the other end of the field and provide an extra target in the box. And then this happened:
What a damn header! A keeper entering an opponent’s box on a last-minute corner kick is almost always a sign of futile desperation, but with one perfectly taken header, Alisson turned into a brilliant, season-saving tactical maneuver.
The moment also provided something of a narrative arc to Alisson’s season. It was his horror-show game against Manchester City in February that definitively knocked Liverpool out of the title race, and now it’s his miraculous headed goal that has kept Liverpool’s hopes at salvaging something from the season alive. If Alisson wants to add any more dramatic twists to his campaign at this point, he’ll either have to score two against Burnley or paw the ball into his own net three times.