Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, responded to the mistake by Kolo Touré that cost his side vital points in the race for fourth place in the Premier League by offering immediate forgiveness to the Ivory Coast defender.
Touré’s misplaced pass across his own penalty area allowed West Bromwich Albion substitute Victor Anichebe to steal an equaliser for the home side after Daniel Sturridge’s first-half goal – his 18th of the season – appeared to have put Liverpool on course for a comfortable three points.
“Kolo is devastated, bless him,” Rodgers said. “He is experienced, knows it was a mistake and he is a really conscientious player, so he is devastated. It was a good finish from Anichebe and unfortunately has cost us two points.
“But it is the price you pay when you try to play and I’m quite happy to carry on doing it. It is the first time we have been punished for it this season.
“Kolo should not have received the ball in the first place. But it is part of our learning, we are where we are because we have the courage to play football and build the game from behind.”
Rodgers rejected the notion that Liverpool had suffered a major setback in their ambitions to finish in the top four, despite missing the chance to open up a four-point lead over fifth-placed Everton.
“We can’t score four or five every week,” he said. “Our attacking play this season has been scintillating, but it was a really difficult pitch to get our fluidity on.
“We were in total control of the game and then we made a mistake, and that gave the home side a bit of momentum. But that is when you have to stand up and be counted. I am proud of the players for that. Make no mistake, when you make an error, some teams can go under and you can end up losing that game 2-1 in the Premier League.
“I’m not too disappointed, not too concerned. It is another point away from our rivals. We came here and lost here last year, and only got a point at home. We have four against West Brom this year, and for us to be disappointed shows the growth of the team.”
Rodgers was equally adamant that Liverpool had done all they could to secure the signing of Ukraine forward Yevhen Konoplyanka before Friday’s transfer deadline, rejecting claims from the winger’s club, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, that the failure to have funds in place had led the £16million deal to collapse at the 11th hour.
“The club did everything possible to get the player in. In every aspect: money, we had the chief scout, MD, doctor, everyone out there,” he said. “I heard the problem might have been the money – that was not the problem. It just wasn’t to be.”
However, he refused to go into detail about what caused the deal to break down. “I am very conscious that whatever frustrations I have, I would never let you know. That’s not the way I do things. If I have an issue I don’t need to ring up journalists and give them snippets. I will speak to the owners and I will do it diplomatically.”