Liverpool reeling as West Brom bag smash and grab success at Anfield
The mood in the Liverpool changing rooms at Anfield must have been very uncomfortable last night to say the least, after their unexpected and embarrassing defeat by West Brom on home turf. Unlike some games where the disaster is apparent almost immediately, this game saw it unfold tantalisingly slowly and with a determined sense of defeat for the Reds.
February 12th, 2013
What makes it all the most unpleasant is that Liverpool dominated for the majority of the game with 57% possession and 23 shots on target, but it was a couple of smash and grab goals from West Ham that sealed Liverpool’s fate for another game without a win, the 6th game in a row.
Liverpool put pressure on the lower ranked club throughout the game, however a superb penalty save by Foster, denied Gerrard a 77 minute goal. Inspired by this epic save, West Brom went on to net 2 goals from McAuley and then 9 minutes later Lukaku, who had only been brought on in the 74th minute, knocked the final nail in the coffin in the dying minutes of the clash with his superb stoppage time strike.
Last night’s win puts West Brom a point above Liverpool in the league, not something Brendan Rodgers will be thrilled about. No doubt adding to the pressure of Sturridge being on the bench, the youngster has scored four goals in the last six games for Liverpool; his absence left Suarez as the lone striker, leaving him unable to push through to score for the Reds.
Lukaku’s goal delivered Liverpool a further blow decreasing already slim hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League. It must have been a particularly sweet return to Anfield for Clarke, eight months after his departure following Kenny Dalglish’s sacking, to walk away not only with the win but also a point clear of Liverpool on the table.
So what does this mean for Rodgers hopes of Liverpool finishing in the top four come the end of the season, in a post-match interview he said “Yes, it is a setback, the aim was three points but the boys played well and put the effort in. Unfortunately the ball just didn’t fall our way; we could have got a lot more out of the game.”
Surely they are the words of a man coming to terms with a less than stellar end to the season; Clarke on the other hand must have headed home with quite the grin on his face.