Liverpool: Rodgers Defends Players
Kop boss Brendan Rodgers has refused to blame his players in the wake of last night's surprise home defeat to West Brom...
Liverpool's run of impressive home form - three straight wins with 10 goals scored and none conceded - came to an abrupt halt against West Bromwich Albion yesterday evening.
The 2-0 reverse was all the more surprising given the way the Reds had performed during recent back-to-back 2-2 away draws against Arsenal and Manchester City.
In truth the performance was not too bad and Liverpool again looked dangerous going forward, particularly in the first-half, but the visitors defended resolutely throughout and ultimately made Brendan Rodgers' side pay for a host of missed chances.
Gareth McAuley's header from a poorly marked 81st minute corner was the ultimate sucker punch; only moments earlier Steven Gerrard had seen a penalty, awarded for a contentious push on Luis Suarez by Jonas Olsson, brilliantly saved by Baggies keeper Ben Foster.
With Gerrard and co eagerly looking to make amends, substitute Romelu Lukaku grabbed a second on the break as the game ticked into injury time to condemn Liverpool to an 8th league defeat of the season.
Following the final whistle, Rodgers gave praise to the opposition but also defended the effort of his players.
"The players gave everything. We weren't at our best tonight, but we were certainly on the front foot and looking to create," analysed the 40-year-old at his post-match press conference.
"It was a good away performance from West Brom - if you come, defend and keep the score at 0-0, you're always in with that chance.
"Ben Foster made some brilliant saves tonight that kept them in the game.
"I'm disappointed for the players. They've been on a terrific little run, especially here at home.
"We've defended very well throughout the season here and we're disappointed with the [first] goal.
"The second goal was one where you're chasing the game and you get caught on the counter attack, and he's put it away well."
The result sees West Brom, managed by former Liverpool coach Steve Clarke, leapfrog the Reds in the table and complete a league double following their opening day 3-0 victory at the Hawthorns.
Liverpool, who now lie 9th and are 12 points behind the final Champions League spot, cannot afford to feel too sorry for themselves however as they quickly return to action with a Valentine's Day trip to Russia to take on Zenit St Petersburg in the Europa League.
Rodgers concluded: "We had two home games this week that we felt were opportunities for us.
"But we'll go again and get back in tomorrow. We've got a game away in the Europa League which we'll be ready for on Thursday and then come back, get ready and go again at the weekend."
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