Remembering when Sam Allardyce inflicted Liverpool's last Premier League home defeat

Ali Rampling
When Sam Allardyce last beat Liverpool
When Sam Allardyce last beat Liverpool / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
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West Brom at home is not a fixture that strikes fear into many Premier League teams this season.

The Baggies are marooned in the relegation zone having taken seven points from a possible 42 thus far, and they have not won on their travels since a 3-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday in July.

The fixture would definitely not strike fear into Liverpool given the imperious home record the Reds boast.

Jurgen Klopp's side are in the midst of a club record unbeaten home league run, going 66 games without tasting defeat in the Premier League at Anfield - a run stretching back to 23 April 2017.

Even the managerial change that West Brom invoked in December should do little to stress out the Liverpool faithful. The Baggies pressed the Big Sam button in an attempt to haul themselves to safety, but for all his expertise in staving off relegation, Allardyce's record against the Reds is not the most illustrious.

The former England manager has played Liverpool on 30 occasions, losing 16 and winning just six times.

However, the last time he did get the better of Liverpool - and the only occasion in his 29-year managerial career that he has won a Premier League fixture at Anfield - was 23 April 2017.

Palace beat Liverpool 2-1 in April 2017
Palace beat Liverpool 2-1 in April 2017 / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Allardyce's Crystal Palace remain the last side to leave Anfield with all three points in the top flight after the ex Bolton manager masterminded a 2-1 win - with 28% possession.

The match day squads for the encounter is a telling reminder of the progress Liverpool have made under Klopp. The German had been in the Anfield hot seat for a little over 18 months and at this stage they were roughly halfway to transitioning into the world class outfit that Klopp would eventually mould them into.

James Milner was there because of course he was, diligently putting in a shift at left back. Georginio Wijnaldum started in the heart of the Liverpool midfield, Nathanial Clyne was keeping a teenage Trent Alexander-Arnold out of the team, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho led the line alongside Divock Origi, and Simone Mignolet was in goal.

It was Klopp's first full season in charge and the Reds were chasing Champions League football. Prior to kick off they sat third, three points clear of Manchester United in fifth - but the Red Devils had a game in hand.

Klopp was still in the early stages of his Liverpool tenure
Klopp was still in the early stages of his Liverpool tenure / JUSTIN TALLIS/Getty Images

For Palace, much of their spine today remained the same three and a half years ago, with Luka Milivojevic and Wilfried Zaha both starting, while they were also afforded the luxury of bringing on Damien Delaney as an 83rd minute super sub.

The Eagles had been embroiled in a relegation battle for much of the campaign, with Allardyce - fresh from his one game stint as England boss - parachuted in to replace Alan Pardew in December.

The Allardyce effect had really taken hold in February as Palace won five in seven, including victories over Chelsea and Arsenal (a slightly bigger achievement back in 2017), to put themselves in the driving seat to avoid the drop.

However, it was Liverpool who struck first at Anfield, taking the lead after 24 minutes through a stunning Coutinho free kick from range. This would be the only shot on target the Reds would register all game.

Coutinho gave Liverpool the lead with a stunning solo effort
Coutinho gave Liverpool the lead with a stunning solo effort / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

While Liverpool were severely lacking in cutting edge, up the other end their former striker was having the absolute time of his life.

Christian Benteke, one of the fist casualties of the Klopp rebuilding project, had been cast onto the Anfield scrap heap the previous summer.

Bought for £32.5m by Brendan Rodgers in 2015, the Reds had opted to take the hit and sell him to Palace for £27m a year later.

Benteke latched onto a Yohan Cabaye cross from the right flank on the stroke of half time and side footed a half volley into the roof of the net with his left foot right in front of the Kop to level the scores.

Benteke was the match winner
Benteke was the match winner / GEOFF CADDICK/Getty Images

And 16 minutes from time, a static Liverpool failed to deal with Andros Townsend's in swinging corner, Benteke was about the only alert person in the penalty area and he easily escaped the attentions of Emre Can before sending a stooped header past Mignolet.

It was a vintage Big Sam win and the perfect return to Anfield for Benteke. Palace would comfortably survive relegation but Allardyce left at the end of the season, while Liverpool found the defeat so harrowing that they vowed never to lose at home in the Premier League again.

Will Allardyce work his magic and be the man to break the Anfield spell?


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