English Premiership

Liverpool suffer losing start

2012-08-18 18:16
Brendan Rodgers (File)

London - Brendan Rodgers endured a disastrous first Premier League game as Liverpool manager as his 10 men succumbed to a 3-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

In what was a dream start to life at the Hawthorns for their new head coach Steve Clarke, the Baggies eased to victory courtesy of a Peter Odemwingie penalty sandwiched between goals from Zoltan Gera and Romelu Lukaku.

While Gera's strike was an early contender for goal of the season, Odemwingie's spot kick arrived just three minutes after one had been missed by Shane Long - the foul on the Irishman earning Liverpool defender Daniel Agger a red card.

Substitute Lukaku, on loan from Chelsea, added gloss with a goal on his debut as Clarke, assistant to Kenny Dalglish at Anfield last season, gained revenge for his close-season sacking.

It was a humbling start for former Swansea boss Rodgers, who had handed Joe Allen his Reds debut, as the Northern Irishman discovered the full extent of the task awaiting him at Liverpool.

A fairly even first half had seen Luis Suarez twice denied well by Ben Foster in the Baggies goal, while Long threatened with an audacious lob over the bar after outmuscling Lucas.

Uruguay internation Suarez was guilty of missing a gilt-edged chance on the half-hour mark, though, when he rose unmarked only to head Glen Johnson's left-wing centre over the crossbar from close range.

Worse was to follow for the Reds when Albion took the lead in stunning fashion just before the interval.

Martin Skrtel could only clear James Morrison's corner from the right into the path of Gera, on the edge of the area, and he demonstrated sublime technique to smash an unstoppable half-volley beyond Jose Reina.

It was a first Premier League goal in 20 months for the Hungary international in what was his first competitive outing since suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury last November.

Suarez curled a free-kick shortly after half-time and the visitors' day soon took another turn for the worse.

A threaded pass from James Morrison sent Long through and the Ireland international tumbled inside the area following contact from Agger and Dowd responded by pointing to the penalty spot and sending Agger off.

Long's tame 60th-minute spot kick was comfortably saved by Reina, but the Baggies were handed a reprieve just three minutes later when Skrtel clumsily caught the former Reading player inside the penalty area.

This time, the home side made no mistake as Odemwingie, having wrestled the ball from James Morrison, stepped up and lashed a shot inside the left corner.

Despite his penalty miss, Long was soon replaced to a standing ovation by the Hawthorns crowd with Lukaku brought on for his debut.

Rodgers responded by introducing Joe Cole for Lucas, yet it was Clarke's side who continued to dominate.

They should have had a third when Lukaku squared to Morrison to leave him with just Reina to beat, however he blazed over the crossbar.

The third goal soon arrived, though, when Lukaku rose unchallenged at the back post in the 78th minute to head in a Liam Ridgewell cross.

Andy Carroll was introduced immediately, but it was too little too late for the visitors on what proved to be a miserable day for the Reds and Rodgers.

Read more on:    liverpool  |  epl  |  brendan rodgers  |  soccer


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