EPL Results: Mistakes Will Happen with Possession-Based Game, Says Brendan Rodgers After West Brom Hold Liverpool
By Deepak Vikraman | February 3, 2014 4:02 PM EST
"A point gained" was the stance that Brendan Rodgers took after seeing his Liverpool side succumb to a 1-1 draw at West Brom in the English Premier League on Sunday.
The Reds were seemingly on their way to three points courtesy Daniel Sturridge's early goal, but a loss in concentration from the away side allowed Victor Anichebe to nip in and ensure a share of the spoils.
"It's always nice to score but it makes it that extra bit sweeter against Liverpool," former Everton striker Anichebe said. "I was at Everton for a long time and it was nice to help them.
"Of course it means something but now it's more important to help West Brom. It was nice to help this team. The team fought well.
"I had a feeling we would get a good result after the teams around us did well [on Saturday]. It was important we got a good result and it's important we take that into our next game."
West Brom are just a point above the relegation zone at the moment, while Liverpool were unable to increase the gap from fifth-placed Everton by more than a point thanks to the draw.
Rodgers, though, looked at the bright side of the result, emphasising the improvement Liverpool have shown over the past year, after taking four out of a possible six points against West Brom this season, after the Baggies had managed a double in the last campaign.
"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," Rodgers said. "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."
Kolo Toure was the man in the spotlight for West Brom's equaliser, playing a weak pass across the line which allowed Anichebe to steal the ball and slot it past Simon Mignolet. Rodgers, however, refused to lay the blame on Toure alone, insisting the way Liverpool play, with an emphasis on possession, such mistakes come with the territory.
"Sometimes it's the price to pay when you try to play football," the Northern Irishman added. "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."
For West Brom and Pepe Mel, it was another step towards building the side according to his standards, with the manager pleased to see his high press come to fruition.
"We forgot in the first half the way to do it," Mel said. "We put on a high press but [Saido] Berahino and [Matej] Vydra pressed the centre-backs of Liverpool, leaving [Steven] Gerrard and [Jordan] Henderson free, which was a problem for us.
"In the second half the two strikers high pressed the midfielders of Liverpool and this is the way to do it because behind [Claudio] Yacob and [Youssouf] Mulumbu did good work.
"The goal came from the high press, with Gera and Vydra pressing [Aly] Cissokho. Then they produced a bad pass. This is the way -- a high press must be done together, not just with one player.
"I think we have done good work over two weeks and I think next week we'll get better. It's normal and we're doing good work on the training pitch."
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