Alan Shearer defends West Brom star Craig Gardner over tackle which caused nasty injury

Alan Shearer has had his say on the tackle by West Bromich Albion star Craig Gardner which left Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren injured.

Liverpool scored deep in stoppage time to salvage a 2-2 draw against the Baggies at Anfield thanks to Divock Origi's deflected effort.

But an entertaining game was somewhat soured by what looked a very nasty knee injury sustained by Lovren in the second half.

The defender needed extensive treatment following a collision with Gardner late on.

The Croatian defender had his right leg secured and was stretchered off after a lengthy stoppage later leaving Anfield on crutches.

Television replays showed Lovren's knee bleeding heavily as he writhed around in agony on the pitch before being substituted.

Debate raged on social media about Gardner's challenge with many fans accusing the Baggies star of going in too hard.

But BBC pundit and Premier League legend Shearer has defended the midfielder on Match Of The Day 2.

'Hard but fair'

"I thought it was a very hard, very committed but fair challenge," Shearer said.

"The ball is there to be won.

"I think its unfortunate that his momentum actually takes him through onto Lovren and unfortunately even in hard fair challenges some players get injured that's the nature of football I'm afraid.

"It's a committed challenge but I don't think there's any malice there whatsoever."

Pulling out would have had its own consequences

It is easy to see why Gardner's challenge sparked debate among football fans.

His studs were showing and he connected high up on Lovrens knee.

But Gardner was in a difficult position given where the incident happened on the pitch.

The ball ran free and demanded a 50-50 challenge right on the halfway line with the game 2-1 in West Brom's favour.

Had the former Aston Villa and Birmingham man pulled out he would have left himself open to criticism and his team vulnerable to a Liverpool attack.

As Shearer highlights unfortunately injuries are part and parcel of football and many fans feel the sport is already sanitised too much as it is.

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