Mulumbu and Yacob's defensive qualities shine through
ALBION held title-challengers Liverpool to a 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns and here the guys over at football statistics website WhoScored.com take a look back at the clash.
Pepe Mel kept up his unbeaten home record since taking the Baggies' reins with another draw against previously impressive Merseyside opposition.
Having come from a goal behind to level the game against Everton a fortnight ago, Mel's men again showed the spirit and belief currently in this squad by refusing to lie down after going a goal down against Liverpool this time around.
Daniel Sturridge managed to end his dry spell at The Hawthorns with his first ever goal at the ground, but a goal for Luis Suárez continues to evade him at the stadium, with the Baggies defence, as well as Ben Foster, proving up to the challenge of thwarting a player who has been in nigh-on unstoppable form so far this season.
The Uruguay star likes to drop deep into pockets of space, before turning and running at terrified defences, Suárez was able to exhibit little influence on the game.
He registered one of his lowest WhoScored.com match ratings of the current season (7.52). Much of that was thanks to the assured performances of Albion's reliable central midfield duo of Claudio Yacob and Youssouf Mulumbu.
Both bettered Suárez's rating - with respective scores of 7.55 and 8.00 - and the latter's was so high he was given the man of the match award.
The duo broke up play consistently and effectively, protecting the back-four brilliantly, as the Reds were restricted to their lowest goal tally in seven games, a run stretching all the way back to their late December loss at Chelsea.
Yacob tops the WhoScored.com's charts for tackles per game, while Mulumbu is third for interceptions per game, making the pairing one of the best defensive midfield partnerships in the league.
Few others give as good a protective screen as those two, and they were at their best here – positionally aware without the ball and always available for team-mates when the side is in possession, they were more involved in play than any other players, with the most touches on the pitch. Quite the feat when up against the likes of Suárez and co.
Moving the ball forward quickly was the instruction from the boss, and Mulumbu and Yacob did this efficiently, feeding balls up to the frontmen for them to put pressure on the Liverpool goal.
As the WhoScored match report declares, the Baggies favoured shooting from distance, with 75 per cent of their shots coming from outside the penalty area, including a wonderfully lethal finish from Victor Anichebe to earn a point.
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