Gerrard and Agger may miss out on Reds' run-in
West Brom 2
Liverpool may be without both Steven Gerrard and Daniel Agger for the final seven games of the season as the injury crisis afflicting Kenny Dalglish's side deepened before, during and after this defeat.
Gerrard underwent groin surgery last month and had been in line to return against West Brom, but Dalglish revealed that his captain had suffered a recurrence in training on Friday.
Dalglish said the latest injury was "in the same area of his groin but not the same thing," but it is feared that Gerrard may not recover from the setback in time to feature in any of the remaining games this campaign.
Agger, meanwhile, was substituted in the first half --along with Glen Johnson -- after sustaining a tendon injury and reports in Denmark yesterday suggested the problem would put an end to the defender's troubled season.
Dalglish is already without Martin Kelly for the remainder of the campaign, while Fabio Aurelio and Johnson have been plagued by niggling complaints.
Another problem facing Dalglish is how to get the best out of Andy Carroll. The striker might have scored his first goal for England four days earlier, but he barely had a sniff of goal against a relegation-threatened side and spent too much of the game distracted by a running battle with West Brom's defenders.
Although it was his shot that was tipped over for the corner from which Martin Skrtel headed Liverpool ahead in the 50th minute, Carroll carried a fraction of the threat offered by Peter Odemwingie in the West Brom attack.
The speedy Nigerian was a menace to Liverpool's defence all game and was fouled by Sotirios Kyrgiakos and then Pepe Reina for the penalties that were dispatched in emphatic style by Baggies captain Chris Brunt to bring them victory.
For much of their first defeat to West Brom in three decades, Liverpool were narrow and devoid of any crossing capability. Largely through injury and lack of alternatives, Dalglish deployed four centre-halves in defence, and three central midfielders and a striker in midfield.
There were wingers on the pitch, and overlapping full-backs, but they all played for West Brom, negating Carroll's aerial strength in open play. (© Daily Telegraph, London)