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Wednesday, 26 September 2012

West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Liverpool FC - final whistle report

THE defence of the League Cup could prove to be a thrilling case of trial and error. If tonight at the Hawthorns, Liverpool showed us how they intend to go on in the Capital One Cup then these games could provide an outlet of excitement whilst progress in the league remains a more stubborn foe. Manager Brendan Rodgers has to rotate his squad in order to keep his side as competitive as possible on all fronts this season, so his trust is placed in those of potential and promise. The historic debut of Jordan Sinclair, a late replacement to become the youngest player to play for the club at 16 years and six days, only emphasised the point. This group may ultimately lack the cunning and know-how to navigate a return to Wembley, but the manner in which they responded to going a goal behind at West Bromwich Albion says this Liverpool selection will attack the task. Barring the one of two players who still have hefty price tags to justify, the team which saw off the Baggies played free from the shackles of pressure and close scrutiny. And Rodgers used that to encourage their flair, confidence in possession and willing to experiment. It is a freedom that eventually the manager hopes Liverpool’s strongest side will play with. For now, the taster sessions come in midweek, in the Capital One Cup and Europa League. A first goal for the club from the on-loan Nuri Sahin brought Liverpool level after Brad Jones’ error gifted West Brom an early opener. The equalising goal allowed Rodgers’ men to go forward with intent though their control of the game was not rewarded until eight minutes from time when Sahin scored his second, booking Liverpool into the fourth round. Last season’s cup run eased Liverpool in before the challenges stiffened as the rounds progressed. Unfortunately for Rodgers, his opening two months of competitive action have rarely allowed him a gentle ride or the rub of the green. After last season’s opening tie in the League Cup at Exeter City, Liverpool faced a far sterner test this time around as West Brom were plucked out of the hat. A trip to the West Midlands was made all the more undesirable given the side’s chastening experience on the opening day. Fortunately perhaps, the side which played out last night’s third round tie at the Hawthorns, had been spared the nightmare of August’s 3-0 defeat. The necessity to carefully balance the demands on his limited number of senior players – as much as Rodgers’ desire to nurture players from within the club’s Academy – shaped his team sheet. Only Stewart Downing and Jamie Carragher featured in the opening game of the Premier League season and even they have found themselves increasingly reserved for the cup nights. And with the exception of two changes, this was the 11 who started the up and down thriller against Young Boys six days earlier in the Europa League. Though Liverpool lacked experience in most areas, they had least had the element of surprise and the fearless nature of youth about them. It is such qualities Rodgers needs to rely upon as he juggles Liverpool on four fronts in this season of transition, where improvements in the league remain the priority. The travelling supporters were given a first look at Samed Yesil, the 18-year-old signed from Bayer Leverkusen, as well other unfamiliar faces such as Oussama Assaidi and Sahin. Liverpool’s substitutes’ bench was even more of a window into the future. But Liverpool in the here and now are of the greater concern and the soft manner in which they conceded after three minutes did not make for pleasant viewing. Brad Jones dropped the ball from Liam Ridgewell’s free-kick into the area and from the spoils, Gabriel Tamas capitalised by firing into the unguarded net. West Brom immediately had their tails up, Romelu Lakaku took little time in finding his appetite for the game and Jones was again in the thick of it, saving low at his near post from Markus Rosenberg’s drive. But the inclusion of fresh blood and thinking into this team helped show the Liverpool supporters some shoots of recovery. Assaidi’s jinking run and cross found Yesil whose header glanced marginally wide of the goal in a move which pleased the manager. Liverpool by now had settled and found a degree of momentum, yet they were indebted to some welcome fortune for their equaliser. Sahin struck well from 30 yards but where Ben Foster looked certain to palm away to safety, the West Brom goalkeeper instead allowed the strike to slip through his guard and into the net. Naturally, the goal gave Rodgers’ men confidence and impetus with much of their improved work came down the left flank through Assaidi. Sahin too, provided the midfield with rhythm and though not every pass came off, in the main he kept Liverpool moving in the first half. Defensively, he also deserves credit. West Brom rallied as the break approached but it was Liverpool who had controlled the game for longer spells. And the visitors picked up where they left off with a blistering start to the second half. Yesil troubled a nervous Foster from the edge of the area, with the keeper relieved to see the shot ricochet over the bar. Foster could only watch Daniel Pacheco’s effort as it sailed over his head but on to the top of the bar. At the other end, Jones had to remain alert to keep out Rosenberg’s strike from the edge of the area before his opposite number again looked uncomfortable dealing with a Liverpool shot from range. Though, it must be said that Foster showed greater composure when saving at close range from Sebastian Coates’ effort with 15 minutes remaining. But there was nothing Foster could do about Sahin’s strike, eight minutes from time. A flowing move found Assaidi wide on the left and his low cross found Sahin who strode onto the ball and converted from six yards. It was a move to reinforce that Liverpool’s fourth round tie could be one worth watching. WEST BROMWICH ALBION (4-2-3-1): Foster, Olsson ©, Ridgewel (Dawson 22)l, Rosenberg, Thorne, Dorrans, Lukaku (Long 70), Mulumbu, Jones, Tamas, Fortune (El-Ghanassy 89). Subs: Daniels, Yacob, Long, El Ghanassy, McAuley, Dawson, Berahino. Goals: Tamas (3) Cautions: Mulumbu Red Cards: None LIVERPOOL (4-2-3-1): Jones, Robinson, Coates, Carragher ©, Wisdom, Henderson, Sahin, Downing, Pacheco (Suso 81), Assaidi, Yesil (Sinclair 81). Subs: Gulacsi, Sama, Suso, Sterling, Wilson, Coady, Sinclair. Goals: Sahin (17, 82) Cautions: Wisdom Red Cards: None Referee: Michael OIiver Attendance: 21, 694 Next match v Norwich City (A) Saturday, September 29 (3pm) Read More http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-fc/liverpool-fc-match-reports/2012/09/26/west-bromwich-albion-1-2-liverpool-fc-final-whistle-report-100252-31915735/#ixzz27cnoZsPA

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