Soccer-Liverpool boss Rodgers backs Toure after costly error

Reuters

LONDON, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers refused to criticise defender Kolo Toure after his glaring error gifted West Bromwich Albion striker Victor Anichebe an equalising goal in their 1-1 Premier League draw on Sunday.

Liverpool, who stayed fourth in the table on 47 points, took the lead on 24 minutes when Uruguay's Luis Suarez set up strike partner Daniel Sturridge to score his 14th goal of the season.

Yet Pepe Mel's side equalised when Ivorian defender Toure played a stray pass across his own penalty area, allowing substitute Anichebe to drive the ball expertly past Simon Mignolet after 67 minutes.

"I'll never criticise players for trying to play football but Kolo probably shouldn't have received the ball under pressure and his pass was misplaced," Rodgers told reporters after the match.

"Kolo Toure has been brilliant since he's been here. He's been a real leader, an outstanding professional and, unfortunately, it was a mistake."

Despite such a costly error, Rodgers tried to put a positive spin on the result as he believes it shows how much his side have developed over the last year.

"It tells you everything about our expectancy now, we came here and lost, and lost at home to West Brom, last year. So to get four points out of six (this season) shows the improvement," he said.

"We've got 14 games to go and we're still in a great position, with big games to play, and the squad is very focused on our objectives."

West Brom head coach Mel was delighted with how his side pressed Liverpool in the lead-up to their equaliser and he expects this tactic to bear fruit in the coming weeks.

"In the second half the two strikers high pressed the midfielders of Liverpool and this is the way to do it because (Claudio) Yacob and (Youssouf) Mulumbu did good work," the former Real Betis coach told reporters.

"The goal came from the high press, with (Zoltan) Gera and (Matej) Vydra pressing...

"Then they produced a bad pass. This is the way - a high press must be done together, not just with one player," added the Spaniard whose side are 16th on 23 points.

"I think we have done good work over two weeks and I think next week we'll get better." (Reporting by Michael Hann; editing by Toby Davis)

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