Friday, September 28, 2012

Match Report: West Brom 1 - 2 Liverpool

Nuri Sahin's first goals for the club kept Liverpool's grip on the Capital One Cup as Brendan Rodgers' young lions came from behind to win at West Brom.

Albion went ahead through Gabriel Tamas but on loan Real Madrid midfielder Sahin levelled before half-time and struck the winner with eight minutes remaining.

Liverpool's first choice line-up had been humbled 3-0 at Albion on the opening day of the season in the Barclays Premier League but their potential stars of the future did them proud on Wednesday night.

Rodgers made 11 changes from the side beaten at home by Manchester United on Sunday but his side were worthy winners after an uncertain start.

Oussama Assaidi caused all sorts of problems down the left flank for Billy Jones and then Craig Dawson and set up Sahin's late decider.

Turkish international Sahin also showed his quality in the centre of the park.

The home side will be bitterly disappointed at their exit after fielding a strong side but only midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu and striker Romelu Lukaku emerged with much credit.

Albion needed only three minutes to take the lead after a glaring error by Reds goalkeeper Brad Jones.

Liam Ridgewell floated a harmless looking free-kick into the Liverpool box from the left flank but Jones, under no pressure, dropped the ball and central defender Tamas kept his volley down as it flew into an unguarded net.

West Brom came close to doubling their lead when Lukaku cut in from the left but his shot was deflected wide by Jamie Carragher.

Albion dominated the early exchanges and a fierce drive from Markus Rosenberg forced a low save out of Jones after Lukaku had shaken off the challenge of Carragher.

But Liverpool should have levelled after 11 minutes when debutant Samed Yesil headed wide from Assaidi's centre.

Another goalkeeping error, this time by Ben Foster, led to Liverpool equalizing after 17 minutes through Sahin

Sahin let fly with a speculative low 30-yard drive and Foster allowed the ball to slip under his body and into the net.

Ridgewell limped out of the action after 22 minutes and was replaced by Craig Dawson

Liverpool were now in the ascendancy with winger Assaidi causing constant problems but Albion still posed a threat on the counter-attack.

Jones raced out of his goal to fly hack clear from Lukaku, who then tested the Liverpool keeper with a low drive.

Mulumbu and Reds defender Andre Wisdom were booked after challenges on Sahin and Billy Jones respectively.

Liverpool dominated the early exchanges of the second period and Yesil's low shot hit the leg of Foster and somehow bounced up over the bar.

Then the former England keeper could only stand and watch as Jordan Henderson's curling attempt from the left of the Albion box struck the bar.

Rosenberg was struggling to make an impact but did force Jones to turn aside an effort from on the edge of the Liverpool area.

Foster again struggled in dealing with a dipping drive from Daniel Pacheco and was having one of his less than convincing games - but he partially redeemed himself in denying Sebastian Coates at close range.

Jerome Sinclair became Liverpool's youngest ever player at 16 years and six days when he was introduced as an 81st minute substitute, beating the record of Jack Robinson (16 years and 250 days).

Then a minute later Sahin won it for the visitors when he found space at the far post to convert Assaidi's low cross.

Rodgers Excited By Special Swansea Clash

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is relishing a Capital One Cup fourth-round clash with former club Swansea - and is determined the holders will not easily relinquish their grip on the trophy.

Rodgers made 11 changes for the third-round trip to West Brom and two goals from on-loan Real Madrid midfielder Nuri Sahin secured a 2-1 win after Gabriel Tamas had given Albion an early lead.

The Reds manager made the switch from the Swans in the summer and was finally able to celebrate his first win in domestic football with his new club.

Rodgers said: "The Swansea game will be a special occasion, very much so. It is a wonderful club, a brilliant club, and I was in no rush to leave there.

"I could only leave there to go to another special club. It will be a great night.

"I think in the competition you prefer home games so to play Swansea at Anfield, in front of two wonderful sets of supporters, it will be a great night.

"I said to the players afterwards that the cup is stored at Anfield and I don't want to give it up too easy.

"I want us to fight even thought it is difficult because of our lack of depth in the group.

"It is a competition we want to do well in. Of course, we will be really stretched with the Europa League, Premier League between now and January.

"But the nature of this club is we want to win every game and, if we get a few young players out of it (the Capital One Cup), it will really help us moving forward."

Rodgers believes the best is still to come from Sahin, who was on the verge of joining Arsenal before moving to Anfield.

