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February 2, 2014
• The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
Referee: K. Friend
• Attendance: 26132
West Bromwich Albion
V. Anichebe 67'
D. Sturridge 24'
That's all that we have time for from the Hawthorns, as the Baggies hold fourth-place Liverpool for a vital point in the relegation battle. We hope that you have enjoyed our live coverage of West Brom's valiant Premier League draw against Liverpool, I've been Simon Harrison, and I hope to see you again next time.
A shocking pass across his own penalty area was the gift that the Baggies needed to get back into the game, after Kolo Toure gifted possession to Anichebe. Liverpool failed to find their attacking potency and fluidity, and West Brom have profited.
FULL TIME! It's a valuable point for Pepe Mel's West Brom, but Liverpool will feel as though they've lost ground in the race for the fourth Champions League place. A goal from substitute Anichebe was enough to level for the hosts, who turned things around in the second half.
90' + 3'
Dorrans tries to release Anichebe with a first time pass, from deep in his own half, but the former Everton striker hasn't got the pace to get on the end of the pass. Mignolet rushes out, before shepherding the through ball into his box, for him to collect.
90' + 2'
Anichebe goes down cradling his head, as Skrtel jumps over the Nigerian striker to win a header. The referee awards a free-kick 35 yards out from goal, and this is an opportunity to throw the ball into the box, despite the Baggies not over-committing. Mignolet collects the delivery with ease.
Important block by Lugano, as the Uruguayan clears away a Sterling cross at the near post, after the English winger did excellently to shake off the challenge of Ridgewell. There are four minutes of stoppage time.
We're into the dying embers of the game, and West Brom are still threatening to score a second. An unconvincing clearance from Kelly is won by Mulumbu, as the midfielder directs his header forward in front of the run of Dorrans. The Scottish substitute looks to bring the ball down, but it is cleared off his toes.
Yellow Card Diego Lugano
Half chance for Skrtel! The physical defender smashes an effort towards goal, but it's well blocked by a ruck of Baggies players, before Anichebe manages to clear. Billy Jones then goes down injured, and will receive treatment on the field. The home side have made all of their substitutions, however.
Good battling by Ridgewell to break past Sterling down the left hand side, but the former Birmingham full-back can only set the ball back, as the penalty area is full of red shirts, with only Anichebe present to challenge them. West Brom are clearly cautious of Liverpool's ability to break.
Yellow cards are aplenty, as things get a little bit scrappy and cynical, with neither side prepared to allow their opposition to break dangerously. A win would be excellent for both sides, having strong implications on both the Champions League race and the relegation battle.
Yellow Card Youssouf Mulumbu
A few minutes devoid of any kind of quality, as both sides are more willing to clear their lines than to break forward smoothly. The emphasis is certainly on neither side leaving empty handed today, they both need to take something home.
Yellow Card Steven Gerrard
Heading into the final ten minutes of the game, and this is getting rather hectic. Steven Gerrard now receives a yellow card, after clattering into McAuley slightly late. West Brom have managed to manoeuvre themselves into a position where they can steal a win.
STURRIDGE! The England international is fed inside by Sterling, but Foster is quick off his line to narrow the angle, and slide in to dispossess the former Chelsea striker. Two half chances in two minutes for Liverpool.
ALLEN! The substitute drives an effort directly at Foster at the near post, and Liverpool have their first chance in around 20 minutes! A poor effort, but positive signs for the away side!
West Brom continue to press intensely and try to strangle Liverpool into submission, preventing them from playing their usual passing game. In terms of moves of genuine quality, the only one from the visitors today led to Sturridge's goal. Other than that, they've lacked wit and guile.
Changes for both sides, as Brendan Rodgers looks to steady the ship, while West Brom can smell vulnerability. Liverpool just haven't come out well in the second 45 minutes, Sturridge and Suarez haven't been able to link up too often. Coutinho and Sterling haven't been able to drive from deep too often either.
