Sterling: We lacked concentration
Published 03/02/2014 | 15:22
Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling insists dropped points from the 1-1 draw at West Brom have not damaged their top-four bid and they will continue to play their way to the Champions League.
Defender Kolo Toure's error playing out from the back led to the Baggies' second-half equaliser but the Reds' failure to capitalise on Daniel Sturridge's 14th Premier League goal of the season was just as much at fault.
Sterling was busy against the Baggies, having a hand in the goal, but not necessarily hugely productive and that was reflected throughout the whole side with just three shots on target against a team only one point above the relegation zone.
The draw meant the four-point cushion opened up by last week's Merseyside derby win was cut back to two as Everton beat Aston Villa on Saturday.
With Arsenal the visitors to Anfield this weekend, the grip Brendan Rodgers' team have on fourth place could well slip but Sterling is confident they can hold on to their position by continuing to do what they have all season.
"The manager told us that we tried to play football and that's the most important thing," he told liverpoolfc.com.
"It's just one of those games where we lacked a little bit of concentration and they got back into it.
"Hopefully we can cut the mistakes out of our game and be right up there at the end of the season. We'll just pick up and go again for the next game.
"I still think we're right up there. We just need to take the game step by step and hopefully get the three points each week.
"Hopefully we can be right up there at the end of the season."
Rodgers has no intention of discouraging his players, particularly his defenders, from passing and with that in mind the return of centre-back Daniel Agger, sidelined with a calf problem for another couple of weeks, cannot come soon enough.
"I don't think you can argue with the defence, I thought we looked really solid," said the Reds boss.
"Up until the goal we were fine, we had total control of the game and didn't look troubled whatsoever.
"Will I ever ask a player when he is maybe 20 yards in space to never accept the ball - never. That is how we play and hopefully it is an exciting way to play.
"Sometimes it will hurt us but it wasn't so much the playing out from the back, it was more the decision-making.
"These players, especially defenders, have the courage to play.
"You (the media) will be the same guys at World Cups talking about British players not being able to play football and you wonder why.
"Of course sometimes you have to go longer in your build-up but it is not forced upon them, it is just decision-making."
West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster, who made crucial saves from Luis Suarez and Sturridge in the second half, took confidence from a point which could be vital considering how tight things are at the foot of the table.
"The results on Saturday didn't go in our favour," he told wba.co.uk.
"After a first-half performance that wasn't the best, it was important to come out and get something and we did that.
"Any point against the top five or six teams in this division is probably a welcome point.
"You can't look too much at other people when you're in a dogfight. You've got to look at yourself and concentrate on getting your own results and that's what we'll do."