Rodgers stands by his man

Andover Advertiser: Brendan Rodgers, left, was philosophical as Liverpool were held to a draw at The Hawthorns Brendan Rodgers, left, was philosophical as Liverpool were held to a draw at The Hawthorns

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers refused to blame defender Kolo Toure after his horrendous error allowed West Brom to equalise in their 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns.

Daniel Sturridge put the Reds ahead in the 24th minute but they could not add to their lead and former Everton striker Victor Anichebe capitalised on Toure's mistake midway through the second half.

"Kolo is devastated. I said to him sometimes it is the price you pay when you try to play football," said Rodgers, whose side failed to re-establish their four-point lead in fourth place over Everton

"He shouldn't have received the ball in the first place (from goalkeeper) Simon Mignolet, it wasn't the time to receive it, but that is a part of our learning.

"I've said to the team we are in the position we are because over the last 18 months we have shown the courage and bravery to play football and part of that is to build the game from behind.

"For the first time this season we got punished for that. He is an experienced guy and he knows it was a mistake and he is devastated.

"There is no blame. He has misplaced a pass and unfortunately for us it has cost us two points."

The Hawthorns was the venue for Rodgers' first match in charge last season and on that day Liverpool left 3-0 losers but expectations have risen significantly since then and a draw for his Champions League-chasing side represents two points dropped.

Rodgers, however, refused to see it that way, adding: "Of course whenever you have good control of the game at 1-0 there weren't many chances - but we dominated possession and looked dangerous with the ball and it was just one of those unfortunate things where we made a mistake and got punished.

"Hopefully in the future we'll see it as a point gained but I think it tells you everything about our expectancy.

"We came here (and lost) and lost at home last year but we've got four points out of six and for us to be disappointed with a point away from home shows the growth of the team.

"The pitch is very poor for modern football and the money spent on stadia and pitches.

"I've been here a number of times before and it is always an outstanding pitch."

West Brom boss Pepe Mel was pleased with the way his side responded in the second half, when they managed to put his game plan into effect much better than they had in the opening 45 minutes.

"We forget the way in the first half," said the Spaniard.

"Saido Berahino and Matej Vydra were to press the centre-backs but (Steven) Gerrard being free was a problem for us.

"In the second half we had a high press with (Youssouf) Mulumbu and (Claudio) Yacob behind doing good work.

"The goal came from a high press and a bad pass. This is the way, a high press together, but it is not possible when only one player does it."

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