Yellow Card Luis Suárez
Narrowly under 20 minutes left to play, and the Baggies faithful are hopeful of a favourable result here this afternoon. The physical presence of Anichebe is causing Liverpool a few issues, as his large frame is allowing for the ball to be fed into his feet before being rebounded back out wide.
Sturridge is fed through on goal, but Foster is quick off his line to collect the bouncing ball. West Brom are right back in this game, and the atmosphere has picked up excellently. Mulumbu is robbed of the ball, as he shapes to try his luck from the edge of the penalty area.
YACOB! Good clearance by Cissokho! Brunt whips in a free-kick to the back post, before the Argentine midfielder nods the ball back across goal from the byline. Cissokho is on hand to hook the ball away from four yards out.
Toure still can't believe what he's done, but that equaliser is no less than what the hosts deserve. They've looked much sharper in the second half, and Anichebe finished with aplomb. Plenty of work to do for Liverpool now, as the Baggies have an important point to defend.
Goal Victor Anichebe
GOOOOOOAL! ANICHEBE SCORES AFTER A TERRIBLE KOLO TOURE MISTAKE! The Ivory Coast defender slots the ball across his own penalty area, giving possession directly to Anichebe, and the former Man City defender looks distraught! The substitute doesn't think twice, slotting the ball beyond Mignolet brilliantly!
BRUNT! Great hands by Mignolet! The West Brom midfielder looks to place the ball around the wall and nestle his effort into the bottom left corner, but the Belgian keeper is more than equal to it. He pounces on the strike, and doesn't allow it to wriggle from his grasp, with Baggies players lurking.
Toure is penalised for a clumsy tackle on the edge of the penalty area, with Gera and Brunt interested in taking the dead ball. Mignolet is yet to be tested from range, and this could be an excellent opportunity for the Baggies, especially with the sun potentially in the Belgian's eyes.
Strong run from Berahino! The Englishman drives down the left flank, before driving towards the edge of the penalty box but his cross is blocked by Skrtel. That'll be the last involvement for Berahino, as the youngster is brought off for the more physically imposing Anichebe.
Yellow Card Liam Ridgewell
West Brom are looking much brightly, with Berahino now heavily involved, along with Gera. Vydra is still being bullied, looking isolated in attack, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Czech international being replaced by Victor Anichebe during the second half.
SUAREZ! The Uruguayan is denied by a flailing leg from Foster, after the striker cleverly juggled with the ball on the edge of the box, before looking to sidefoot his effort past the onrushing English goalkeeper. Great stop!
Mulumbu tries to deliver from the right, but Cissokho makes the block, before Sterling gives the ball away to Berahino. The England U21 forward strikes the ball first time, but can only balloon his effort over the bar.
The first ten minutes of the second half have been much more promising for the hosts, who look far better whenever Gera is given plenty of the ball. Despite his age, the Hungarian midfielder is at the centre of everything promising from the Baggies, giving Berahino plenty of the ball and allowing Jones to overlap well.
MCAULEY! The central defender rises excellently to meet Brunt's corner delivery, but Mignolet is equal to the header, turning it away from the danger zone brilliantly! Liverpool then break, with Sturridge driving to the byline, but his squared ball is cleared well.
BRUNT! Great block by Flanagan, after a great West Brom move! Gera was involved twice, flicking the ball around the corner, before a back post cross by Jones was nearly turned home by Brunt!
BRUNT! The opportunity is wasted by the midfielder, who blasts over the crossbar from 20 yards from goal. The box was loaded with blue and white shirts, but Brunt instead seemed to opt for a shot, much to the dismay of the home supporters behind Mignolet's goal.
Gerrard gives away a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area, bringing down Gera, after the Hungarian skipped inside the Liverpool captain cleverly. The home side want a yellow card, but the referee isn't willing to reach to his pocket. This is an important chance for the hosts.
