EPL

Alisson wonderland, Klopp comebacks and withdrawn stars - the Premier League weekend's quirky facts

By Sports Desk May 17, 2021

It's always nice to start with a "thank you".

If you're in the business of picking out some of the most noteworthy and unusual statistics from a Premier League weekend, a goalkeeper scoring the winning goal in stoppage time for one of the most famous clubs in world football does much of the job for you.

Alisson, we salute you.

However, Jarrod Bowen might not be saluting David Moyes, while the current incumbents at Goodison Park have few reasons to be cheerful.

All you need is glove

There was no doubt over the moment of the weekend or, for that matter, the moment of Liverpool's lacklustre season in defence of their Premier League title.

Alisson trotting up from his own half to head home a stunning winner for the ages at West Brom is sure to be replayed countless times over the coming years.

Brazil's number one became the first goalkeeper in Liverpool's 129-year history to score a competitive goal for the club.

He is the sixth goalkeeper to score in the Premier League, joining Peter Schmeichel, Brad Friedel, Paul Robinson, Tim Howard and Asmir Begovic on an exclusive list.

Remarkably, Alisson is the first keeper in the competition to score with his head.

Jurgie time?

The identity of the goalscorer was absurd and, at 94:18, it was Liverpool's latest away winner since Christian Benteke struck against his current employers Crystal Palace in March 2016.

However, Liverpool have made last-gasp winners something of a forte in the Premier League, despite such acts typically being associated with their most bitter rivals.

The Reds have scored 38 winners in second-half stoppage time, 13 more than any other club. Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham all have 25.

This sense of a never-say-die attitude has found fresh impetus under Klopp. Since his appointment in October 2015, Liverpool have recovered 94 points from losing positions – more than any other Premier League club during this time.

Teenage kicking for Carlo

Another game involving a Merseyside club and another unlikely goalscorer, but it was tale of woe for the hosts at Goodison Park.

Relegated Sheffield United beat Everton 1-0 thanks to an early goal from debutant Daniel Jebbison. At 17 years and 309 days, Jebbison became the youngest player to score a match-winning goal since Federico Macheda (17 years and 232 days) did so for Manchester United against Sunderland in April 2009.

There are not too many home comforts for Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti right now. Only Fulham (four) – who, like the Blades, will be playing Championship football next season – have claimed fewer than their six home points in 2021.

Nine home defeats overall is the joint-most Everton have suffered in a league campaign, alongside similarly slim returns in 1912-13, 1947-48, 1950-51 and 1993-94.

Bowen on the board

Jarrod Bowen has enjoyed a productive season at West Ham, scoring eight goals and laying on five assists for David Moyes' men.

The former Hull City favourite might argue he would have been even more use with a few more minutes on the field.

Before the late drama in Saturday's 1-1 draw against Brighton and Hove Albion, Bowen was substituted – the 23rd time this season he has been withdrawn during a match this term.

Aston Villa's Bertrand Traore didn't see the final whistle in the 3-2 weekend loss to Crystal Palace and has made way 22 times – the same amount as Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele.

Daniel Podence (19), Leandro Trossard (16), Alexandre Lacazette, Roberto Firmino and Miguel Almiron (15) are the other men in the division who must most dread the sight of the fourth official's board.

Related items

  • Spain still the great unknown of Euro 2020 after Sweden stalemate Spain still the great unknown of Euro 2020 after Sweden stalemate

    We've wondered throughout the build-up whether Spain are realistic contenders to win Euro 2020. After Monday's goalless draw with Sweden, it feels like we're no closer to an answer.

    La Roja began their quest for a record fourth European Championship title in the hot evening air of Seville's La Cartuja stadium, the sparse crowd in fine voice, the players looking sharp, their early passing as crisp as Luis Enrique's brilliant white shirt.

    Yet so soporific was the heat, humidity and patient midfield build-up that, come the 90th minute, you'd have forgiven every fan in the stands for nodding off.

    That's not to say this was a poor performance from Spain. Rather, it was what we have come to expect over the past 15 years: authority in possession bordering on totalitarian, swarming opponents on the rare occasion the ball got away. Sweden completed two passes in the Spain half in the opening 20 minutes and ended the contest with 14.9 per cent of the ball, easily the lowest recorded figure at this tournament since at least 1980. Unfortunately for Spain, they never looked uncomfortable.

    It was very similar to the goalless draw with Portugal in the warm-up game in Madrid. It also bore a likeness to a match almost exactly eight years ago, when Vicente del Bosque's side started their Confederations Cup campaign against Uruguay in which they had 92 per cent of the ball in the first nine minutes.

    The difference that day was the passing had a purpose. They scored twice but should really have got more, and they only conceded through a spectacular Luis Suarez free-kick. How Luis Enrique would love to have his old Barcelona striker in this side.

    These days, there is no Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Xabi Alonso or Cesc Fabregas in midfield, no roving David Silva and David Villa in attack. It is accepted that this Spain can't do things in quite the same way as that remarkable squad that won consecutive European Championships either side of the 2010 World Cup. They're not expected to play the same way.

    The problem here was that they seemed to try.

    Spain completed 419 passes in the first half alone, the highest figure in the opening 45 minutes of a European Championship game since at least 1980, but conjured only three shots on target. Alvaro Morata wasted the best opening, skewing a shot wide after a rare mistake in the redoubtable Sweden rearguard.

