Darren Fletcher off day stunts profligate West Brom vs. Liverpool
West Brom fell to their third consecutive loss, and their fourth game in a row without scoring, with a 1-0 defeat against Liverpool at The Hawthorns on Sunday.
Tony Pulis' side were once again wasteful in front of goal, missing three gilt-edged chances at crucial points in the contest, although Liverpool could have also put the game out of sight early in the second half when some of West Brom's forward players neglected their defensive duties in search of an equaliser.
Jake Livermore is becoming a more astute signing by the game, impressing with yet another action-packed display, this time in a slightly more advanced midfield role than he has been playing. Matty Phillips has yet to hit his best form since returning from injury but there was a couple of encouraging signs from the winger throughout.
West Brom's profligacy in front of goal is beginning to become a worry, with Phillips, Hal Robson-Kanu and Nacer Chadli all guilty of bad misses. Chadli's form is starting to become a concern too. The Belgian was electric at the start of the season but since being moved into a wide position he has failed to have the same kind of impact as he did in the No.10 role.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Pulis decided to return Claudio Yacob to the centre of midfield, pushing Livermore into a more advanced role behind Robson-Kanu. Both players did well but West Brom lacked a bit of guile going forward that could have been provided by either moving Chadli into the No.10 role or keeping James Morrison there. Too often West Brom were left looking to play difficult, long-range passes in behind the defence that were easily swept up.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ben Foster, 6 -- No chance with Roberto Firmino's goal and wasn't really tested by Liverpool, who put their best chances off target. Went forward late on as West Brom chased the equaliser but to no avail.
DF Craig Dawson, 6 -- Guilty of losing Firmino for the goal but otherwise defended resolutely. Won a couple of good headers in a forward position that West Brom couldn't take advantage of.
DF Gareth McAuley, 6 -- Divock Origi was a handful throughout but McAuley generally dealt with him well, particularly when pressurising higher up the pitch.
DF Jonny Evans, 6 -- Calm in possession during a couple of tight spaces around his own goal, looked frustrated at the lack of movement in front of him. Mopped up well defensively.
DF Chris Brunt, 6 -- Gave away the free kick for Liverpool's winner. Played several incisive passes in behind but is generally wasted in such a deep position.
MF Matt Phillips, 6 -- Good cross for the chance missed by Chadli, but guilty of missing a good opportunity of his own.
MF Jake Livermore, 7 -- West Brom's best player on the day, passing the ball accurately and quickly. Got up and down the pitch with his trademark energy from first minute to last.
MF Darren Fletcher, 5 -- One of his worst displays since joining the club. Nothing went right for the Scot, with this season's efforts seemingly catching up on him.
MF Claudio Yacob, 6 -- Broke up play and shielded the defence well but there was a couple of very sloppy moments in possession that put Liverpool into dangerous positions.
MF Nacer Chadli, 5 -- Somehow managed to miss the ball with the goal at his mercy with the score at 0-0. Generally failed to make an impact.
FW Hal Robson-Kanu, 6 -- Some good moments of hold-up play when outnumbered but should have done better when free on the edge of the box, firing straight at Simon Mignolet rather than picking his spot.
MF James Morrison, 7 -- Used across all three advanced midfield positions after coming off the bench, doing well in all of them.
MF James McClean, 6 -- Didn't get many opportunities with the ball at his feet. More effective when used on the left-hand side of the pitch.
FW Salomon Rondon, 6 -- Looked stronger and more energetic than in recent weeks. Put Phillips through on goal for his missed chance.
Matthew Evans is ESPN FC's West Brom blogger. You can follow him on Twitter @MattEvansWBA.