BRUNT! The left-sided midfielder drives at Flanaga, before cutting onto his weaker right foot, and can only float an effort harmlessly wide of the target. He scored a screamer against rivals Aston Villa, so he can't be blamed for trying his luck, West Brom need something out of nothing to get back into this game.
We are back underway for the second 45 minutes, with Pepe Mel's West Brom needing to show something entirely different if they are to take any spoils from this afternoon's early Premier League kick-off. Liverpool have looked comfortable, Mignolet in particular, and the Baggies are doing little to suggest they can put some breathing space between themselves and the bottom three.
Be sure to join us for all the second half action, as West Brom bid to leave the Hawthorns with more than merely a whimper. Uninspiring stuff from the hosts thus far, but they've got options on the bench to change things around. If Liverpool are to net three more goals without reply, the Baggies will slip into the bottom three.
Liverpool have had several good chances, while West Brom have laboured, despite coming out of the blocks quite brightly. Gera has been the only creative player for the home side, with Vydra offering nothing in attack. Pepe Mel needs to make a change in the second half, with both the Czech striker and Berahino having little influence.
HALF TIME! An uninspiring first half for the hosts, with the atmosphere mirroring the performance, rather flat. Daniel Sturridge's 50th Premier League goal has given his side the lead, and deservedly so. Mignolet has been a spectator for the majority of the first 45 minutes.
45' + 2'
Great tackle by McAuley! The Northern Irish defender steps out of defence to slide in and dispossess Coutinho, with the Brazilian in full flight. Yacob nearly brought down the Liverpool midfielder moments earlier, but thankfully for West Brom, missed his man entirely.
Two minutes of stoppage time have been awarded in the first half.
Only a few minutes until the break, and the Baggies will be trying to press for the equaliser with desperation. Given the change in their central defence pairing, the priority will be to allow Lugano to settle into the speed of the game, but Pepe Mel will be wanting parity as soon as possible.
GERA! West Brom press and win the ball back, before Berahino sets the ball back to Gera, who takes a touch out of his feet and strikes wide of the far post! Diego Lugano was indeed the man to take to the field, and Baggies fans collectively groan at the potential nightmare showing that they might be about to witness.
STERLING! McAuley now makes a block to deny the young Englishman, and Olsson has finally gone down, to receive some treatment, but his afternoon is over. Lugano will be readied for the home side, despite the experience centre-half having a nightmare against Aston Villa last time out.
Great challenge from Olsson! Cissokho drives down the left hand side, getting beyond Berahino and Jones far too easily, before squaring in search of Suarez, who is positioned in the centre of the six yard box. His Swedish marker slides in smartly to divert the cross away from Suarez, and looks to have injured himself in the process.
COUTINHO! The young Brazilian pushes towards the edge of the box, before his first attempt of the game whistles wide of the near post, with Foster having his angles covered.
Liverpool are being able to turn defence into attack very quickly at the moment, with the deep lying Gerrard and Coutinho being able to pick long passes to find the feet of Suarez and Sturridge. With Sterling running off the forward two, the Baggies are being constantly kept on their toes.
Ten minutes until the half time break, and Daniel Sturridge's 50th Premier League goal is the only thing separating the two sides. The home team can't really afford to drop three points this afternoon, and will be presumably be needing to push for an equaliser before half time, to give them a platform to build upon in the second 45 minutes.
West Brom are being forced back to Foster with worrying regularity, even from very positive positions. Liverpool are beginning to press effectively, and cause the hosts a few problems, especially with Sterling driving from deep whenever he is afforded some space.
STURRIDGE! TOURE! Sterling drives forward once again, committing plenty of blue and white shirts to the ball, but his strike from 25 yards is deflecting wide by a block. The corner is whipped in, but can't be turned home from five yards out by neither Sturridge nor Toure, before Foster pounces on the loose ball!
The opening half an hour has been promising for Liverpool, with the visiting side taking the lead, despite not dominating in the manner in which they may have liked. Rodgers' men haven't monopolised possession, or had too many clear cut chances, but they have limited the Baggies to very sparing forays forward.
