Liverpool 0-2 West Brom
0-1 McAuley(91), 0-2 Lukaku (90)
No doubt Steve Clarke will take some comfort from going back to his previous employers and pulling off this smash and grab raid? Perhaps I’m being disrespectful to the visitors in saying that but the stats, almost five times as many attempts on goal as West Brom, would seem to support that? May be so but nineteen attempts and nothing to show for it suggest something else rather than just bad luck?
Worryingly BR’s post match comments suggested he was just as puzzled as if it wasn’t supposed to happen, as if victory was a given? However we must ask ourselves why, after all the decent form we have shown recently, we fell back into old ways. Poor finishing, everything going through Suarez and the recent signings, despite all the nice things Steve Clarke said about them before this game, anonymous and/or unproductive. Perhaps we were complacent or had one eye on Russia this Thursday? Churchill once described this country’s foreign policy as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. A phrase that sums up Liverpool FC in season 2012-13?
BR was forced into making one change due to the injury Daniel Sturridge picked up at City. Jonjo Shelvey took his place. Not surprisingly most red eyes were on Jamie Carragher who just when you thought he had shot his last dice, has risen phoenix like to enjoy another good spell in the side, you can’t keep class down. Sadly if any of the other players had shown half the commitment, application and tenacity that Carragher has shown throughout his career with us then we might have got something from the game?
West Brom began well passing the ball nicely however it was us struck the first blows a disallowed goal from Shelvey, offside after Foster could only spill Johnson’s shot. A totally unmarked Agger heading dangerously at Foster from a Downing corner only to see the keeper redeem himself by knocking it over the crossbar. Foster’s hands were then stung by a long range Downing effort.
Despite this it was a rather watered down performance. We were quiet and the crowd was quiet and so too were West Brom, not a shot on goal. We resorted to the old trick of filtering everything via Suarez or, to Downing out wide neither option provided us with enough to make it tell Our tentativeness was underlined in the first half, Shelvey’s potentially dangerous cross was low and hard across the six yard box but there not a red shirt on hand to turn it in. We even couldn’t rely on Reid to swipe it into the net with his attempted clearance. The second didn’t yield much more. Borini should have converted after Foster somehow managed to keep out Gerrard however, admittedly under pressure from West Brom defenders, he opted to use his right foot instead of his left and missed.
I see no reason why Borini can’t provide us with the increased options and problems to defenders that Sturridge does however, somehow he doesn’t meaning West Brom could concentrate all the defensive efforts on Suarez who laboured manfully before being swamped by the inevitable sea of West Brom shirts. Eventually he got something after Olsson lent on Suarez in the area, it was all the Uruguayan needed, sadly there was a sting in the tail Foster guessed correctly diving low to his left to knock away Gerrard’s penalty.
For all our chances I sensed doom! Reina produced a superb save to stop Mulumbu but from the resulting corner McAuley glanced a header home with Agger yet again failing to keep pace with his man. Game over, on the evidence of our play so far no one would have expected Liverpool to get two goals? We tried however, when you are chasing the game you are liable to leave yourself open at the back and Lukaku exploited this, outpacing the hapless Agger, to fire home West Brom’s second.
Rogers in his post match interview perhaps having learnt from his faux paux after the Oldham defeat, refused to criticise the players. He sited out the nineteen shots and the performance of Foster as if both were some kind of mitigation. He concluded the result was a big disappointment and looked and sounded genuinely puzzled as to how West Brom had managed to circumnavigate his plan however, if you only have one of them you’re asking for trouble?
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Jose Enrique, Agger, Carragher, Gerrard, Henderson (Sterling – 60′ ), Downing (Phillippe Coutinho – 78′ ), Lucas, Shelvey (Borini – 60′ ), Suarez Booked Substitutes: Jones, Skrtel, Wisdom, Phillippe Coutinho, Allen, Sterling, Borini
West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Reid Booked, Olsson, Ridgewell Booked, McAuley, Yacob, Morrison Booked, Brunt Booked, Dorrans (Lukaku – 74′ ), Mulumbu, Long (Fortune – 86′ ) Substitutes: Myhill, Jones, Tamas, Thomas, Rosenberg, Lukaku, Fortune