     

    In the second half, that shot count dropped to two on target, both of which came in injury time: a soft header from Gerard Moreno and a snapshot from Pablo Sarabia. The clearest chances fell Sweden's way, the excellent Alexander Isak miscuing a strike onto Marcos Llorente and the post, and Marcus Berg somehow scuffing wide with the goal at his mercy.

    Again, this was not a horrible display of the kind produced at the 2014 World Cup, when Spain opened with a 5-1 loss to the Netherlands. Their control was practically absolute and, had Morata and Koke shown more first-half composure, the contest could have been over at half-time. As with the Portugal match, when Morata hit the bar in the final seconds, the difference between a win and a draw was slim. This is also the team that put six past Germany last November, so it's hardly the time for panic stations.

    The problem is that nobody quite seemed sure what to expect from Spain before these finals, and this was hardly a convincing explanation. Even with Sergio Busquets sidelined and Sergio Ramos watching at home, the ghosts of the old guard permeated this performance – a performance dictated by tradition rather than fresh ideas.

  • Tarkovic praises defence after Slovakia 'neutralise' Lewandowski in shock win Tarkovic praises defence after Slovakia 'neutralise' Lewandowski in shock win

    Stefan Tarkovic praised his Slovakia side for their efforts in "neutralising" Robert Lewandowski during a shock 2-1 Euro 2020 win over Poland.

    Slovakia claimed only their second European Championship victory as an independent nation thanks to Milan Skriniar's 69th-minute winner in St Petersburg on Monday.

    An own goal from Wojciech Szczesny, which followed great work from Robert Mak, gave Slovakia a first-half lead that was cancelled out 32 seconds into the second half by Karol Linetty.

    But Grzegorz Krychowiak's red card turned the game back in Slovakia's favour and Skriniar's third goal in his last four games for Slovakia secured the three points.

    Key to Slovakia's success was Lewandowski's lack of influence. He had the fewest touches of any Poland outfield player in the first half (22) and finished with 39. None of his five shots hit the target, meaning he has still not scored in a major tournament since Euro 2016.

    Asked about how they shut down a striker who broke Gerd Muller's Bundesliga record with 41 goals in the 2020-21 season, Tarkovic told a media conference: "I think the whole team played very well, we prepared for Poland's attack very responsibly and of course Lewandowski plays a decisive role in the final third. 

    "Skriniar did not personally mark Lewandowski, but the duels with him and other players such as Peter Pekarik and Lubomir Satka, I'm really happy they managed to neutralise such a great player as Lewandowski.

    "After this win, there will be even more pressure to make it from the group. For me it wasn't really about the result, it was about showing what we are capable of. We will enjoy this win but tomorrow we are starting to prepare for Sweden.

    "This means a lot for me, I think it means a lot for all the people that have prepared together with us, the coaching staff, everyone around the team. 

    "We spent three weeks together and we had time to focus on the things we wanted to concentrate on. There are still two difficult games for us but what's really good is that the co-operation is working and the players want to show the country of Slovakia and the fans that they want to fight for Slovakia."

  • Germany receive Goretzka boost as Low prepares for tough French test Germany receive Goretzka boost as Low prepares for tough French test

    Joachim Low believes Germany have the right mix in attack to cause France problems as the two heavyweight nations prepare to do battle at Euro 2020.

    Tuesday's huge clash pits the previous two World Cup winners against each other in Munich, with reigning European champions Portugal and Hungary the other nations in Group F.

    France have been boosted by the international return of Karim Benzema, the Real Madrid striker joining Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud - who is five goals shy of Thierry Henry's record of 51 goals for Les Bleus - as attacking options for head coach Didier Deschamps to utilise.

    However, on the eve of the contest, Low has made clear he is not short of talent in his own squad, meaning defenders for both sides will have to be on high alert at all times.

    "It's obvious we also have a lot of qualities in our team, a good balance and the right mix in attack," Low told the media on Monday.

    "We have a lot of quality. Timo Werner, Leroy Sane, these are players who can decide matches. Kai Havertz, Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry too.

    "I think both attacks are a real threat, you shouldn't let them out of sight.

    "You have to be focused every minute, because all of these players can score and be decisive."

    Leon Goretzka could be involved in his country's opening fixture having trained with his team-mates as he continues his recovery from a torn muscle.

    "It's only Jonas Hofmann who is not available. All other players have joined in with training, Leon as well was with us," Low said when asked for a squad update.

    "I think he [Goretzka] trained four or five sessions with the team, overall he gave a good impression and he doesn't feel anything from his injury.

    "He won't be risked, but I've said to Leon we will talk after our final training session. It's clear that he won't be in the starting XI just because the break he's had is too long.

    "We will talk and take a decision over whether he can be on the bench, maybe give him some minutes. We will talk with the medical department about him too, I just wanted him to participate in training and if something wasn't going well he could tell me."

    For Low, this is the start of his farewell tour with the national team. He will step down once the tournament is over but hopes to be celebrating after his final game in charge.

    "I don't think about it that it's my last tournament, my last matches. I'm just too focused on preparations for this tournament," he said. 

    "I'm focused on this year, maybe in a few weeks, hopefully when we've won the tournament, then I might be sad. But not at the moment, I'm focused on our task here."

    Low's former assistant Hansi Flick will take over after Euro 2020.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.