Keane 34, 43, Arbeloa 90.
West Brom 0
Apologies for lateness of this piece but that’s the way it is sometimes when you have “guests” in the house for the weekend!
Phew! A simple, safe three points, no last minute heroics from us, or the opposition! Perhaps there were small signs of pressure beginning to build after recent results but yesterday any tension that might have threatened to become a problem was, seemingly, released. None so much than for Robbie Keane who broke his Premiership scoring duck with two goals.
Keane hasn’t been playing badly nonetheless it must have been a relief to finally score in the league. The time was opportune as in the last few games we’ve been struggling to convert our chances. Inevitably people will look to the absence of Torres as reason for these difficulties even though our results, against The Mancs and Chelsea for example, haven’t suggested this. Nonetheless the games against Spurs and Atletico Madrid are ones we should have won so Keane’s “resurrection” is very welcome.
West Brom began by trying to play football. Without being patronising this was an admirable and a refreshing change as many visitors in their situation seem content to throw as many behind the ball as possible and invite us to try and break them down. Sadly for them it also played right into our hands. We were given the luxury of space, particularly out wide and it wasn’t long before Keane was testing the returning Scott Carson. We then had a sure fire penalty turned down by the referee when the ball hit Olsson’s hand. This is becoming a habit, two in two games, going a small way to dispelling the long hold myth that at Anfield all Liverpool players have to do is to ask and penalty shall be given!
West Brom continued to stick to their guns however, a combination of the windy conditions, which made passing for both sides slightly harder than normal, and a definite lack of potency in the final third meant that it was only a matter of time before we asserted ourselves and made it count,
Gerrard picked up a loose ball and despatched a precise pass for Keane to run onto and loft the ball over the keeper. Nine minutes later Keane doubled his premiership tally by latching onto Aurelio’s long ball to round Carson and coolly found the net from a difficult angle.
Any thoughts Keane might be having of getting a hat trick were quashed as he underwent his seemingly customary substitution, this time for Torres who announced his return with a venomous shot which was unfortunately straight at Carson. However, our dominance was finally reflected in the score when Mascherano seized on a tired clearance from West Brom’s defence. His pass via Kuyt, enabled Arbeloa to get his first of the season with a good finish across Carson into the far corner.
So, good business. A steadying win, Robbie Keane probably feeling better, Torres back, Rafa beginning contract talks, The Mancs losing. However, talk about how we will do is still grossly premature. Let’s just hope we can continue as we’ve started?
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Agger, Carragher, Aurelio, Benayoun, Mascherano, Gerrard (Alonso 80), Riera (Babel 65), Keane (Torres 72), Kuyt.
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Hyypia, Insua, El Zhar.
West Brom: Carson, Zuiverloon, Olsson, Donk, Robinson, Koren, Borja Valero, Greening, Kim (Filipe Teixeira 56), Bednar (Moore 56), Miller (Brunt 71).
Subs Not Used: Kiely, Hoefkens, Dorrans, Pele.