He said: "Nuri is still getting up to speed. It has been difficult for him. He was out for a long time and has come here having missed a big part of pre-season.

"But every day he is getting better. He has got great football arrogance, terrific on the ball.

"With his first goal you see he has got good technique, he is not frightened to shoot and he can arrive in the box and get a goal as he showed with the second one."

Rodgers believes the result at the Hawthorns emphasizes how far Liverpool have progressed since losing 3-0 to Albion on the opening day of the Barclays Premier League season.

He said: "It was a symbolic night as well because it shows how far we are moving as a group from our first day of this season.

"Then we were a bit disjointed and players did not quite understand my methods.

"But in the last three or four weeks where our tempo and relentless possession has started to come through. He said: "We said we'd have a go, we certainly started that way. I think their first goal knocked the stuffing out of us a bit.

Sahin Pleased With Victory

New Liverpool recruit Nuri Sahin has spoken of his happiness at registering his first goals for his new club in their victory over West Brom.

Sahin scored a first half equalizer before a second ten minutes from time ensured that Liverpool progressed to the fourth round of the Capital One Cup.

It was Sahin's first domestic victory at his new club, and the Turkish midfielder was happy with the character shown by an inexperienced side.

"We played with a young side and they showed a lot of character, especially to come back from 1-0 down and they did very well," Sahin told the club's official website

"It was a good night for the club and I was happy to see the young players get their chance and show what they can do. I was impressed with Jack Robinson who did well at left-back but to be fair they all did very well.

Liverpool travel to Norwich City on Saturday looking for their first league win of the season.

Jerome Sinclair Is Liverpool's Youngest Ever Player

Jerome Sinclair became Liverpool's youngest ever player when he starred in their 2-1 Capital One Cup victory at West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday night.

Sinclair ended the evening happy after Liverpool had inadvertently called him Jordan on the team-sheet, on his return to The Hawthorns where he was part of Albion's academy before he moved to Anfield a year ago.

The striker, who came off the bench, made his senior debut aged 16 years and six days, supplanting Jack Robinson, who was 244 days older when he made his first Liverpool appearance.

Sinclair made his debut for Liverpool under-18s towards the end of last season, having spent most of the campaign playing for the under-16s. He was a prolific goalscorer in pre-season friendlies for the under-18s, which earned him his chance to step up.

Suso Can Be World Class, Says Enrique

Liverpool’s 18-year-old prodigy Suso has been backed by his compatriot Jose Enrique to go on to establish himself as a world class talent.

The Spanish full back was full of praise for Suso, who has greatly benefited from Brendan Rodgers’ penchant for utilizing the stand out individuals amongst the clubs youth ranks recently. Suso made his debut in Liverpool’s thrilling 5-3 win over Swiss outfit Young Boys last week, and subsequently found himself on the bench during the club’s game with Manchester United last Sunday.

The diminutive attacking midfielder had an immediate impact when he came off the bench against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, instantly helping create Steven Gerrard’s opener. Fellow Spaniard Enrique is confident the youngster can achieve whatever he desires, providing he keeps up the hard work.

“I know Suso well because we speak Spanish together and I think he is a top player already," Enrique told the Liverpool Echo.

“He can be a really top player for Liverpool and for any team in the world,”

“I tell him he has to work very hard in the Premier League and work back like all the other players. That is very important, but I tell him if he works hard he has all the qualities.

The former Newcastle United full back feels that young Suso is ready to follow in the footsteps of Raheem Sterling, who looks to be handling the transition from youth and reserve level to the first team with consummate ease.

“I think he is ready now. We saw that against Manchester United. He played very well,” Enrique added.

“We knew Raheem Sterling was confident because we have seen him play a few times already, but he surprised me by trying all the things he is trying in matches at 17-years-old.”

Suso Credits Team-Mate For Liverpool Rise

Liverpool rookie Suso has credited fellow Spaniard Jose Enrique for his rise through the ranks at Anfield.

The promising 18-year-old made his Premier League debut when he came on at half-time against Manchester United on Sunday and did not look out of place in the emotionally-charged derby.

The Spain Under-19 international, who joined Liverpool in 2010 from hometown club Cadiz, admits it has been a challenge to adapt to life in England.

However, he says the transition has been made easier by the presence of left-back Enrique.

"He is the player I learn from," said Suso, who featured against West Brom in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night.

"Every day he gives me advice and he always knows what is best for me and what I can improve. He is the best companion I have here; he is a good support inside and outside the club.

