Liverpool stars fail to shine, supporting cast comes up short vs. West Brom
Liverpool lacked guile, energy and composure in another disappointing home draw -- this time 0-0 against West Brom -- with another negative side. Momentum has been lost and it will take great character to get it back quickly.
The hosts' unbeaten run reaches 11 games but there was little else to cheer on a cold, wet Anfield night.
If their main stars fail to catch fire all at once, there's little Liverpool's supporting casr can do to rescue the situation. Usually somebody comes to the fore but on Wednesday everybody failed to turn up.
Manager rating out of 10
4 -- Yet more changes from Jurgen Klopp and yet more disruption to the impressive flow in the team's attacking style. Was this really the team who'd scored 40 goals in 11 games? There was no evidence of it on the night and again the manager failed to make decisive substitutions in time.
Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Loris Karius, 7 -- A surprise selection, was this Klopp's attempt to make his countryman the No. 1 choice between the posts? Little to do, although one tip over the bar caught the eye. Often out of his area to keep passing moves going, though his urgency was rarely reciprocated by others.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 7 -- Mostly given an attacking brief by the negative visitors, he impressed for an hour. He soon ran out of steam and started to make costly errors before being substituted.
DF Dejan Lovren, 7 -- Little drama for the Croatian, did what he had to do, which wasn't very much. Strong without being reckless.
DF Ragnar Klavan, 7 -- Composed in whatever he did and covered for his partner well on more than one occasion. Good in possession, sending his left-back on several adventurous runs.
DF Andrew Robertson, 7 -- Promising week for a player who wasn't being given enough games but now has a chance to make his mark in Alberto Moreno's absence. Few defensive problems and always willing to augment Liverpool's attacks.
MF Emre Can, 6 -- Often slow and lethargic, he needed to provide more impetus but somehow the spark was missing from his game. Several silly fouls simply allowed the visitors to slow the game down even more.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 4 -- Like his midfield partner, provided little in terms of energy or initiative. A game like Wednesday's makes you wonder what it is the Dutchman actually does provide.
MF Philippe Coutinho, 6 -- Not at all influential in a drab first half, he looked a little more interested in the second but couldn't quite find the right pass for the few runs that were made by the forwards. One or two tame free kicks, by his usual high standards.
FW Sadio Mane, 4 -- That's two poor matches in a row from the normally explosive striker. If his decision to shoot rather than pass against Everton was playing on his mind, there was little proof he could atone for his error. Lucky to last as long as he did on a hugely frustrating evening.
FW Mohamed Salah, 6 -- So much has been good from the Egyptian this year that criticism seems like sacrilege, but he was not at his best, including another wayward header that looked easier to score. Clearly Albion players had been told to snap into tackles before he could create danger and he never looked right the whole game.
FW Roberto Firmino, 5 -- Not one of his better games, missed a good chance that could have settled Liverpool's nerves early on and it seemed to affect his whole performance. Often the glue that holds everything together, the lack of guile from others made him look more ineffectual than usual.
FW Dominic Solanke, NR -- Thought he had scored but his goal was disallowed for handball. It would have been an amazing entry to the game, one that hinted he probably should have come on earlier.
MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, NR -- Also brought on too late, by that stage Albion were entrenched and Liverpool's football had already unravelled.
DF Joe Gomez, NR -- Straight swap for a tired Alexander-Arnold, one good cross nearly saved the whole game for Liverpool but the referee intervened.
Steven Kelly is one of ESPN FC's Liverpool bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @SteKelly198586.