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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
18 August 2012
• The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
Referee: P. Dowd
• Attendance: 26039
West Bromwich Albion
Z. Gera 43'
P. Odemwingie 64'
R. Lukaku 77'
Thanks for joining us this afternoon, we'll see you soon.
FULL-TIME!! The referee calls it a day after an action-packed second 45 minutes. A goal down, from Gera's screamer, Liverpool looked good value to come back and rescue at least a point, however, two penalties, one converted by Odemwingie and one missed by Long, and a red card to Agger later, Rodgers' men imploded. From then on it was all West Brom, with substitute Lukaku adding a third, and the Reds pinned back as they looked to avoid further embarrassment. Words will be spoken about the softness of the penalty decisions and the sending off, I'm sure, but for today it's Clarke's men that get the three points giving the former assistant manager on Merseyside a dream start.
90' + 3'
Yellow Card Andy Carroll
Three minutes of added time.
The hosts now just happy to knock the ball about and see out the remaining minutes as they coast to victory.
Wave after wave of West Brom attack continues as Reina slides out to grab the ball from Lukaku's feet after a cross from the left.
Mulumbu again forces Reina into a top save, the Baggies' man this time shooting from range as the keeper tips over.
Reine pulls off a good save to deny West Brom bagging a fourth, Lukaku's involved once more as he slots Mulumbu in but the midfielder's shot is too close to the keeper, who parries wide.
Suarez wastes another great chance as he heads wide from Borini's cross. The striker's not had a great day in the finishing department and he does not look impressed.
Lukaku looking dangerous once more as he cuts in from the right and wins a corner as he shot hits Skrtel.
Assist Liam Ridgewell
Goal Romelu Lukaku
GOOAAL!! 3-0 to West Brom, told you they weren't done! Lukaku has looked bright ever since coming on and he now has the ball in the back of the net. Liverpool failed to clear the corner leaving Ridgewell free to dink a lovely cross from the left to the far post where the Belgian international was waiting to head home from close-range.
Yellow Card Marc-Antoine Fortune
West Brom aren't done yet as they come forward and win a corner on the near side.
HOW IS IT NOT 3-0 TO WEST BROM? Lukaku makes an immediate impact as he powers his way past his man before sprinting clear, he then unselfishly squares it for James Morison who is left to pass the ball home past Reina, however, the midfielder gets it horribly wrong and skies his effort. Poor.
Changes all round as Clarke gives on-loan Chelsea man Romelu Lukaku a run-out, replacing penalty zero Long. Meanwhile Rodgers gives Joe Cole a chance to prove his worth after a spell on loan in France with Lillie last year, bringing off the quiet Lucas.
Corner for Liverpool is fumbled by Foster, the ball falls to Suarez but he can't react quick enough to get a shot on goal.
So Liverpool with an uphill battle on their hands now. After one debatable penalty decision went against them, and Agger saw red, Long handed them a lifeline with his weak effort. However, a second controversial spot-kick was awarded and Odemwinige doubled the Baggies' lead. Rodgers looks stunned.
Penalty Goal Peter Odemwingie
GOOAALL!! Odemwingie makes no mistake and finds the net. 2-0.
It's Long who wins it again, after stealing the ball from Skrtel's feet the striker goes down and the referee says penalty...
SECOND PENALTY TO WEST BROM!!
Missed Penalty Shane Long
Penalty save Pepe Reina
SAVED!! Poor, poor effort from the spot from Long as Reina saves low to his right with ease.
Red Card Daniel Agger
Liverpool are leaving wide open spaces at the back as they flow forward in search of a goal, Long breaks away for the Baggies and goes down in the box under pressure from Agger. He's the last man and has to go, RED CARD for the Reds. Penalty to come... PENALTY TO WEST BROM!!
Yellow Card Lucas Leiva
The visitors are still seeing more of the ball but they're just failing to break down the West Brom defence at the moment. As the Baggies counter Lucas is cautioned for a miss-timed tackle.
Liverpool are searching for an equaliser as they dominate possession this half, however Johnson doesn't help their cause by lashing a cross straight behind for a goal-kick.
Downing cuts into the box from the right-hand-side and ends up in a good position, however he holds onto the ball too long and gets crowded out.
Suarez gets it all wrong and the ball flies harmlessly wide.
Early free-kick in a dangerous area for Liverpool as Mulumbu trips Suarez just outside the box...
Liverpool kick-off the second-half.
David Lynch reports: "It seems Luis Suarez was also booked for a show of dissent as the players left the field. Looked like there was very little in it but the Uruguayan's reputation certainly precedes him and both he and his team must show a lot more composure in the second half."
HALF-TIME!! After a fairly even, and open, first-half at The Hawthorns it's Clarke who will be the happier of two new managers as they head in for their first of many half-time team-talks. Both sides had chances, with Suarez of Liverpool probably having the best of them including a header from point blank range, however it is an early goal of the season contender from Gera that separates the teams at the break.
45' + 3'
Yellow Card Luis Suárez
45' + 2'
Free-kick for Liverpool. Gerrard delivers from the right, it's headed out but drops to Suarez who tries his luck on the volley, however he can't match Gera and scuffs the strike. The ball is deflected by a couple of players in the box but is eventually cleared and the half-time whistle goes.
Two minutes of injury time added.
Goal Zoltán Gera
WHAT A GOOOOAAAAL!! 1-0 West Brom and it's Zoltan Gera with an absolute screamer. The Baggies' corner was initially headed clear, but the ball only went as far the midfielder who took one touch with the chest to compose himself before volleying it into the top corner. Pepe Reina with no chance.
