West Brom go tumbling down

2009-05-17 16:47

Birmingham - Steven Gerrard masked the disappointment of not being able to get his hands on the Premier League trophy for yet another season by claiming one of the goals that eased Liverpool to a 2-0 victory on Sunday and confirmed West Bromwich Albion's relegation.

Sir Alex Ferguson's latest title success at Manchester United, 24 hours earlier, equalled Liverpool's collection of 18, which will have added to the pain at not being able to sustain their own, most concerted challenge since the inception of the Premier League.

This was a dead rubber for manager Rafael Benitez.

Liverpool could have been forgiven for lacking the purpose and focus that had generated genuine title hopes.

But it was still enough to despatch Albion back to the Championship, just 12 months after they had regained Premier League status.

Albion will return to the Championship because the spirited resistance they discovered came too late and because of their propensity for defensive mistakes that have been exploited throughout the campaign.

The errors have been ruthlessly punished and few have been more culpable than Shelton Martis. After 27 minutes of Albion dominance and reason for still dreaming about salvation - the central defender made another in his long litany of catastrophic errors.

He allowed himself to be caught in possession 30 yards from goal by Gerrard and he readily accepted the gift to chip over Dean Kiely.

Tony Mowbray's side had no reasons to be de-motivated, they were still fighting for their lives and could easily have been ahead inside five minutes.

Chris Brunt's corner skimmed off the head of Fernando Torres and only Pepe Reinas double save at the far post prevented Jonathan Greening squeezing his shot home.

Albion have had little in the shape of good fortune this season and key decisions continued to go against them when referee Martin Atkinson refused to award a penalty against Lucas for a blatant foul on Marc Antoine Fortune - as the on loan striker from Nancy tried to slide Juan Carlos Menseguez' cross into an empty net.

There was to be no repeat of West Brom's great escape under Bryan Robson four seasons ago. That was confirmed when Dirk Kuyt ran unchallenged to the edge of the area before measuring a powerful shot beyond Kiely just after the hour mark.

Mowbray's difficult task now is to persuade key players, like Borja Valero, Robert Koren and Fortune to remain with the club next season to mount an attempt to regain their Premier League status at their first attempt.

He has already admitted that he fears his squad could be broken up by the instant return to the second tier of English football, although one player who will almost certainly not be part of their Championship campaign is Czech Republic international Roman Bednar.

He has been suspended while the club conducts an internal enquiry into allegations of him being involved in purchasing drugs.

Bednar was pictured in The News of the World allegedly buying cocaine and cannabis near his home in Birmingham. He claims he was buying them for a friend and not for his own use, but now almost certainly faces being sacked by Albion chairman Jeremy Peace.


  • Shankly's Kin - 2009-05-18 09:57

    Well done boys. You've done us proud. Keep your heads up high, because I know I'll be keeping mine up. Liverpool has progressed immensely this season. This is the 1st time we've really challenged for title in ages. The experience will help for next season. Viva la-Rafalucion!!!

  • TRUE Red - 2009-05-18 10:13

    Liverpool 2 - West Brom 0 WELL DONE guy's - it was easy to be disheartened after Saturdays result, which we all knew was inevitable anyway, but you guy's STILL got the win ! That sends a clear message for the new season ! As LFC supporters, we have no silverware this season, but we, and whether the ManUre guy's like to admit it or not, have LOTS to be proud of in terms of our progress : 3 seasons ago - 30 points behind Chelsea ! 2 seasons ago - 23 points behind UTD ! Last season - 11 points behind UTD ... This season - 4 points behind UTD ! (so far) This is 2nd season in a row we finished with the most points at the end of the season & we scored the most goals. We also accumalated our best total so far in "Premier League" years (83 vs 82) and still have a game left, we have the Best Goal Difference & took 14 out of 18 points against the rest of the "Big 4" ! We can finish 2nd place from 4th & while no team ever won the title from 4th place we made a very good fight of it, especially when ManUre could have wrapped it up at Old Toilet in March already ! Champions League quaterfinals. Not semi's like last year, or the final like 2005 & 2007, but still a great achivement ! So even tough we leave empty handed, I truly believe this will give the guy's HUGE confidence for the immediate future ! The KEY is to firstly maintain what we have achieved this season. Then, the obvious, where the title was lost - the mid season draws ! The only place where we need to improve & play like we did during the last 10 games of the season ! If we can improve the bench, so that when key players like Stevie, Torres & Alonso get injured, which happened alot during this season, we CAN do it - DON'T change the starting 11 too much, the above proves they have what it takes. We need a bigger squad, like UTD & Chelsea, so we can compete in all competitions & not have to focus on 1 / 2 at a time only. CAN'T WAIT FOR THE NEW SEASON !

