Little did Chris Kirkland know when he suffered what appeared a harmless collision at the Reebok Stadium four months ago, but it now looks like proving the moment that put paid to his World Cup dream.
Just ten days earlier, Kirkland had been on the bench at Old Trafford the night that England beat Poland to win their qualifying group and send themselves confidently off on the road to Germany.
David James was a fallen contender for this summer's finals thanks to his Copenhagen nightmare in August and Kirkland was in the box seat.
Despite still being uncapped by England, Kirkland had been all but inked in by Sven-Göran Eriksson to go to Germany as understudy to Paul Robinson. And, when he returned from international duty to make a string of fine saves which earned Albion their best win of the season against Arsenal the following Saturday, he must have seemed on top of the world.
But the luckless Kirkland's familiar lack of fortune with injuries was about to rear its ugly head again.
It must have appeared all the more cruel to be so out in the cold seeing England play without him last night at Anfield, still for now his 'home ground'. But, barring a calamitous sequence of English goalkeeping injuries, it has been the form of his Albion stand-in Tomasz Kuszczak that will probably now keep Kirkland at home in England this summer.
"Have I still got a chance for the World Cup? I hope so," said Kirkland. "But, to be honest, the main thing is to get back playing for West Brom.
"You've got to be playing to be picked by England and I've not been playing so I've got no arguments.
"I've just got to work as hard as I can to try and get back in the Albion team.
"But the World Cup is at the back of my mind. The most important thing is West Brom and staying up. That's all I am thinking about.
"The fact I've not played for so long has not affected the way I think about the club. They've been great to me.
"They took me on and started the season with me after Tomasz had done great at the end of last season. But unfortunately I picked up a pretty serious knock, that gave Tomasz a chance, and he has done so well, so I've got no arguments."
Kirkland suffered bruised kidneys at the Reebok after ending up in a crumpled heap along with fellow defender Curtis Davies and Bolton Wanderers centre forward Kevin Davies. And the month-long absence from club duty that followed allowed Kuszczak to establish himself as Albion's first-choice keeper.
Since getting injured, Kirkland has played just twice, in the Baggies' two ill-fated FA Cup third round ties against Reading.
When Kuszczak injured his shoulder in Albion's 6-1 defeat at Fulham 19 days ago, Kirkland would have returned the following week, had the Baggies had a game. But their free weekend as a result of that Cup exit to Reading gave the Pole the time to recover.
"Tomasz nearly missed out after the Fulham game with his shoulder," said Robson. "In fact, if we'd had a game the next weekend Tomasz wouldn't have played, Chris would have got his chance again and then it would have been up to him to take that chance.
"I've made it clear to the two of them that I don't have a No 1 or a No 2.
"What I look at is, whichever one's playing, if he plays well then he'll be in for the next game. That's the only way I can be fair to the two of them."
It's a lesson thankfully learned by Robson from his England days when the dithering Ron Greenwood could not decide between Ray Clemence and Peter Shilton and adopted a much criticised rotation policy.
But, although Kirkland is the one caught out of the loop at Albion, Robson has paid tribute to the loan man's patience.
"It has been very frustrating for Chris," said Robson. "But he gets on with the job and has had no complaints. He has remained excellent to have around the place." ..SUPL: