In the reverse fixture against West Brom at Anfield, Adam Lallana gave Liverpool the lead after a neat interplay with Jordan Henderson and a well-placed left-footed finish across the face of goal. Yesterday Jordon Ibe nearly replicated his teammate's effort, exchanging passes with Mario Balotelli outside the West Brom penalty area before bursting into space and clipping a deflected shot off the crossbar. It was among Liverpool's best chances on a day when little came off, with the match ultimately ending in a disappointing 0-0 draw.
That type of play--quick, incisive passing and one-twos that look to exploit space--happened far too infrequently yesterday, with Liverpool left passing the ball around the periphery of the final third in search of a way through. A static forward line provided few options, and the attack was often slow, plodding, and predictable rather than spontaneous and urgent.
That weakness was picked out by second-half substitute Adam Lallana, who made his return from injury for the final quarter of an hour as Liverpool sought a winner that never came:
"I don't remember creating too many clear-cut chances but we put enough pressure on them. It's difficult when they've got 11 men behind the ball. We came in at half-time and said we needed to up our tempo and aggression going forward - and I felt we did that in the second half. We hit the woodwork and put balls into the box, it just wouldn't fall for us. So we're disappointed. Tony Pulis' teams are well organised and we just didn't have the killer instinct in the final third to get the goal."
On a day when few stood out, Lallana was among Liverpool's best after coming on in the 75th minute to replace Ibe. The advanced midfielder was, as has been the case for most of the season, one of the more urgent players going forward, looking to link play and get in behind a packed West Brom defense whenever possible. These types of matches--as well as his quality overall--were the reason Liverpool brought him in, and it was unfortunate that he wasn't available from the start.
Hopefully he's able to see out the season in full health, and that with a strong finish under his belt, he can head into next season on form and fitness, ready to help lead Liverpool.