After enduring a difficult end to the transfer window, Liverpool were hoping that a trip to the Hawthorns against a struggling West Brom side would provide just the remedy to their hardships.
Unfortunately that was not the case as Liverpool struggled to hold onto a 1-1 draw. Liverpool took an early lead after the ever deadly combination of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge combined for yet another goal. Yet, for not the first time this season, Liverpool failed to find their stride and find the form that has taken them into the top four and into possible title contention.
Following the first goal, and even before it occurred, Liverpool looked sluggish, much like they did against Aston Villa two weeks ago. It was clear that the pace and raw emotion of the derby victory took its toll on the Reds' already thin squad.
Crucial players to Liverpool's approach, such as Philippe Coutinho and Steven Gerrard, were completely off their game, mostly due to their lack of adequate recovery time after the midweek match against Everton.
Even Jordan Henderson, the workhorse of the midfield, looked tired for one of the first times this season. A tired Liverpool defence was bound to be more prone to error than they usually were, and this fact proved costly as Kolo Toure gifted the ball, the goal, and the point to Victor Anichebe.
Although the tying goal was scored with plenty of time for a squad of Liverpool's quality to regain the lead, the squad's jaded and depleted state meant that there was no chance for them to conjure the brilliance we are so accustomed to seeing from Brendan Rodgers' side.
A match such as the one at West Brom illustrates the significance of good business in January, and as such highlighted the importance of Liverpool's lack of signings during the last month. A squad that Rodgers' claimed only had 15 fit first team players at practice before the Bournemouth tie desperately needed reinforcements, and they simply did not arrive.
One of the team's main problems this season has been lack of depth, and somehow the Liverpool board failed to alleviate this problem. Liverpool were rumoured with several players, but again lost out on their main targets.
As the majority of the summer signings begin to look more and more like bad business, January was seen as a period of redemption since the club had such a brilliant winter window during the previous season.
But, the good business could not be replicated in 2014, and Liverpool remained a thin, tired squad. The true significance of speed and fitness was recently illuminated by Michael Cox, and the Reds sadly did nothing to boost that aspect of their team. Yevhen Konoplyanka would have been an immediate fix in that area, and you have to think that a player of his quality and skills would have changed the game in Liverpool's favour at the Hawthorns.
The Reds have suffered a setback, but Rodgers remains confident in his squad. With a big game against Arsenal coming up this weekend, a true test of character is presented to a team with European aspirations. Overcoming setbacks such as those over the past weekend will set Liverpool apart from the other teams vying for fourth place.
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