Semi Ajayi revels in maiden EPL goal vs Liverpool
Semi Ajayi is pleased to have scored his first English Premier League goal as West Bromwich Albion held reigning champions Liverpool to a 1-1 draw on Sunday evening.
In the keenly contested affair at Anfield, Sadio Mane gave Jurgen Klopp’s men a 12th minute lead thanks to a cool finish past goalkeeper Sam Johnstone after profiting from a fine assist from Joel Matip.
Despite dominating ball possession for a large part of the game, the hosts were unable to get more goals as Sam Allardyce’s team put up a strong defensive network.
However, the Baggies refused to go down without a fight as Nigeria international Ajayi levelled matters in the 82nd minute thanks to a Matheus Pereira cross.
Ajayi ends lifelong Premier League wait as West Brom hold Liverpool
In the process, he ended his wait for his maiden goal in England’s top-flight.
Remarkably, the 27-year-old’s effort ranks him behind only Liverpool’s Vigil van Dijk and Aaron Pierre (both nine) as defenders who have scored the most headed goals in England’ top four tiers since the commencement of the 2018-2019 campaign.
Buoyed by his goalscoring performance against the Klopp’s side, the former Rotherham United and Cardiff City man took to social media to celebrate his first strike in England’s premier club championship.
“First Premier League goal! God is great,” Ajayi wrote on Instagram.
In his assessment, West Brom’s boss Sam Allardyce was pleased seeing his players’ hard work pay off.
“I think that everyone has seen we showed a lot of resilience today to keep ourselves in the game and we kept trying to do the right things,” Allardyce told club website.
“Defensively, apart from the slip up for the goal we were excellent. I think a change of tactics about 30 minutes in, putting Grant up front gave us a bit more of an out ball rather than everybody just getting pegged back. It started to work a little bit by him holding it up and us getting in to Liverpool’s half. In the second half I think we expanded on that.”
Even at their latest result, the Baggies stay in relegation waters – sitting in the 19th spot with just eight points from 15 outings played so far in the 2020-21 campaign.
Ajayi began his career with Charlton Athletic before joining Arsenal in 2013 after completing a season-long loan spell at Dartford.
His inability to get a regular playing time at the Emirates Stadium saw him join Cardiff City before the move was made permanent following the expiration of his Gunners’ deal.