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West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Liverpool | Capital One Cup match report

26th September 2012

These are challenging times for Brendan Rodgers, whose Liverpool side have endured the ignominy of making the club’s worst start to a league campaign in 101 years, but a committed and impressive performance from what was effectively a reserve XI provided the Northern Irishman with a much-needed first domestic victory since taking over at Anfield.

On a night when Jerome Sinclair came off the bench to become Liverpool’s youngest ever player at the age of 16 years and six days - he is so new to the scene that the club got his christian name wrong on the team-sheet and put him down as Jordan - Nuri Sahin endeared himself to the travelling supporters with two goals to secure a place in the last 16. On loan from Real Madrid, Sahin suggested that he could have a valuable role to play at Liverpool this season as he caught the eye in a Liverpool team in which Oussama Assaidi sparkled throughout.

After getting off to the worst possible start, by conceding inside the opening three minutes when Brad Jones made the sort of mistake that gives teams a reason to believe that it is not going to be their night, Liverpool showed some character and composure as they played themselves back into the game and grabbed the equaliser that redoubled their belief.

It arrived, much like Albion’s opener, in fortuitous circumstances. After a patient Liverpool buildup, Andre Wisdom laid the ball back for Sahin, who stepped into the space that opened up invitingly in front of him before drilling a 30-yard left-footed shot that Ben Foster seemed to have covered at his near post, only for the Albion keeper to inexplicably allow the ball to go through his arms.

It was a horrible moment for Foster and one that Jones would have empathised with following his faux pas earlier in the evening. The Liverpool goalkeeper had come off his line in commanding fashion to collect Liam Ridgewell’s deep free-kick but, jumping alongside Jonas Olsson, somehow allowed the ball to slip from his hands. Tamas was perfectly placed to seize on the loose ball and he made no mistake, firing his volley into the empty net to give Albion a lead that they looked like adding to during a bright opening spell.

Romelu Lukaku’s powerful running was stretching the Liverpool defence and yielded a couple of half chances. The forward had already seen one effort deflected behind by Jamie Carragher when he got away from the Liverpool veteran in the seventh minute to set up Markus Rosenberg. The Swede connected well with the cut-back but Jones was equal to the task on this occasion and repelled his shot at the near post.

Liverpool, slowly but surely, began to find their way on a night when Rodgers made 11 changes from the side that lost to Manchester United on Sunday. In that sense the Liverpool team bore a much closer resemblance to the XI that started against Young Boys in the Europa League last Thursday.

Albion also rang the changes and it was a measure of where both clubs’ priorities rest this season that only five players survived from the 22 that started when these two teams met here on the opening day of the Premier League campaign.

If it was comforting for Rodgers to hear the travelling supporters chanting his name again and again in the first half, the Liverpool manager must also have taken encouragement from the performance of a few of his players, most notably Oussama Assaidi. The Moroccan provided plenty of entertaining moments in the opening 45 minutes as he tormented Billy Jones with his box of tricks, turning the full-back inside out on a couple of occasions. It was from one of those sinuous runs that Daniel Pacheco threatened to add a second Liverpool goal, in the 22nd minute, only for his shot to be blocked.

Foster endured another anxious moment early in the second half, when he saved Samed Yesil’s straight but powerful shot and the ball bounced between his legs and up over the crossbar. Barely 60 seconds later the woodwork came to the goalkeeper’s rescue, Pacheco sweeping a delightful curling right-footed effort that Foster stood and watched as it sailed over him and clipped the top of the bar. Liverpool looked the much more dangerous side, with Assaidi continuing to trouble Albion, although Jones had to dive full stretch to deny Rosenberg in the 56th minute.

Back came Liverpool, Pacheco’s lovely nutmeg creating the opportunity to run at the heart of the Albion defence before striking a 25-yard shot that Foster saved in unconvincing fashion after he once again failed to get his body behind the ball. In fairness to Foster, he made a fine save later on when he thwarted Sebastian Coates at point-blank range but there was nothing the former England international could do when Suso released Assaidi and Sahin converted the winger’s centre. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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