Brendan Rodgers has attempted to paint Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion as a point gained rather than two lost…
In stark contrast to the midweek 4-0 win over neighbours Everton, Liverpool put on a largely subdued display at The Hawthorns on Sunday.
Despite taking the lead against West Brom midway through the first half, courtesy of Daniel Sturridge, the Reds failed to build on the advantage and find a crucial second.
The Baggies improved dramatically after the break and forced Kop keeper Simon Mignolet into a number of top saves.
An equaliser arrived in the 67th minute when a massive mistake by Kolo Toure allowed Victor Anichebe a sight of goal which he took decisively.
Both sides looked for a winner but none was forthcoming as the Reds missed an opportunity to extend their advantage in the race for fourth.
Reflecting on the outcome at his post-match press conference, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers told reporters: “We had good control of the game – there weren’t many chances but I always felt that we dominated possession and looked dangerous with the ball.
“It was just one of those unfortunate things where we made the mistake and we got punished for it. Hopefully in the future we’ll see it as a point gained.
“It tells you everything about our expectancy now; we came here and lost, and lost at home to West Brom, last year. So to get four points out of six shows the improvement.
“For us to be disappointed with a point away from home in the Barclays Premier League shows the growth of the team. We’ve done brilliantly up until this point.
“We’ve got 14 games to go and we’re still in a great position, with big games to play, and the squad is very focused on our objectives. I’m very happy with the players that I have here and we’ll fight right until the end to arrive where we want to.”
Fortunately the dropped points were not punished by others as much as they could have been with both Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United also failing to win.
Everton did bounce back from their retched Merseyside Derby experience with a narrow win over Aston Villa which puts them back up to fifth; two points behind Liverpool.
Asked to elaborate on his thoughts about Toure’s mistake, Rodgers was keen to talk about the collective and the positives of his footballing philosophy.
“Sometimes it’s the price you pay when you try to play football,” commented the 41-year-old. “He shouldn’t have received the ball in the first place, it wasn’t the time for him to receive it. But that’s part of our learning.
“I just said to the team that we’re in the position that we are because over the last 18 months we have shown the courage and bravery that we can play football.
“Part of that is to build the game from behind. Unfortunately, for the first time this season, we got punished for that. He is an experienced guy, so he obviously knows that it was a mistake.
“He’s devastated because he’s a conscientious guy. But there’s no blame for the courage that he had to receive the ball – he has misplaced the pass. It was a good finish by Anichebe, he finished it well.
“Unfortunately for us, it has cost us two points – but hopefully we’ll see it as a point gained at the end of the season.
“There are times when you have to go slightly longer in your build-up, it’s not forced upon them – it’s just the decision-making. Will I ever ask a player, when he’s in maybe 20 yards of space, to not accept and receive the ball?
“Never, because that’s how we work and how we play. It’s an exciting way to play football; sometimes it will hurt us. But it wasn’t so much the playing out from the back, it was just the decision-making today.”
Liverpool are next in action on Saturday lunchtime when current league leaders Arsenal visit Anfield.
In what is going to be a pivotal period in the season, the two will meet again the following weekend when the Merseysiders travel to London for a fifth round FA Cup tie.
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