English Premier League: Liverpool drop points at home following late West Bromwich Albion goal

A late header by Semi Ajayi earned struggling West Bromwich Albion a surprise 1-1 Premier League draw at champions and leaders Liverpool, as the defender cancelled out Sadio Mane's early opener for the home side.

The result left Liverpool on 32 points from 15 games, three ahead of second-placed Everton. West Bromwich stayed 19th on eight points but their spirited fightback will have given new boss Sam Allardyce plenty to cheer about.

Liverpool laid siege to the Baggies from the off and it was no surprise that Mane netted in the 12th minute when he chested down a deep Joel Matip pass and swept the ball past goalkeeper Sam Johnstone from 10 metres.

Mane came close to adding a second midway through the first half when he headed wide from close range after a Jordan Henderson cross before Mohamed Salah volleyed inches over the bar from the edge of the penalty area.

West Brom came out with more purpose after the break and Karlan Grant had a sitter saved by Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker before Nigerian centre back Ajayi struck in the 82nd minute against the subdued hosts.

Liverpool conceded a sloppy corner and were punished as Matheus Pereira floated in a delightful cross from the right and Ajayi rose above Fabinho to send a looping header into the back of the net off the post.

Spurs strike quickly but finish with Wolves draw

Tottenham Hotspur scored after just 57 seconds against Wolverhampton Wanderers but Jose Mourinho's men paid for a defensive display during the rest of the game as the hosts rescued a point with a deserved late equaliser.

French midfielder Tanguy Ndombele received the ball well outside the box to fire a sumptuous low shot past Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio for Spurs' dream start.

After an even first half, Spurs dug in for the second period, seeking to demonstrate their new defensive steel under Mourinho as they repelled marauding runs from Adama Traore and trickery by Fabio Silva in the penalty area.

But Wolves were rewarded for their relentless attacking when defender Romain Saiss met a corner ahead of Harry Kane and headed the ball in for 1-1.

Bamford penalty gives Leeds win over Burnley

Patrick Bamford celebrates his goal
Patrick Bamford celebrates his goal Photo credit: Getty

A fifth-minute penalty from Patrick Bamford was enough to give Leeds United a 1-0 win over Burnley at Elland Road in the Premier League, but Sean Dyche's side were left furious after an Ashley Barnes effort was ruled out.

Bamford, who spent a spell on loan at Burnley earlier in his career, drilled home the early spot-kick after referee Robert Jones ruled that Burnley keeper Nick Pope had brought down the Leeds forward.

It was the Leeds man's 10th league goal of the season.

Burnley were flabbergasted, however, when Barnes hooked the ball into the net after Leeds keeper Illan Meslier had failed to reach a high ball into the box, only for the goal to be ruled out.

Jones ruled that Burnley defender Ben Mee had fouled Meslier before the ball fell to Barnes, although replays suggested it had been the keeper who fouled Mee, when he charged out to try to reach a high cross and rammed his knee into Mee's back.

The Clarets dominated after the break but Meslier, who struggled with crosses throughout the game, did well to keep out near post drives from Barnes.

But while Leeds looked well below their best, lacking their usual high-energy approach, Burnley weren't able to turn their possession or Meslier's difficulties in the air into enough clear cut chances.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche entered the field after the final whistle to show his feelings to the referee and not surprisingly felt his team had suffered an injustice.

Dyche was unhappy with both the penalty decision and the disallowed goal.

"I can't see the penalty for Leeds myself - Nick Pope gets a clear foot on it. Football is in an odd place. The one at the other end where we had a goal disallowed, it's not a foul, it can't be a foul. Ben Mee has his eyes on the ball," he said.

"It should be a penalty for us - you can't run and knee someone in the back. I'm very aggrieved by that, those moments are important," he said.

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa declined to comment on the incident but conceded his team had struggled.

"It was very difficult. Burnley could have drawn the game in the second half, they were two different halves. In the first we were able to impose our game, in the second, especially in the last part, it was difficult for us to neutralise their strengths," he said.

Leeds move up to 11th place on 20 points, while Burnley are 16th on 13 points.

Hammers come back twice to earn draw against Brighton

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 27: Ben Johnson of West Ham United celebrates with teammate Aaron Cresswell after scoring their team's first goal during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Brighton & Hove Albion at London Stadium on December 27, 2020 in London, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - Pool/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty

Ben Johnson and Tomas Soucek scored second-half goals as West Ham United twice came back from a goal down to earn a 2-2 draw at home to Brighton and Hove Albion.

Brighton created the early chances at London Stadium and deservedly took the lead just before halftime when striker Neal Maupay pounced on a loose ball in the box to score his first goal since October.

After West Ham failed to record a single attempt on target in the first half, manager David Moyes introduced attacking midfielder Manuel Lanzini and forward Andriy Yarmolenko at the interval.

The attacking duo were instrumental in the build-up to West Ham's equaliser on the hour mark, with wing back Johnson finding the net from close range to mark his first goal for the club.

Centre back Lewis Dunk thought he had won the game for Brighton in the 70th minute when he smashed in his first goal of the season from a quickly taken corner.

But Czech midfielder Soucek came up with his third goal of the month for West Ham when he was left unmarked at a corner and powered home a header with eight minutes left on the clock.

Graham Potter's Brighton had to settle for a fifth draw in their last eight games in the competition. They are in 16th place on 13 points, two points above the relegation zone.

"It is disappointing not to take three points, I felt it was there for us," Potter said. "We didn't defend the corner well for the second goal, and those details punish you at this level.

"We didn't do much wrong. We could have managed the game better. We need to keep working to get three points."

West Ham, who next travel to Southampton, stay 10th in the table and edge up to 22 points from their 15 games.

Reuters