Liverpool calm nerves with Westbrom win

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Jordan Henderson’s strike proved the decider in a tensed affair in Anfield

Already nine points off top spot, Brendan Rogers disciples were in dire need of a top performance after the midweek collapse in the Uefa Champions League against Basel.

West Brom had beaten Liverpool on two of their last three visits to Anfield, and the recent 4-0 thumping of Burnley on Saturday at the Hawthorns showed the away side are a force to reckon with.

Mario Balotelli, who had a night to forget in Switzerland was snubbed for Paul Lambert in the main striker berth.

That change nearly gifted the home side a lead when Martin Skrtel drilled in a ball first time but Lambert couldn’t connect with the ball, allowing Ben Foster to save easily.

At the other end Berahino kept on tormenting the Reds central defense pairing of Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovern, but the visitors suffered a blow when Adam Lallana combined proficiently with Henderson, and then his solo run into the box was complimented with an incisive finish that was too good to handle for Ben Foster.

In the second half, a controversial decision witnessed Lovren foul Berahino outside the box, but Micheal Olivier pointed to the spot instead of a freekick. Sadio Berhaino equalized as he sent Mignolet the wrong way.

Henderson scored the winner to hand all three points for Liverpool
Henderson scored the winner to hand all three points for Liverpool

The winning goal came moments later. After receiving a steel pass from Sterling, Jordan Henderson in the penalty box sent a rocket shot into the back of the net to restore parity.

Balotelli came on late in the second half to add more prowess, and had a big opportunity to score late on, but his header was easily saved.

Afterwards, Westbrom manager told BBC:

Alan Irvine: “I was disappointed in how we used the ball in the first half. I was disappointed we didn’t show enough courage on the ball. I challenged the players to be braver at half-time and in the second half we gave Liverpool a difficult game. From our point of view, we’ve got a few things we’re disappointed with.”

Irvine on the Baggies’ penalty: “From where I was I couldn’t be sure whether it was inside or out. Having been given it, for Saido Berahino to step up and take it with such confidence was great. He practises and he gets the benefit of all that practice. I thought he worked the centre-halves extremely well. His movement for a young player is very good. ”

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers: “It was very satisfying. We had to show big character today. West Brom were arriving here on the back of a number of good results. I thought the resilience of the players was fantastic and we were helped by the crowd because they realised the team needed a lift. It was a big win for us.

“All being well we’ll have all the players back against QPR and that’s important to us. Daniel Sturridge and Joe Allen, we have missed his intensity and technical quality. When you lose someone like Luis Suarez it’s going to take time to adjust, but the players here are magnificent, great quality and character, they had to dig in and got the result.

“We showed great potential against Tottenham and once we get all the players back and we can rotate the squad a bit better that will help us. It’s been frustrating, we had to make changes in the summer, to strengthen the squad and we missed a world class striker. We will get better as we go on.”

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