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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Despite his penalty miss, Long was soon replaced to a
standing ovation by the Hawthorns crowd with Lukaku brought on for his
Rodgers responded by introducing Joe Cole for Lucas, yet it was Clarke's side who continued to dominate.
should have had a third when Lukaku squared to Morrison to leave him
with just Reina to beat, however he blazed over the crossbar.
third goal soon arrived, though, when Lukaku rose unchallenged at the
back post in the 78th minute to head in a Liam Ridgewell cross.
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