West Brom have managed to work the ball into wide areas on several occasions, with the likes of Gera and Brunt able to deliver, but the less-than-intimidating targets of Vydra and Berahino haven't been able to compete aerially.
SUAREZ! The Uruguay international tries his luck from a long-range free-kick once again, but Foster is happy to watch the effort bounce wide of the target. He's been flitting in and out of this game, but his pass to Sturridge for the breakthrough goal has really brought this game to life.
That was more like it from Liverpool, a flowing move ending in quite some style, after a very intuitive back post cross from Suarez. West Brom look to make an immediate reply, but two crosses in quick succession from Vydra and Gera, make their respective paths to Henderson and Mignolet.
Assist Luis Suárez
Goal Daniel Sturridge
GOOOOOAL! DANIEL STURRIDGE MAKES IT 1-0! In a very congested penalty area, Sturridge is found at the back post, to poke home! Sterling and Suarez combine well down the right, before the Uruguayan lobs the ball to his strike partner, who simply has to cushion the ball into an unguarded net.
It's now Olsson's turn to make an important interception, denying a Suarez through ball from finding his strike partner. Liverpool aren't in full flow yet, they're labouring and their usually fluid front four are struggling to get on the same wavelength, which is perhaps courtesy of a good start by the Baggies.
The opening 20 minutes have been even, with both sides having their share of half chances. Gera has looked good in between the lines for West Brom, while Sturridge is looking sharp for the visiting side. Tough to call which side will be netting the breakthrough goal here this afternoon.
Important interception by Mulumbu! Sturridge wriggles his way into the penalty box, before laying the ball inside to Suarez, who was threatening to strike the ball first time from 20 yards out. Mulumbu reads the pass by Sturridge, stepping out to deny the Uruguayan from receiving the ball in a dangerous area.
MULUMBU! Jones has a cross blocked by Cissokho, to give the Baggies the chance to convert from a corner. The initial cross is half cleared, before the loose ball is stabbed back to the lurking Mulumbu by McAuley. The powerful midfielder strikes towards the bottom left corner, but Gerrard makes an important block.
Within the opening quarter of an hour, Yacob has been able to earn himself a yellow card, after a series of mistimed and cynical challenges, the latest of which on Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard. With a long afternoon ahead of them, especially against a side who look to break with speed, Pepe Mel might have some worries about his side's ability to retain eleven men on the field.
Yellow Card Claudio Yacob
Good defensive work by McAuley who turns Suarez away from goal, as the Uruguayan looked to drive at the Northern Ireland international and test Foster. Instead of being able to get a shot away, Suarez is forced wide, before his eventual square ball to the edge of the area is cleared.
OFFSIDE! Sturridge is found by a well weighted ball over the top, before taking the pass down smartly on his chest, and advancing into the penalty area. The linesman has his flag up however, denying the England international the chance to slot beyond the isolated Foster.
VYDRA! Half chance for the Czech striker, who pokes his head towards a near post delivery by Gera, but the former Watford man can't get good enough contact on the ball, which is hooked away by Skrtel.
Excellent work in the centre of the park from Mulumbu, who stays strong to fend off Coutinho, before sidestepping the Brazilian and returning the ball back to Foster. Neither side are able to retain possession for two long, due to unforced errors or battling midfield work.
The away side are beginning to get into their groove, with their central defensive players splitting and permitting Flanagan and Cissokho to support offensively. Sterling drives down the right hand side, but Olsson is out quickly to slide in and stop the youngster in his tracks.
Suarez takes the first dead ball of the afternoon, but the wall does its job, leaping to deflect the effort over the bar for the first corner of the match. It's still an even start, with neither team having any kind of sustained pressure in the opposition half. The set piece is wasted.
