West Brom is through to the next round of the FA Cup after stunning Liverpool 3-2.
West Brom advanced to the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday night after a memorable 90 minutes of action at Anfield.
Roberto Firmino opened the scoring and was abruptly canceled out by a stinging Jay Rodriguez sucker-punch. Rodriguez made it two shortly after and a third came eventually though a Joël Matip own goal.
Mo Salah got his side back into the game midway into the second half but his efforts proved futile as West Brom held firm to get the win.
Liverpool went into Saturday's match with something to prove having lost to relegation-battling Swansea on Monday, though the Reds have been in tantalizing form in previous games and unsurprisingly were the favorites on the night to advance.
Alan Pardew's side has picked up the pace a little after the dismissal of Tony Pulis, with only the one defeat in their last five games and will surely be treating any success in the FA Cup as a bonus, with their minds fully geared towards Premier League survival.
Liverpool got the game underway at the unusual Saturday night hour of 19:45 with VAR being deployed for the sixth time in English football.
Fans didn't have to wait long for the game to come alive with both teams scoring before the ten-minute mark. A poor defensive pass from West Brom found Salah in on goal; his saved shot finding the path of Firmino who calmly chipped the goalie to make it 1-0. Only seconds later Rodriguez collected a loose ball on the edge of Liverpool's box and smashed it into the top corner to equalize, half a chance at best.
Only moments after, West Brom fans were blissfully dumfounded as their team hit another passed a confused Liverpool side. Paris Saint-Germain loanee Grzegorz Krychowiak did well to work the ball out to the left and once again Rodriguez found the ball in a great position, not missing the chance to put his team ahead.
The game looked to calm down for a while after an explosive start but it wasn't long before the unrelenting eventfulness resumed with a Craig Dawson header being ruled out through the VAR system. This time the new technology was spot on as Gareth Barry proved to be inches offside, the defender obstructing the view of the goalie and thus involved in the play.
If the game started off exciting, by the 20th minute it was getting bizarre. Pawson made use of the VAR system yet again after Jake Livermore had brought down Salah in the box. After a long few minutes of deliberation, the ref pointed to the spot as fans continued to be presented with this new kind of football viewing. Firmino stepped up and put the first VAR awarded penalty in English football onto the woodwork.
It took the injury of two West Brom players around the 35-minute mark to slow the pace of the game. Both Kieran Gibbs and Hal Robson-Kanu pulled up with muscle strains and were replaced by Ahmed Hegazi and Matt Phillips - who saw their team into the tunnel with a 3-1 lead after Liverpool's backline was breached yet again.
The ref deployed the VAR system for a third time in the first half after suspicions of an offside goal from a Craig Dawson shot—which was awarded as a Joel Matip own goal on review.
The game continued to provide the talking points in the early minutes of the second half as the substitute, Hegazi, might have seen red after making a poor tackle on Firmino, whilst the VAR system was back out again - however this time it was a brief affair as about six West Brom players were offside following an attack.
West Brom persisted to impress as Liverpool were prevented from grabbing any sort of hold over the flow of play.
Jürgen Klopp had had enough of his team's performance around the 65-minute mark and subsequently brought on James Milner, Danny Ings and Jordan Henderson in the hope of turning the game around, with Sadio Mané, Emre Can and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all making way after disappointing performances.
As the game drew closer to a close, West Brom returned to their defensive roles with all players sitting deep, hoping to see the game out. Liverpool continued to go through the middle and was able to create some decent chances but the away side held firm as the crowd grew increasingly anxious.
Liverpool eventually found their lucky break in the 77th minute through Salah, who was found with the ball just outside the six-yard box after a half-hearted cross from the right. The Egyptian wasted no time in slotting the ball to the right of Ben Foster and the home side was back in the game.
Liverpool continued to pile on the pressure but West Brom's defense held firm and the away side now look to the fifth round of this year's FA Cup action.