Hodgson: Brunt played captain's role
Hodgson was sacked by the Reds in January but came out on the top 2-1 in the first battle with his successor, Kenny Dalglish, at The Hawthorns on Saturday. That was due in no small part to Brunt as the Baggies climbed to 12th spot in the Premier League. Hodgson claimed the midfielder was "drained of energy" at the final whistle following on from his two 90-minute outings for Northern Ireland. But there were few signs of that during Brunt's fine performance which he capped off with two spot-kicks after Martin Skrtel had headed Liverpool in front. Hodgson said: "Chris played a true captain's role and furthermore he did it on the back of two full appearances for his country in Euro 2012 qualifiers - one in Serbia, and one at home against Slovenia. "Those were big and important games and then he has come out and played like he did against Liverpool. "That is three massive games in a week and, in the third one, he has come up trumps by scoring the two goals and also giving a very good performance. "He was totally drained of energy at the end and maybe that is how things should be. "If we want to stay in the league, we are going to need lots of players who are drained of energy at the end of the 90 minutes." The Baggies are still unbeaten under Hodgson and have collected nine points from five games. Hodgson said: "I thought if you had been a Martian landing at the game, you wouldn't have been able to tell which team was sixth and which team was almost bottom. "We've got to take confidence from the fact if we are good enough to take points from successive matches with Arsenal and Liverpool, then hopefully we can take points from other teams as well." But Hodgson is taking little heed of the fact Albion have climbed into 12th spot given the closeness of the bottom half of the table. He said: "It is not worth worrying about, whether you are 12th or in the relegation zone at the moment, because there are so few points between the teams. "But it is quite interesting that even teams in 10th are only a couple of points above us. "Apart from the first seven teams, there are 13-14 teams who are going to be very happy to get across the finishing line." Dalglish will be sweating over the extent of the recurrence of skipper Steven Gerrard's groin problem which flared again up in training on Friday. The Scot said: "Steven was training, ready to be available for the West Brom game, when he innocuously tried to turn with the ball and felt a sharp pain. "We will get him assessed and at the end of the week we will know better." Dalglish dismissed claims Liverpool's style was too direct because of the presence of Andy Carroll, who was well marshalled by Albion defenders Jonas Olsson and Abdoulaye Meite. He said: "When Andy Carroll is an asset, you use him the best you can. "But I think Luis Suarez caused the most damage and he is not the tallest person. "We passed it when we could pass it and knocked it up to Andy when we could - but he is also very capable on the ball."