  • Anonymous User - 2009-05-18 11:51

    true red, "This is 2nd season in a row we finished with the most points at the end of the season " if this was the case wouldnt liverpool have won the league?

  • TRUE Red - 2009-05-18 14:04

    what i meant was that in the final run-in, say last 10 games or so ... 'Pool lost the title during the middle of the season, say mid Jan to end of Feb, with all the draws

  • OnlyMyOpinion - 2009-05-18 17:53

    6 red cards just for players challenging Alsonso (including Lampard), more penalties awarded against Liverpool's opponents in Premiership, got a better start than their opponents to the season, if they can maintain those advantages next season, then I think they will win the league. Otherwise you guys are dreaming, its going to be Chelsea and United at it again. Almost the whole of Liverpool's Spanish Armada will be in SA for the Confederation's cup (except for Rafa and backroom staff), so I cannot see how they going to have a better start season than they did this year. I could be wrong, can't wait for August, when reality will kick in.

  • RedStreak - 2009-05-18 17:56

    The first goal was gift to Gerrard, how can a defender playing in the Premiership, defend like that. I hope those coming up are of better quality.

  • Anonymous User - 2009-05-19 09:25

    How is it the Reds fault if the opposition play dirty against the maestro that is Xabi Alonso ? The only card which wasn't deserved was Lampard's. Also, the Spain team played in the much more competitive European Championships last summer, so Confed Cup is nothing in comparison. It's the reason why Torres was injured so much this past season. What you forget to mention is that the Reds hit the woodwork something like 30 times this season - talk about bad luck ! Imagine if only HALF of those went in ? The title would have been wrapped up long ago, but no "buts" or if's", just stating facts like you did mate. Fact is UTD may have won by a whisker, but looked very scrappy for 90% of the games. They HAVE to improve to keep the title, as luck will surely run out. As for Chelsea, the Blues are going to very difficult next season for both UTD & 'Pool, no doubt

  • Anonymous User - 2009-05-19 10:51

    If Alonso is the maestro, why did Rafa want to sell him last summer, in order to buy Astonvilla's Gareth Barry. Like most things the waiter says and does don't make any sense. Alonso almost left for Italy, if I can remember.

  • Anonymous User - 2009-05-19 12:50

    What does Rafa wanting to sell him have anything to do with the fact that the man is a genuis ? Stevie & Torres may grab all the headlines, but as one coach said, "to stop Liverpool, stop Alonso" - he IS the engine room & without a doubt, 'Pool's player of the season in my opinion based on his consistensy. Don't forget, 'Pool don't have the money that UTD or Chelsea have, so in order to buy a player, sometimes another player has to be / has been sold. I know Real Madrid want Alonso bad, but i REALLY hope he doesn't want to go !

  • Anonymous User - 2009-05-20 11:26

    In other words Gareth Barry is a better maestro than Alonso, like a Scholes, Giggs or Beckham, etc, products from Fergie's School of Footballing Ingenuity. Also, Kiki Machedo, Danny Wellback, Jonny Evans, Lee Martin, etc, people you will get accustomed to in the future. It is not all about money, its about vision, about blending the players, about character. The waiter falls quite short on these, money is only an excuse for failure. Rick Parry was also the scapegoat, accused of not marketing the club properly, but attractive football and a charismatic manager must be the source of your branding. Peppe Reina kicking the ball upfront to Torres who scores is as unattractive as the waiter himself.

  • Anonymous User - 2009-05-20 14:04

    What you fail to understand is that LFC does not have the budget that UTD or Chelsea does, so in order to get 1 player, another must be sold. Barry is nowhere close to Alonso, but with the 6+5 European rule coming into play, Rafa HAS to get more English players in the club. As for youngsters, LFC has given their youngsters much more chance than UTD this season. We frequently saw Insua, El Zhar, Lucas, Ngog, Spearing, etc given a chance this year. Macheda was a 2 goal wonder - couldn't repeat it after that hey ? Also, LFC's younsters are in the final of the FA Youth Cup, and are defending last year's trophy. They also won the league last season. As for your attractive football, that has not even happened ONCE ever ! Everyone agreed LFC played the most attractive football this season, even beating the Gunners. UTD on the other hand may have won the title, but it was extremely scrappy. Something like TEN 1-0 wins, BORING ! We scored the most goals for the 2nd season in a row & had the most comeback victories. This is NOT a pi$$ing contest anyway, just the truth. Well Done to UTD, but take off the blinkers !

  • Anonymous User - 2009-05-20 16:29

    Interesting indeed, the amazing thing about Kiki Macheda, is that he is only 17 years old, and he moved directly from the Academy directly into the first team, the only other player to do that was one called George Best (the legend).

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