Football: Anichebe accepts gift to frustrate Liverpool

WEST BROMWICH, United Kingdom (AFP) - Victor Anichebe came off the bench to rescue a point for West Bromwich Albion as they hit back to draw 1-1 with Liverpool in the English Premier League on Sunday.

The former Everton striker capitalised on a mistake by Liverpool defender Kole Toure in the 67th minute, three minutes after he had been introduced, to cancel out Daniel Sturridge's first-half opener.

The result left Albion a point above the relegation places, while fourth-place Liverpool's lead over Merseyside rivals Everton is now only two points following the Toffees' 2-1 defeat of Aston Villa on Saturday.

West Brom manager Pepe Mel made five changes to the team beaten 4-3 by Aston Villa in the mid-week derby.

Right-back Billy Jones, centre-back Gareth McAuley, midfielder Zoltan Gera and forwards Saido Berahino and Matej Vydra came into the side for Steven Reid, Diego Lugano, James Morrison, Nicolas Anelka and Anichebe.

Liverpool's starting line-up was unchanged from the 4-0 Merseyside derby victory over Everton, with midfielder Joe Allen fit enough for a place on the bench.

Brendan Rodgers's side enjoyed the bulk of the possession early on but it was Albion who carved out the first chance when Youssouf Mulumbu struck a low angled shot from 18 yards that was blocked by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.

However, Liverpool seized control of the contest with the opening goal in the 24th minute as strike partners Luis Suarez and Sturridge combined to devastating effect.

Raheem Sterling's pass found Suarez inside the penalty area and the Uruguay international jinked his way through the hosts' defence before crossing for Sturridge, who was left with a simple tap-in at the back post.

West Brom's players appealed to referee Kevin Friend for offside but television replays suggested that Jones had been level with Sturridge when Suarez crossed.

Liverpool could have doubled their lead from a Philippe Coutinho corner a few minutes later after a scramble inside the six-yard box, but Toure could only shoot straight at Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster.

West Brom were dealt a blow in the 41st minute when defender Jonas Olsson limped out injured and was replaced by Lugano.

The hosts could have been on level terms going into the break, though, when Gera found space to shoot just outside the area, only to screw his effort wide of Simon Mignolet's goal.

Mel's side continued to show positive intent immediately after half-time and Jon Flanagan had to make a last-ditch block to deny Chris Brunt after he got on the end of a Mulumbu cross.

Mignolet made his first significant save from the resulting corner when he showed razor-sharp reflexes to beat away a powerful header from McAuley.

Suarez should have increased Liverpool's lead on the hour when he got on the end of Toure's long ball and outmuscled Uruguay team-mate Lugano, only to shoot straight at Foster from 12 yards.

Liverpool were punished for their profligacy in the 67th minute after Toure's mistake allowed Albion to equalise.

The Ivorian passed the ball across the edge of the penalty area and Anichebe was alert enough to intercept before emphatically striking a low shot past Mignolet and into the bottom-left corner of the net.

Both sides pressed for a winner in the remainder of the contest, with Albion appearing the more likely of the two teams to snatch it, but neither team managed to land a knockout blow.

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