West Brom vs Liverpool - The Liver Word Match Report

Liverpool were back in Premier League action as they travelled to The Hawthorns to face former manager Roy Hodgson’s West Brom side. The good away result at Sunderland seemed a long time ago with the international break being almost a tedious wait for Premier League action to resume.

West Brom had not been beaten since Hodgson took over but Liverpool went into the game full of confidence and having never lost against them in the Premiership, the visitors were expected to take three away points comfortably. However, the big story in the build up to the match was obviously that a Roy Hodgson team was playing against Liverpool for the first time since his departure earlier in the season.
Kenny Dalglish kept an unchanged side from the Sunderland winning team, mainly due to the fact that Gerrard re-injured his groin at training on Friday. It was gratifying to see Dalglish keeping a settled side and especially good to see Carroll and Suarez paired together up front as they continue to develop their new partnership. It was probably as strong a side as Kenny could field and on paper, looked capable enough of beating West Brom.
Liverpool started the match well with Kuyt going close on 2 minutes after Carroll had flicked on a Meireles corner. West Brom showed their physical approach with some tough challenges in the early stages. However, Liverpool were dealt a blow in the 8th minute when Glen Johnson pulled up with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Kyrgiakos as Agger moved out to left back. On 24 minutes, Liverpool were dealt another injury blow when Daniel Agger was forced to leave the field. Danny Wilson replaced him at left back and was instantly called into action as he came up with a good clearance to prevent Brunt from going through on goal.
Liverpool lost their way with the forced substitutions and Reid saw a header well saved by Reina as West Brom started to dictate the play. Reina followed up with another good save when Skrtel almost headed into his own net.
Andy Carroll was booked at the other end as frustration got the better of him. However, the actual cause of the booking remained obscure as it seemed that he had been tripped himself just before the card was shown. Liverpool were quite happy with the score remaining 0-0 at half-time as two forced substitutions in their weakest position on the field upset their gameplan after a somewhat good start.
Cox almost scored for the home side at the start of the 2nd half when he turned Kyrgiakos and got a shot on target but the ever-watchful Reina did well to parry. Liverpool had the next chance when Carroll hit a rasping shot from the edge of the box and it was Carson’s turn to save for his team. From the resulting corner, Liverpool took the lead when Martin Skrtel powered a header past the helpless Carson. Kuyt tried to double the lead soon after but flashed an ambitious effort wide of target. Wilson then made a superb clearing header as West Brom sprung into action to cancel the deficit.
The home side drew level when Odemwingie turned Kyrgiakos on the edge of the box and the big Greek lunged in with a desperate tackle which the referee deemed to be a penalty. Brunt made no mistake from the spot and West Brom were well on their way to maintain their unbeaten run under Hodgson.
West Brom started dominating the match and Odemwingie had a fierce shot saved by Reina. Liverpool had the next chance when Suarez teed up Meireles but he blasted the ball well over. Odemwingie started causing Liverpool all sorts of problems and it took one of the famous last ditch Carragher blocks to deny him a goal.
Just as the game looked like finishing 1-1, Liverpool were dealt a final blow when a long ball through the middle wasn’t dealt with by Kyrgiakos. The defender slipped as he tried to put Odemwingie off and that allowed Odemwingie to get through on goal with only Reina to beat. As he cut inside Reina, the goalkeeper’s trailing leg tripped the West Brom man and the referee awarded a penalty in consultation with his assistant. Brunt dispatched the spot-kick once again giving the Baggies a lead with hardly any time left on the clock. Liverpool came close to equalising with Suarez right at the end but were unlucky to have the attempt cleared off the line. The match thus finished 2-1 in favour of West Brom as two penalties and two forced substitutions through injuries caused Liverpool’s downfall.
It was a disappointing defeat especially after taking the lead at the start of the second half. Liverpool started the match well and Kuyt should have scored early on but the injuries disrupted the defence as it looked extremely fragile under pressure, especially in the second half with Kyrgiakos struggling to tackle the pace of the West Brom attack. Spearing and Lucas were very quiet and not enough service was given to Suarez and Carroll up front.
Liverpool’s cause was not helped by the fact that almost all borderline decisions went in favour of West Brom, especially given the number of unfair tackles on the Liverpool strikers which somehow went unnoticed. All in all, it was a very bad result for Liverpool and it probably signalled the end of their hopes of European football next season.
Best player for Liverpool – Reina. Without his great saves, the scoreline would have looked much worse for Liverpool.

Courtesy: The LIVER WORD


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