Baggies sink sorry Reds
Clarke enjoys winning start with Baggies
Last Updated: 18/08/12 7:02pm
Brendan Rodgers endured an afternoon to forget on his first Premier League game in charge of Liverpool as Zoltan Gera's wonder-goal inspired a 3-0 West Brom victory over the 10-man Reds.
It was a far more satisfying debut for Baggies head coach Steve Clarke, who saw his side get their campaign off to the brightest of starts as a Peter Odemwingie penalty and a goal from debutant Romelu Lukaku sealed their home triumph at The Hawthorns.
The Reds enjoyed most of the chances and possession in the first half but things started to unravel two minutes before the break when Gera, returning from a lengthy stint out with injury, smoothly chested down a cleared James Morrison corner before unleashing a fizzing shot from 25 yards, leaving Pepe Reina with no chance of saving.
Man of the match: James Morrison who dominated the midfield.
Moment of the match: Daniel Agger's red card on 57 minutes.
Attempt of the match: Luis Suarez's rasping free-kick which flew just wide.
Save of the match: Ben Foster's decent stop to keep out a fierce Luis Suarez strike.
Talking point: Shane Long's saved penalty which was very poorly executed.
Goal of the game: Zoltan Gera's opener which he volley home from the edge of the area.
West Brom wasted an initial chance to double that lead in the second half when a clumsy Daniel Agger challenge on Shane Long saw referee Phil Dowd reach for his red card and point to the spot, but the Baggies striker's weak penalty was easily saved by Reina.
Albion did not have to wait long for another chance, however, as Long redeemed himself by winning another spot-kick after a Martin Skrtel foul, and Odemwingie made no mistake in converting.
Teenager Lukaku, on loan at The Hawthorns from Chelsea, came off the bench in the 68th minute and marked his debut in style, leaping to nod home a tidy chipped cross from Liam Ridgewell, which sealed the victory with 13 minutes remaining.
The Baggies started brightly and Ridgewell was only just too high with a 20-yard drive while Long's chip flew over the bar after he dispossessed Lucas Leiva.
But the first save of note came from Baggies keeper Ben Foster who parried away a powerful 20-yard drive from Suarez after a weaving run.
The home side were fortunate to win a free-kick when Long stumbled over Skrtel, but Steven Reid was unable to take advantage as his set-piece was deflected wide.
Suarez looked sharp and turned inside Gareth McAuley before forcing another save out of Foster.
He should have scored after half an hour when heading over from the edge of the six-yard box after attacking a Glen Johnson centre.
Albion came back strongly in the final minutes of the half which culminated in them taking the lead after 42 minutes.
Johnson was booked for a foul on Odemwingie and, although Reid's free-kick was deflected wide, the resulting corner led to the deadlock being broken.
Morrison's centre was headed away by Skrtel but Gera seized on the ball and in an instant flashed an unstoppable rising shot past Reina from 25 yards out.
Suarez's frustration boiled over in first-half injury-time when he was yellow carded for dissent.
Liverpool started the second half on the offensive and Suarez floated a free-kick wide after being brought down on the edge of the box by Youssouf Mulumbu.
But the Baggies weathered the initial storm and doubled their lead from the second of two penalties awarded them in the space of six minutes.
The Reds were reduced to 10 men after 58 minutes when Agger pulled back Long just inside the box only for the Republic of Ireland striker's weak spot-kick to be saved by Reina.
But referee Dowd awarded another penalty when he adjudged that Skrtel had tripped Long although this seemed a harsh decision.
This time Odemwingie took the spot-kick and hammered the ball past Reina.
Suarez missed a golden chance to reduce the arrears when he shot over from six yards after Foster had dropped a Steven Gerrard corner.
But Albion were now carving chances at will and Morrison shot wide with the goal at his mercy before substitute Lukaku put the icing on the cake for Albion after 77 minutes.Mulumbu's shot was deflected into the path of Ridgewell and his lovely lob to the back post was headed in by the on-loan Chelsea striker.
|West Bromwich Albion||Team Statistics||Liverpool|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|5||Shots on Target||2|
|6||Shots off Target||7|
|37.2||1st Half Poss.||62.8|
|42.6||2nd Half Poss.||57.4|
Barclays Premier League
|7||West Ham United||22||36|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||22||22|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||22||19|