West Brom continue to press, closing down the likes of Suarez as soon as possibly. Yacob puts in two niggling challenges on the Uruguayan in as many minutes, with the hosts clearly wanting to stop Liverpool from getting into their stride. Liverpool have a free-kick, about 30 yards out from goal.
This game has started in a lively fashion, with both sides keen to get the ball from back to front quickly. Rodgers already has his notepad out, furiously scribbling down notes, with Pepe Mel already on the edge of his technical area to bark out his own set of instructions. A nervy game in terms of what the outcome could mean for both sides.
Liverpool are keen to clear their lines early on, hoofing upfield at any given opportunity, clearly keen to not concede early on to give West Brom something to defend. Mel's side are prepared to press high early on, putting plenty of men in the final third, looking to disrupt Liverpool's style of play.
Zoltan Gera is heavily involved in the opening exchanges, as the Hungarian midfielder tries to turn two half volleys towards goal, with the first blocked and the second cleared upfield by Cissokho. The experienced Baggies midfielder is played in behind Vydra, with Berahino on the right hand side.
We are underway in the first half! West Brom are in their customary blue and white stripes, with Liverpool also in their home strip, which is, of course, red. This game promises to offer plenty of goals, with Liverpool scoring four last time out, and the hosts conceding four at the hands of rivals Aston Villa.
The teams take to the field, and this is a very important game in both halves of the table, with Liverpool chasing their Champions League aspirations, while the Baggies battle down at the foot of the league. Kick-off is imminent, so be sure to stay tuned for all of the action, in a game which could have big implications on the Premier League as a whole.
Should West Brom lose by four goals this afternoon, the Baggies would slip into the bottom three, pushing West Ham out of the danger zone. With both the Hammers and Cardiff picking up important wins yesterday, the pressure is really on Pepe Mel's side to pick up some points to distance themselves from what is a very tight relegation dogfight.
Both teams could not have had more contrasting derby days if they tried. With both facing their rivals last time out, Liverpool picked up a 4-0 win over neighbours Everton, while West Brom were sunk 4-3 by Aston Villa despite taking a commanding early lead. The hosts will want to appease their fans with a good performance and result here today, but a very attacking Liverpool set-up doesn't look as though it has the potential to be too forgiving.
Liverpool substitutes: Brad Jones, Luis Alberto, Aspas, Moses, Allen, Ibe, Kelly.
Liverpool starting line-up: Mignolet; Flanagan, Skrtel, Toure, Cissokho; Gerrard, Henderson; Sterling, Coutinho; Sturridge, Suarez.
West Brom substitutes: Reid, Sinclair, Myhill, Lugano, Anichebe, Dorrans, Amalfitano.
West Brom starting line-up: Foster; Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Gera, Mulumbu, Yacob, Brunt; Berahino, Vydra.
TEAM NEWS: Jon Flanagan and Aly Cissokho start at full-back for the visitors, with Rodgers opting for a very positive side away from home. Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling will look to play off the fearsome strikeforce of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, with Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson completing the midfield. A lack of experience on the bench, however, with only Victor Moses and Joe Allen as somewhat regularly utilised players.
TEAM NEWS: Pepe Mel opts for a young duo in attack, starting Matej Vydra and Saido Berahino together, while the experienced Zoltan Gera takes up a spot on the right flank. Billy Jones is back in at right-back, in place of Steven Reid. Diego Lugano is dropped from the centre of defence, with Gareth McAuley re-instated to partner Jonas Olsson.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be leading you through all of the action from today's match, as Brendan Rodgers' men look to remain favourites for the final Champions League spot. Rivals Everton are breathing down their necks, following a win over Aston Villa yesterday, and the Reds need to take all three points at the Hawthorns today, in order to give themselves some breathing room.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of today's early Premier League kick-off, as Liverpool travel to the Hawthorns, to face Pepe Mel's West Bromwich Albion. The Baggies are winless in four matches, while the visitors have only dropped two points during the same amount of matches - leaving the home side plenty to do if they want to come out with any spoils from today's fixture.
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