Semi Ajayi scored his first Premier League goal with a second-half header as West Bromwich Albion stunned Liverpool at Anfield, in the process ending a six-year wait to find the back of the net in the English top flight.
The Reds had made a strong start as Sadio Mane put Jurgen Klopp’s men ahead after just 12 minutes of the encounter.
With Cameroonian Joel Matip spotting Ajayi out of position, he found the Senegalese star, who chested the ball down before firing a first-time shot past goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.
However, it was the Super Eagles star who proved to be the Baggies’ hero when he levelled matters for Sam Allardyce’s team – heading a well-taken cross from Matheus Pereira past goalkeeper Alisson Becker, as the reigning English champions were made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal and ultimately had to settle for a share of the spoils in the 1-1 draw.
Interestingly, Ajayi’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.
Among defenders since the start of the 2018-19 season, only Virgil van Dijk and Aaron Pierre (both nine) have scored more headed league goals in England’s top four tiers than West Brom’s Semi Ajayi (eight). pic.twitter.com/WSbxwjKHsA— Shina Oludare 🇳🇬 (@sportingshina) December 27, 2020
Thanks to an impressive spell at Rotherham United, the 27-year-old was snapped up by the Hawthorns side on a four-year deal, before helping them return to the English elite division in 2019/20.
Ajayi began his career at Charlton Athletic before he was sold to Arsenal in 2013 after completing a loan move at Dartford.
At the Emirates Stadium, he struggled to break into the Gunners’ first-team – making just three non-playing substitute appearances for Arsene Wenger’s team, versus Newcastle United, Stoke City and Hull City.
The following season, he was shipped out to Cardiff City on loan until the end of 2014-15 term, but did not feature for the first team. Even at that, his move was made permanent following the end of his contract at Arsenal.
The defensive stalwart also went on loan to AFC Wimbledon, Crewe Alexandre and Rotherham United, before his contract was made permanent by the Millers in 2017.
Despite their latest result, West Brom remain in relegation waters - sitting in the 19th position with just eight points from 15 matches played so far this term, while Klopp’s side occupy the summit even with their slip.
Ajayi and his Baggies teammates would be hoping to draw inspiration from this result when they face Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United on December 29.