West Brom shock Liverpool

Liverpool were left stunned at a 2-0 defeat by a Ben

Foster-inspired West Bromwich Albion at Anfield in the Premier

League on Monday after being the victims of a classic smash and

grab.

Brendan Rodgers’s team had scored 12 times in their last three

Premier League home games to renew their ambitious long-term plans

of returning to the top four but they were shell-shocked by Gareth

McAuley and Romelu Lukaku’s late goals.

Chances and possession were wasted and Liverpool’s night had

been summed up with less than 15 minutes remaining when captain

Steven Gerrard saw a spot-kick, which was contentiously won by Luis

Suarez, saved by heroic West Brom keeper Foster.

For West Brom, who before kick-off had kept just one clean sheet

in their last 29 Premier League away games – with that shutout

coming at Anfield in their 1-0 win in April 2012 – it was a first

win in eight in all competitions but attention will focus on

Liverpool’s misery.

In what was a scrappy beginning, Jonjo Shelvey, starting in

place of Liverpool’s injured ?12m striker Daniel Sturridge, had an

early finish correctly disallowed for offside after Foster had

spilled Glen Johnson’s dipping shot.

And, despite not taking the lead, the chalked-off effort at

least gave Liverpool some spark, with the rejuvenated Stewart

Downing proving a menace down the right and Luis Suarez producing a

wonderful, backheeled, flicked cross on the left.

West Brom, who had January transfer deadline day rebel Peter

Odemwingie in their travelling party but not in the matchday squad,

offered little as an attacking threat but they would have been

relatively happy.

However, Baggies boss Steve Clarke, a former Liverpool coach,

would have known his visitors were fortunate not to concede before

half-time as Steven Reid almost netted an own goal when scooping

over the crossbar.

Jordan Henderson took a leaf out of Suarez’s book at the start

of the second half, producing his own backheel in an attempt to

open the scoring from a low Johnson cross from the right in front

of The Kop.

With 35 minutes remaining, West Brom – who humbled Liverpool 3-0

at The Hawthorns on the opening day of the season – were becoming a

little more adventurous and that led to a more open, end-to-end

game.

Rodgers decided to send on Fabio Borini and Raheem Sterling in

place of Shelvey and Henderson but West Brom were continuing to

make life difficult for their hosts, with a Gerrard shot well saved

by Foster.

And, in the 76th minute, Foster was again to deny Gerrard when,

after Suarez had gone down a little softly in claiming a push from

Jonas Olsson, the West Brom goalkeeper dived low to his left to

save the midfielder’s penalty.

It proved an incredibly costly failure from Gerrard as, in the

81st minute, West Brom scored with just their second shot of the

match when McAuley headed home from a corner.

And, in the final seconds before injury time, West Brom added to

Liverpool’s woe with a breakaway which resulted in substitute

Lukaku putting the result beyond doubt and moving his club above

their hosts to eighth in the table.