Liverpool have been busy in the past few days with plenty of rumoured and confirmed moves in and out of Anfield. Newly signed Raul Meireles was at Anfield on a bright and sunny afternoon to witness the reds taking on newly promoted West Bromwich Albion, following his £10.7m move from FC Porto.
The first half saw Liverpool starting solidly with Gerrard testing Scott Carson with a spectacular shot. West Brom hit back immediately with an effort on goal just edging past the post. The visitors were passing effectively and didn’t look anything like the team thrashed by Chelsea.
In the 8th minute Glen Johnson found himself with space to run on the right flank. His subsequent cross found Fernando Torres on the opposite side, who cut in and had his shot blocked. Gerrard’s corner was then headed to safety.
A few minutes later, Odemwingie found a West Brom cross with his head but could only head over the bar. The linesman had ruled offside anyway. West Brom’s passing suggested that they were not here to park the bus like many expect newly promoted teams to.
In the 18th minute, Torres was brought down on the left hand side by Tamas. Gerrard’s free kick was whipped in to the backpost but found Tamas’ head, who made up for the foul on Torres.
About halfway through the first half, our passing needs to improve. A good passing exchange ended on 25 minutes with the ball being lost by Lucas and West Brom pressing on and winning a corner as a result. Brunt’s corner was defended efficiently by Gerrard, heading out for a corner.
West Brom fans felt like they had a penalty claim as Skrtel held Olsson, but the referee waved play on. Another corner for West Brom saw Brunt’s cross dispatched to safety by Carragher. Kuyt received the ball who then tried to put it through to Torres, who was tackled solidly with West Brom defending efficiently.
Another West Brom attack was crowded out on the half hour mark, with Fortune chesting the ball down in the area but not finding himself enough space to do anything with it. Brunt then got another ball in to the box, but Odemwingie couldn’t get the touch on it to hit it goalwards.
Liverpool seemed to be getting back in to the passing consistency they have be known for with a Gerrard ball finding Torres with West Brom’s defence surrounding him, taking him out of the game. Shortly afterwards, Poulsen could only sail a ball aimlessly in to the box, finding no-one but Scott Carson.
Then, Glen Johnson’s speculative cross ended up being cleared by Olsson’s head who could only find Milan Jovanovic. The Serb was fouled by Jara. The ball from the quick free kick found Kuyt but was forced wide winning a corner kick from a volley. The corner was taken and deflected behind for another. The ball was crossed in with Torres being brought down, but no foul given. The pressure on West Brom’s goal was mounting.
In the 37th minute, West Brom had a corner. Ollson’s cross was defended and the reds made a quick break with Gerrard putting Jovanovic through on the left, who was outmuscled as the ball was put out for a throw in. Liverpool’s passing looking smooth as another quick exchange nearly put us through on goal.
The passing rythymn was broken shortly afterwards by Poulsen, who’s passing had looked poor, finding West Brom midfielders consistently throughout the first half.
Gerrard then received the ball in the midfield, passing to the right hand side a little too quickly for Johnson to latch on to giving West Brom a throw. Yet again Liverpool’s passing was looking insufficient in the midfield, with quick exhanges being disappointingly ended with sloppy passes to West Brom players.
As the first half drew to a close, Torres looking increasingly frustrated as he brought a West Brom defender down. West Brom then broke quickly only to see Morrison’s shot go wide.
A first half that should have seen the reds assert their superiorityon the visitors remained goalless as the whistle was blown.
The second half began with sun shining heavily on the Liverpool defence, in a similar manner to the Arsenal game. Hopefully it wouldn’t affect our back line as badly as it did that day.
Early on, the ball found Johnson on the right hand side. It looked like Liverpool were due a corner but Lucas clumsily tripped Brunt and the referee blew up for a West Brom free kick. The ball was fed through to West Brom’s forwards and with Morrison on the ball, he shot slightly wide of the left hand post. From a quick break, Gerrard found the ball 10 yards out from the box but could only shoot speculatively over the bar.
The visitors were on the attack again again, when Brunt’s shot was blocked by Skrtel in the box. West Brom seemed to be seeing more and more of the ball as the match wore on.
51 minutes in, and the ball was crossed high in to the West Brom penalty area, with Gerrard winning the header but West Brom clearing to safety.
As it was end to end, West Brom could only witness Dorrans’ shot sliced comfortably wide. Morrison then put Dorrans through with a wonderful ball but Liverpool defended comfortably and break quickly, only to see the attack ended and West Brom awarded a throw.
West Brom seemed to be getting more and more comfortable as a good passage of play saw Dorrans in enough space to have a crack from outside the box.
A neat pass through to Gerrard on 56 minutes saw him running at the West Brom defence, only for the ball to go out for a goal kick. A good spell of pressure from the reds saw a good move started off by Kuyt from the left hand side, only for West Brom to defend efficiently again.
Just before the hour mark, Jovanovic was taken off for Maxi Rodriguez. A corner from Gerrard saw Kuyt’s chance cleared by Brunt, but only as far as Skrtel who shot very unluckily over the crossbar. Anfield was finding it’s voice as the pressure continued to be piled on to Scott Carson’s goal.
A Liverpool attack nearly ended with a freak goal as Olsson passed back to Carson straight towards the goal only for it to narrowly go out for a corner, which was scooped up comfortably.
It was end to end as another great spell of passing for Liverpool sees Kuyt and Maxi’s efforts blocked, with West Brom breaking quickly at the other end only to see Fortune denied. Pepe Reina released the ball brilliantly to Kuyt for a quick break with the Dutchman putting a perfect ball from the left for Torres on the edge of the box. Torres tucked it perfectly in the bottom left hand corner with a left footed shot, breaking the deadlock on 65 minutes with his 50th goal at Anfield in all competitions.
Immediately after the goal, West Brom try to remind Liverpool that they’re still very much in this game, but Odemwingie could only shoot high and wide from outside the box.
Another spell of pressure nearly ended with Liverpool two goals up when Gerrard put a fantastic ball in for Torres, who’s header was superbly blocked from close range by Scott Carson.
On 79 minutes, a fantastic ball from Gerrard looked to be putting Liverpool through on goal again but Olsson cleared. West Brom were attacking again, but Odemwingie’s low shot from the right hand side was saved by Reina.
Appeals for a penalty were waved off by the referee in the 83rd minute when Jara seemed to have handled Torres’ shot in the box. West Brom were right back in it at the other end with Tchoyi shot only able to hit the side netting of Reina’s goal.
Shortly afterwards, James Morrison saw red for a harsh challenge on Torres, clearly missing the ball. The 10 men of West Bromwich Albion pressured as best as they could until the end, but couldn’t find enough to grab an equaliser.
West Brom were a credit to themselves today. They turned up and tried to take the game to the reds but just couldn’t get the breakthrough that they wanted. Liverpool’s passing needs to become much more consistent, as the teams that are challenging us for positions higher up the table will surely take advantage of days like these.Reina, Johnson, Agger, Carragher, Skrtel, Poulsen, Lucas, Gerrard, Kuyt, Jovanovic, Torres. Subs: Jones, Pacheco, Babel, Spearing, Kyrgiakos, Maxi, Kelly.