Liverpool drop two precious points as Kolo Toure gifts West Brom a goal to draw 1-1 at the Hawthorns.
Liverpool went into the game knowing that a win would take them 4 points clear of Tottenham in 5th place, and just one point shy of Chelsea in 3rd. However, they failed to hit the gears early on and there wasn’t much spark in the opening 15 minutes as both sides struggled for invention and creativity.
However, Liverpool surged ahead through Daniel Sturridge on 24 minutes. Luis Suarez was the architect as he curled in a cross-cum-shot at the back post, beyond the reach of West Brom keeper Ben Foster, and the England international obliged with a tap-in.
The Reds came close to going two up nine minutes later, as the Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster gobbled up the ball on the goal line after a goalmouth scramble from a Suarez corner. Philippe Coutinho and Zoltan Gera both tried their luck from outside of the box, but neither failed to hit the target.
West Brom, who had seemed to be slow in their build up in the first half, stepped up their game a notch, after the break and nearly equalized eight minutes into the second half when a Gareth McAuley header, from a corner, was saved acrobatically by Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
Minutes later, Ben Foster kept the Baggies in the game, as he made a smart stop with his foot to deny Suarez after the striker had dribbled past two defenders.
However, the miss proved to be costly for Liverpool as West Brom equalized from a Kolo Toure howler. The Liverpool Center Back played the ball straight into the feet of Victor Anichebe while attempting a pass across the backline; the Nigerian forward took a touch on the edge of the penalty area before drilling a low shot into the bottom corner past a despairing Mignolet.
Liverpool had a chance to win the game late on when Raheem Sterling played in Sturridge, but he was quickly closed down by Foster to deny the Reds what would almost certainly have been the winner.
Rodgers post-match: WBA 1-1 LIV http://t.co/FfcijlukqN
— TheHardTackle (@TheHardTackle) February 2, 2014
Speaking to the press after the game, he said:
“Defensively, we were very, very good,” he told Sky Sports.
“I’ll never criticise players for trying to play football but Kolo probably shouldn’t have received the ball under pressure and his pass was misplaced.
“But for me, it’s the bravest place on the field as we look to build our play from behind. That has won us many games this season.
“We like to build the game and construct play from behind and sometimes it will cost you and today was unfortunately one of those days.
“Kolo Toure has been brilliant since he’s been here. He’s been a real leader, an outstanding professional and, unfortunately, it was a mistake.”
“I thought that after the control we had in the first half, there wasn’t many chances in the game, but I thought up until the mistake we made we were in control of the game,” he said.
“Maybe we should have been 2-0 up but they pulled it back to 1-1. So it gives them a little bit of momentum and the game is in the balance.
“But it’s a good point. We played some terrific stuff today, the pitch was awful conditions for a Premier League football pitch.
“We played some terrific stuff and created some good chances.
“Overall, I’m disappointed now that we haven’t taken all three points but it’s another point further for us in terms of where we’re wanting to go.”