Premier League - Liverpool gift West Brom win

Sat, 02 Apr 17:00:00 2011

Roy Hodgson got his revenge on Liverpool who gifted West Bromwich Albion two penalties in a 2-1 Premier League upset at the Hawthorns.

Match Highlights: West

In a match that came alive in the second half, Martin Skrtel had put Liverpool ahead with an imperious header from a corner on 50 minutes.

Sotiris Kyrgiakos - who was on as a substitute for the injured Glen Johnson - was exposed twice by Peter Odemwingie, conceding the first penalty and inexcusably letting the Nigeria forward in for the second, which was given away by goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

Chris Brunt converted both and, as the Baggies battled to hold on for the win, Luis Suarez had two injury-time efforts cleared off the line.

The victory takes the Baggies four points clear of the relegation zone, maintaining former Reds boss Hodgson’s unbeaten record at the helm since he replaced Roberto Di Matteo in February.

Liverpool, meanwhile, stay sixth, failing to close the gap on fifth-placed Tottenham, who were held by Wigan.

Liverpool started the match in explosive fashion, as Suarez and Andy Carroll posed the hosts all kinds of problems from kick-off.

The first two minutes saw the duo give the home defence plenty of grief before Suarez won a corner, which Carroll headed into the path of Kuyt who somehow failed to score despite having two bites of the cherry: his first finish was well saved by Scott Carson, while he prodded the second against the bar.

The visitors had a good penalty claim waved away as Mike Riley decided that Jonas Olsson’s double-arm grab on Carroll was not sufficient enough a foul to warrant a spot-kick.

The promising start aside though, Liverpool were largely anonymous in a first half that saw West Brom control the tempo with their classic neat passing but largely fail to test Reina, his best save coming from a team-mate as Martin Skrtel’s poor defensive header almost looped in.

More bad news for the Reds came in the form of worrying injuries to defenders Johnson and Dan Agger, who limped off early on with hamstring and knee problems respectively.

The second half mimicked the first in that the opening five minutes were exceptional - from both sides.

Reina made a superb save from Simon Cox after he sprung the offside trap almost from kick off, while down the other end Carson had to be at his best to deny Carroll a first Liverpool goal with a well-struck half volley.

The visitors took the lead from the subsequent corner though, when Paul Scharner was guilty of allowing Skrtel a clean header into the top left for a 50th-minute opener.

Kuyt went close to second but he was denied by the legs of Carson after Carroll’s flick-on sent him racing down the right but it was West Brom who struck next, thanks to the brilliance of livewire striker Odemwingie - and the clumsiness of Kyrgiakos.

The Nigerian did brilliantly to spin the Greek on the edge of the box but, as he attempted to hook his boot on to the ball, the substitute hacked him down to give away a penalty that Brunt slid down the middle, sending Reina the wrong way.

The game had opened up fully as attacks were traded, Abdoulaye Meite with a vital block from Suarez at one and Reina with another fine save from Odemwingie at the other.

Carson denied Suarez a spectacular long-range strike with a diving save while Odemwingie had one effort blocked by Jamie Carragher and another that flew just wide from a tight angle.

The match seemed to be heading for a draw before Kyrgiakos struck a second time, somehow failing to clear a straightforward long ball, losing the aerial and physical challenge to the much smaller Odemwingie, who was clipped by Reina as he raced in on goal.

Brunt thrashed the spot kick to the left and West Brom - and Hodgson - appeared to have claimed a massive win.

There was more late drama as Liverpool threw the kitchen sink at the Baggies in injury time, with Suarez - who came into his own later in the game - seeing a rasping drive beat Carson but cleared by a covering defender and a last-gasp lob brilliantly headed off the line by a flying Nicky Shorey.

Reda Maher / Eurosport

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