"It's true there is much difference between Liverpool in Cadiz. Especially the food, the fish you can get in Cadiz is not here! And my family of course."

Liverpool Defender Praises Rodgers For Playing The Game The Right Way

Daniel Agger insists that Brendan Rodgers’ brand of football is a step in the right direction for Liverpool, but anticipated the difficult start the club has endured.

Liverpool sealed their place in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night with a 2-1 victory over West Brom, courtesy of a Nuri Sahin brace. Prior to that, Liverpool had mustered just two points from their opening five fixtures in the league, picking up two draws and three defeats to leave them languishing at the foot of the table.

Rodgers has been attempting to revolutionize the way the Merseyside club play football this season, making efforts to instill better ball retention and greater tenacity in pressing their opponents, a design many liken to Spain’s ‘tika tika’ formula. Danish international Agger is confident that things will click soon enough at Anfield, and the club will begin to reap the awards of playing attractive football.

"I like the manager’s system and his style of football," the defender told the Liverpool Daily Post. "It’s the kind of system I like to play so I’m more than happy.

"And I also think it’s the right way for Liverpool Football Club – it’s the style of football Liverpool should play.

"Of course the most important thing is to get the results but if you can do that and at the same time play with a good style of football, good possession and aggression, that’s a bonus.

Given Liverpool’s stuttering start, which has been exacerbated by their limited striking options up front, there had been early signs of frustration emanating from Anfield. But 27-year-old Agger insists improvement is being made each day, and the club will soon be taking their chances to climb back up the Premier League.

It has been difficult but we knew that before we started," Agger continued. "We knew that we were trying to adapt to a new system and a new way of playing, so it was going to take some time.

"But I really think we are moving forward now. We dominated the fixture last weekend but at the end of the day we need to start collecting some points.

"I see signs every day in training and in the game that we are going the right way. We need to be a little bit more clinical and make sure we get the result when we deserve it.

Lucas Frustrated At Dealing With New Injury Blow

Injury-hit Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has described 2012 as the worst year of his career and his life.

The Brazilian had to wait until August to make his first competitive appearance of the year after suffering a serious knee injury at the end of 2011.

But in just the second Premier League match of Liverpool's season Lucas picked up a thigh injury and was ruled out for another three months, leaving him to cut a dejected figure on the sidelines again.

"This is the worst year of my career and of my life as well. When we can't do what we like to do and perform your job, it's always a bit frustrating," the 25-year-old told Sportv.

Despite a slow start to his career at Anfield Lucas has been able to establish himself as a key player in the Reds' midfield, but the double injury blow has dealt him a significant setback.

He added: "Everything is a bit new to me because I have never had so many injuries. Two in a row is very complicated.

"We tried to stay positive when the first one happened, but the second one was much tougher as it happened so close to the other one."

Rodgers' Melwood Injury Update

Brendan Rodgers has revealed Daniel Agger and Fabio Borini are edging closer to the levels of fitness that could see them feature in Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash against Norwich.

However, the manager also explained to journalists gathered at Melwood how the problem Martin Kelly sustained against Manchester United on Sunday is likely to sideline the 22-year-old until the latter stages of the league campaign.

Asked whether Agger or Borini could play some part at the weekend, Rodgers replied: "Daniel probably has a good chance and Fabio is 50/50.

"They haven't trained this week but we'll see how they go over the next 24 hours. They are responding well."

Kelly suffered an ACL rupture of his right knee during Sunday's Anfield encounter and the full-back will undergo surgery to repair the damage tonight.

"We wish him all the best," Rodgers said. "He's been fantastic for me since I've come in, so it's really unfortunate that he's got the injury.

"If he does (play again this season), it will certainly be towards the end (of the season).

"The good thing is that he is a real worker. We've got the operation done as quickly as we possibly could. He'll come back and recuperate and then we'll see how he goes.

"They talk six to nine months for these types of injuries, so even till then it will pretty much rule him out.

"But we will see. There's no pressure on him, he just needs to get fit and make sure the surgery goes well and we'll assess it into the New Year."

Meanwhile the manager expressed his delight at the response of Lucas Leiva, who limped from the field after just minutes of play against Manchester City in the Reds' first home game of the season as a result of an injury to his thigh.

"He has responded very well - he's doing great," said Rodgers. "He'll still have a wee bit of time away but he's working hard and working very well.

"He was in the pool today and he's got good movement; he's started to run. So hopefully he'll be back sooner rather than later."