Reid's effort is deflected behind for a corner, off the Liverpool wall.
Yellow Card Glen Johnson
Free-kick in a similar position for West Brom now, though off-centre, as Johnson gets booked for a tackle on Peter Odemwingie.
It's into the wall and then collected by Foster after a slight deflection. Again, should have done better.
Yacob fouls Gerrard from behind in a great position just outside the Baggies' box. The midfielder is standing over it...
Ugly, ugly effort from Johnson when he should have at least tested Foster. Suarez's initial strike is blocked, then as the ball bounces to the back of the area the full back arrives at the perfect time only to blaze it horribly over.
Borini is back up and play restarts.
Gerrard whips in a delightful in-swinging ball from the near side, Borini looks to get on the end of it but is shoved out the way by Ridgewell in a 'welcome to the Premier League' kind of way. No penalty given, but the Reds' forward is staying down as he receives treatment.
Testing ball in from Youssuf Mulumbu is headed behind by Martin Skrtel. The corner is pinball-ed about a bit in the area before a Red shirt hacks it away.
Another good chance for Suarez, Johnson crosses from the left and finds the forward at the far post, he jumps unchallenged but can't keep the header down. In fact, that was a great chance, and it was wasted.
West Brom enjoying a but of possession just not as Reid's cross is half-cleared. The Baggies then win a free-kick wide on the right, the initial ball is headed away but the second cross is met by Olsson, however the defender nods over.
Suarez again threatening on the turn as he races away from the Baggies' defence, however he miss-hits his left-footed effort and it goes wide of the mark.
Suarez brings the ball down beyond the last defender before shooting wide, however the linesman's flag is raised. The Uruguayan was penalised for something in the build-up.
Liverpool starting to dominate a little bit as they pin the home side back for a short spell. Johnson again flowing forward on the left before they switch it to the right where Kelly sees his shot blocked.
Very good game this one so far. Both sides looking to get forward when they can, which is leading to an open, free-flowing contest. Let's hope it continues.
SO CLOSE from Borini. Glen Johnson jinks his way down the left-hand-side, just about keeping the ball in play, the England international then cuts it back for the striker whose curling effort goes just wide of the far post. Unlucky.
Suarez is looking lively for the reds as a swift turn in the area creates a yard and a shooting opportunity. Foster makes the save, though.
Good, typical Rodgers' style move from Liverpool as some neat passing leads to Steven Gerrard arriving late and getting a shot away, however Gareth McAuley is well-positioned to make the block.
Straight away a good chance for the hosts at the other end as Shane Long puts it through the legs of Daniel Agger before going to ground. The free-kick is given right on the edge of the 18-yard box but Reid puts it over the bar.
Liverpool counter again and this time Suarez gets free of the defence and forces Foster into a good save, the forward nutmegged Jonas Olsson in the build-up and should have done a bit better, in truth.
West Brom are certainly getting in amongst Liverpool here as Suarez trips Steven Reid in frustration after a counter attack breaks down.
Liverpool come straight back as Stuart Downing plays a ball in towards Fabio Borini, the new Reds' forward is in a great position but fluffs his header wide. GREAT chance gone begging.
Both sides have lined up with 4-3-3 formations and the hosts have come out flying. Liam Ridgewell tries his luck with the first shot of the day but it goes just over.
West Brom get us underway.
The teams have taken to the pitch at The Hawthorns and kick-off is moments away. Excited much?!
Back to the stats, and this is an interesting one that might worry Reds' fans. Liverpool had the worst chance conversion rate of any teams last season, scoring from only 9% of attempts. However, they could be deemed unlucky as they also hit the woodwork 33 times, more than any team in the Premier League era analysed by Opta.
Just aside from the stats, you may be wondering why Glen Johnson is at left-back today and Martin Kelly has come in at right-back, it's because Jose Enrique has picked up a knock but reports suggest it is nothing serious. That would be a big loss so early on in the season.
The visitors are also in good form having won their last three fixtures, including two Europa League qualifiers against Gomel and their final pre-season game with Bayer Leverkusen.
The home side lost their first three pre-season friendlies 1-0, but didn't lose in the six after, winning four, drawing two and scoring 13 goals
West Brom gave away the joint-highest number of penalties in the 2011-12 league season (9). While Luis Suarez, who will line-up for Liverpool this afternoon won more spot-kicks than any other player (4).
Righty, with the Premier League 2012-13 kick-off just 15 minutes away (I don't think I can bare to wait any longer!) let's have some interesting match facts and statistics about this clash...
Meanwhile, former Reds' assistant and current Baggies' boss Steve Clarke also gives one new signing a debut, Claudio Yacob in midfield, however Yassine El Ghanassy and Romelu Lukaku start on the bench. Ben Foster, signed on a permanent basis in the summer, plays in goal.
Brendan Rodgers hands debuts to summer signings Joe Allen, from former club Swansea, and Fabio Borini from Roma. Lucas also makes his return from injury in midfield while Andy Carroll starts on the bench and Joe Cole misses out with a hamstring injury.
West Brom starting XI: Foster; Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Morrison, Mulumbu, Yacob, Gera; Long, Odemwingie. Subs: Myhill, Jara Reyes, Dawson, Lukaku, El Ghanassy, Brunt, Fortune. Liverpool starting XI: Reina; Kelly, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson; Lucas, Allen, Gerrard; Downing, Borini, Suarez. Subs: Jones, Adam, Henderson, Shelvey, Carroll, Carragher, Cole.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's live play-by-play commentary of West Brom v Liverpool on this fine Premier League opening day. Both sides are under new management this term and will be hoping to get off to a good start. The line-ups are in so we'll have team news in full to follow...
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