Liverpool FC were able to hold on to the fourth spot in the Premier League standings on Sunday by virtue of a draw against West Bromwich Albion. West Brom lost handily in the first match the two clubs played this season by a score of 4-1. Sunday’s match was not quite the runaway that the earlier match at Anfield was, however. With the opportunity to pull ahead of Chelsea on goal difference in front of them, Liverpool failed to take the three points needed to do this. Instead, they allowed the home side to get back into the match with an equalizing goal 22 minutes into the second half. With Liverpool only taking a point, even should Chelsea lose against Manchester City in their Monday night match, they will retain third place.
Liverpool came into the match the clear favorites. West Brom was only one spot above the relegation zone in the standings, and that only by goal difference. Had they lost by a margin of four points or more, something quite possible facing the league-leading scorer, they would have fallen into the zone below West Ham. The draw, instead, put them ahead of Crystal Palace in the Premier League standings on goal difference. That is, of course, pending the outcome of their match against Arsenal which follows their own. Liverpool FC fans, after the draw, are certainly now hoping that Crystal Palace is able to take the three points in the Arsenal match. Should they lose, Arsenal would widen the point margin from the top of the table to the fourth spot which they are desperately holding onto.
This was not a significantly impressive performance from most of the West Brom side. A spectacular effort from goalkeeper, Ben Foster was the primary driving force that kept them from giving up the three points. Liverpool handed the draw to the home squad, leaving the two points on the table with some truly poor passing. Liverpool kept their scoring streak alive, extending to a record of 14 matches in a row with goals scored and a total of 41. It is of little comfort to a squad with the kind of scoring power they have demonstrated this season. Statistics aside, the points left on the table for what looks like a brief moment of over-confidence may prove as troublesome for the Liverpool squad as gaining the one point was helpful for West Brom. Whether over-confidence or a momentary lack of focus, it was a difficult way to lose the points to a side that did not play the better match overall.
The fact is, however, that West Brom was able to take a point. They are showing some fight as they battle to keep out of the relegation zone for good. While not too much should be read into the failed chance to advance with Sunday’s match, Liverpool FC clearly will be working on playing a full 90 minutes in matches going forward. While they were able to remain in the fourth spot in the Premier League standings, it will take a more complete effort moving ahead if they are to have any chance at all of advancing their position on that table.
By Shannon Malone