The top four race remains interesting after Liverpool dropped points at the Hawthorns. West Bromwich Albion have been struggling all season and began the match clear of the relegation zone on goal difference alone, but they showed huge fight here to come back against a side that's battered so many opponents once they'd got their noses in front, drawing 1-1 thanks to a second-half strike from Victor Anichebe.
The early stages of the match were fairly dire. Liverpool were sleepy, but the hosts were sloppy, failing to take advantage of the spaces that were opening up in midfield. Eventually they were going to pay for their repeated turnovers in the centre of the pitch against a team with the likes of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, and the visitors duly struck in the 25th minute.
Philippe Coutinho took apart West Brom's high line with a lovely forward pass to Raheem Sterling, and the winger, though checked, was able to get the ball wide to Suarez. He cut back and laced some combination of cross and shot towards the far post, where Sturridge, who had escaped Billy Jones' rather half-assed attempts to track him, was on hand to tap in.
Liverpool looked the more likely side to score next. Ben Foster had to fall on the ball on his own line when when Kolo Toure threatened to turn in a goalmouth scramble, and Jonas Olsson hurt himself in cutting out a very dangerous left-wing cross aimed at Suarez, forcing Pepe Mel to bring on Diego Lugano to replace the centre back. That move nearly killed West Brom on the hour mark when Lugano failed to deal with Suarez, allowing him to get in on Foster only for the goalkeeper to beat the shot away with an outstretched foot.
And then the hosts drew level. In fairness, there had been a couple of warning signs -- Simon Mignolet had saved well from Gareth McAuley from a corner, and Chris Brunt had made him work with a free kick -- but it still took an absolute calamity for Liverpool to concede. Kolo Toure, under minimal pressure, played the ball across the top of his own box, straight, as it turned out, to Anichebe. The substitutes made the most of the gift, sweeping into the bottom corner to make it 1-1.
The equaliser took most of the fire out of Liverpool. They weren't playing particularly well even when they were on top, and once they'd been pegged back a West Brom win didn't look entirely out of the question. But the hosts weren't that keep on pressing the attack and opening themselves up for a Liverpool counter -- they were more than happy with a point, and saw the match out comfortably.
Goals: Anichebe 67'.
Liverpool starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Simon Mignolet; Aly Cissokho, Kolo Toure, Martin Skrtel, John Flanagan (Martin Kelly 74'); Jordan Henderson, Steven Gerrard; Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho , Raheem Sterling; Luis Suarez.
Goals: Sturridge 25'.