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Rodgers Full of Praise for Midfield Duo

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Liverpool struggled at times against West Brom, but in the end they got the three points they needed thanks to a pair of stellar performances from Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana.

Clive Brunskill

It wasn't a perfect day for Liverpool by any stretch, with the backline shaky at times and the attack looking largely toothless, but in the end, sometimes all that matters is getting the win. And that in the end Liverpool did get the win on this occasion was in large part thanks to a pair of standout performances from midfielders Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson.

"We flipped the midfield triangle and played with Stevie controlling and Jordan just in advance of him," said Rodgers of the change that helped to free up Henderson to play in the box to box role that best suits his talents and most helps the team. After being tied to Gerrard in the double-pivot in recent matches, it was a welcome—and many would say overdue—change that paid off.

"It gave him more licence to get up into the corridors," added the manager. "He's the one player in the country who can really dominate a game without the ball because of his running capacity. He has great physicality and today was about trying to get him forward that little bit more, encouraging him to go forward to take advantage of that. It was a big performance from him today."

That freedom to move from the base of midfield earned Liverpool the win in the end, with Henderson lurking on the edge of the West Brom box before slotting home the winner. With referee Michael Oliver set to ignore a Liverpool penalty claim, his cool finish on a pulled back ball from Raheem Sterling secured the three points and avoided the game being decided by controversial officiating.

It also meant he was far enough forward to play a neat one-two with Adam Lallana for Liverpool's opener, and with Liverpool's solitary striker approach again failing to look particularly dangerous, the duo's moments of attacking flair salvaged what could otherwise have been a far less positive afternoon. Lallana's technical play was particularly noteworthy, and was noticed by everybody in the stadium.

"It was a wonderful goal," said Rodgers. "And you saw the way the supporters reacted to him. I think they really appreciate what he is trying to give the team, and I'm delighted for him. He's a wonderful, technically gifted player and he works very, very hard. It was a wonderful goal, and it was exactly what we needed."

Together, Henderson and Lallana's two goals and strong, energetic performances gave Liverpool the win. And now, with the international break coming at what might be the right time for a club that has struggled with form and injuries, the manager and his squad will hopefully have the time and space to regroup and work on the problems that were still apparent against West Brom.

It should also give many of the injured players a chance to return, with Daniel Sturridge and Joe Allen expected to resume training this week and the possibility Emre Can and Mamadou Sakho could return before the end of the break. It wasn't a perfect performance, but thanks to Henderson and Lallana it was enough, and now there is the chance to use it as the first step towards getting back on track.