Jordan Ibe’s solo strike helped a Liverpool side with one eye on the Europa League final to a 1-1 draw at West Brom.
Jurgen Klopp perhaps gave an indication of what his starting line-up will be in Basle against Sevilla by making 11 changes, with star performers such as Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana, James Milner, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge not even on the bench.
A disjointed Liverpool team made a lacklustre start in the west Midlands and fell behind after 13 minutes. Joe Allen, perhaps the only man on duty on Sunday with any hopes of being involved in the forthcoming European showpiece, did his slim chances little good by giving the ball away midway inside his own half to Jonathan Leko.
The teenager weaved his way between three Liverpool defenders before slipping a pass down the right-hand side of the penalty area to Salomon Rondon who beat goalkeeper Adam Bogdan at his near post with a low shot.
For 17-year-old Leko, making only his third start for West Brom, a first Premier League assist represented the perfect moment, which incidentally was the name of Martine McCutcheon’s song that was number one in the charts on the day he was born in April 1999.
It was a great individual run by Leko but an an even better solo effort from Jordon Ibe brought Liverpool level midway through the first half.
Ibe dummied the ball on the halfway line and embarked on a run down the right-hand touchline. In the absence of any meaningful challenge, he drifted infield, inside the penalty area and sent a left-foot shot into the far corner of the net.
The two goals were the only noteworthy attempts of a largely forgettable first half which had a typical end-of-season feel to it. Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster made a straightforward save from a tame Sheyi Ojo shot while Allen and Kevin Stewart were way off target with long-range efforts.
The second half offered marginally more in the way of goalmouth action, mainly at the Liverpool end and primarily involving Rondon.
The Venezuela international striker almost restored West Brom’s lead immediately after the break. His glancing header from Craig Gardner’s free-kick struck the inside of a post and he put the rebound over the crossbar from a tight angle.
Either side of the hour mark Rondon then glanced another header wide, this time from a driven Craig Dawson cross, and then saw a shot, after initially mis-controlling the ball, diverted wide by the fingertips of Bogdan.
In between came a couple of notable moments for Liverpool as Danny Ings made his long-awaited return from the cruciate knee ligament injury he suffered in Klopp’s first training session in October.
Jordan Henderson was also introduced from the bench, returning from the knee ligament problem he sustained last month, and possibly putting himself in the frame for inclusion in Basle on Wednesday evening.
West Brom applied some pressure late in the game but never really looked like making the breakthrough that would have ended their eight-game winless run and brought the three points which would have seen them surpass last season’s points tally of 44.