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Liverpool 2-2 West Bromwich Albion: four things we learned

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Divock Origi came off the bench to snatch a 95th-minute equaliser and earn Liverpool a point against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday at Anfield.

The Reds took the lead in the 21st minute through captain Jordan Henderson, who was making his first start in the Premier League since August.

Tony Pulis' men responded well and were level just nine minutes later when Craig Dawson took advantage of Simon Mignolet's error from a corner.

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The Baggies were denied a lead on the stroke of half-time when Jonas Olsson's strike was ruled offside, but the Sweden international made amends in the 73rd minute, heading home Chris Brunt's corner.

Liverpool looked to be down-and-out and heading for a second successive league loss before substitute Origi's deflected shot deep into stoppage time left Boaz Myhill helpless and grabbed his side a vital draw. Here's four things we learned.

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MIGNOLET'S ERRORS ARE PROVING COSTLY

A matter of weeks ago, Jurgen Klopp insisted he was more than content with his shot-stopper and claimed Mignolet was the best goalkeeper he'd ever worked with.

The Belgian's position at Anfield has been fairly secure since he joined from Sunderland in 2013, but he's prone to making errors and has cost Liverpool points as a result.

His performance against West Brom was no different. Pulis targeted the frailties of the Reds' back-four and recognised how troubled they can be from set pieces in particular.

Brunt was the protagonist in whipping balls into dangerous areas for the most part and his execution was top-class from the first to the final whistle.

Dawson's goal come out of nothing, too. The Birmingham-outfit had barely tested Mignolet beforehand and the Reds were comfortably controlling the match one up.

A swarm of white and blue shirts gathered around the Belgium international before a corner was put into the box; it was always going to be difficult to collect or punch the ball clear.

Crossed near the six-yard line, Mignolet came but could only swipe at air. He failed to make any sort of contact and left his side exposed, with Dawson converting.

It's yet another error on the 27-year-old's behalf, and surely now Klopp will be reconsidering his initial decision to not bring a new goalkeeper to Merseyside in January.

BENTEKE'S MOVEMENT MUST IMPROVE

The jury is still out on Christian Benteke for many Kopites. It's hard to deny he has great goalscoring ability, but he is not helping his own cause.

After a below par performance in last week's defeat at Newcastle United, there was a significant amount of pressure on the ex-Aston Villa man to perform.

For a second successive week, though, the 24-year-old had minimal impact in the final third and is struggling to adapt.

He smartly took a few balls down on his chest and wasn't helped by the lack of width or crosses from wide areas but, overall, his performance did not replicate that of a £32.5 million striker.

What Benteke lacks is movement, with two opportunities in the first half epitomising this. Nathaniel Clyne whipped in an inviting cross, but the Belgian striker did not gamble to get on the end of it.

Minutes later, when James Milner got to the by-line, Benteke again could have darted into space for a clear effort on goal, yet decided to hang back.

Origi made an instant impact when he emerged from the bench, albeit with the aid of an almighty deflection. However, he still showed desire and that he offers Liverpool the penetration needed when visitors lump 11 men behind the ball.

Benteke must start firing otherwise he could lose his place to his compatriot.

HENDERSON PIVOTAL IN MIDFIELD

Heading into the busy Christmas period, Klopp will be desperate to have all members of his squad available.

There's been a distinct shortage of senior faces in the Anfield dressing room since the German took the reins in October.

Therefore, Klopp will be overjoyed by the return of Henderson, who made his first start in the league since Liverpool beat Bournemouth almost four months ago.

The England international wasn't superb against West Brom and is still short of competitive match practise, but he proved to his boss how important he can be in the centre of the park.

Henderson was a key influence for both of the Reds' goals. His galloping run into the box paid off before calmly converting Adam Lallana's cushioned header, whilst a clever piece of footwork assisted Origi.

The 25-year-old is sure to improve after each match and will be vital in the next few weeks especially.

THE EUROPA LEAGUE CURSE EXISTS

For whatever reason it is, playing Thursday-Sunday football is a nuisance for most teams and it's hard to argue against the evidence.

The Europa League is a competition that is getting stronger each year and is no longer known as a 'Mickey Mouse' trophy.

Liverpool had a tough match on Thursday evening against FC Sion on a half-frozen pitch. To make matters worse, Swiss law meant Klopp's squad could not travel back to Merseyside until the Friday, leaving them with less than two days to prepare for the West Brom clash.

The Reds have indeed been kissed with the Europa League curse this term. On the same day that Tottenham Hotspur, who also played on Thursday, lost to relegation battlers Newcastle, Liverpool dropped points.

Out of a possible 18 points after competing in the Europa League, Liverpool have taken just seven. They lacked real drive and penetration against the Baggies and fatigue could well be a significant reason why.

Klopp has vowed to take the competition seriously in 2016. If this is the case and he plays his chief protagonists twice a week, further points could also be dropped in the Premier League.

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Topics:
Liverpool
Steven Gerrard
Premier League
Football

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