For the second week running West Brom were haunted by a formerly custard coloured foe of theirs; this time Robbie Keane bagging a brace to destroy any hopes the Baggies had of taking points from Anfield.
Tony Mowbray restored Kim to the starting line-up, as James Morrison was unable to shake off a knock in time to play, whilst at the back Ryan Donk`s continued inclusion in the starting eleven raised a few eyebrows after his recent lapses. Kim aside the team was unchanged from the men that earnt a point against Blackburn, and on the bench was Felipe Teixeira, looking to make his first competitive action following a 7 month injury layoff.
In a manner very similar to how the Albion began the game at Old Trafford, we dominated the early possession without threatening Pepe Reina in the Liverpool goal. After passing the ball around fluidly without end-product for about half an hour, before Steven Gerrard began to exert his not inconsiderable influence on the match; playing a through ball that totally split the Baggies defence and allowing Robbie Keane to latch onto the pass before making a smart finish, chipping the ball past the on-rushing Carson to give the hosts the advantage. After his £20 million summer transfer from Spurs this was Keane`s first Premiership goal for the scousers.
From then on any hopes of taking something from the game were extinguished, and the Albion desperately tried to make sure the deficit was no greater before the half time whistle. Those efforts were in vain, as Keane doubled his tally two minutes before the break. This time the goal came from a West Brom corner – possession was given to Aurelio and he played a long searching ball in behind the Albion back line – Ryan Donk in particular was nowhere to be found, and Keane picked the ball up, rounded Carson on the edge of the box and slotted the ball into the empty net.
The second half was a non-event as far as the game was concerned, the Baggies knew they were beaten and Liverpool did not exert themselves unduly in trying to widen the gap. Felipe Teixeira was given a warm reception when he came on for Kim as part of a double substitution which saw Luke Moore come on for Bednar. Teixeira saw much more of the ball than the previously anonymous Kim but even the Portuguese`s guile could offer no way through the solid ‘Pool defence. Mowbray made his third change 8 minutes later, Chris Brunt coming on for Miller, and the substitute made Albion`s closest goal scoring opportunity with his first touch, hammering a free kick just past Reina`s post from 30 yards.
With the 90th minute elapsed the Baggies looked to be coming away with a respectable 2-0 defeat, however Arbeloa had other ideas, picking up the ball in the Baggies box, and with a defeated defence doing nothing he curled a sweet finish past a helpless Carson to make it 3-0.
There`s not really a lot to say here – you never expect to come away from Anfield with anything and we`ve yet to score past Liverpool in any of our Premiership matches. Keane now has 8 in 8 against us, but thankfully none of those goals came in the old gold. Mowbray must be hoping for one of his missing centre backs to return to fitness so he can give Donk a rest. It looks bleak, but this is the most competitive Premiership in years and we`re only three points from 9th. Next up, a nice easy game at home to Chelsea.
Reina, Arbeloa, Agger, Carragher, Aurelio, Benayoun, Mascherano, Gerrard (Alonso 80), Riera (Babel 65), Keane (Torres 72), Kuyt.
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Hyypia, Insua, El Zhar
West Brom (4-4-2)
Carson, Zuiverloon, Olsson, Donk, Robinson, Koren, Borja Valero, Greening, Kim (Filipe Teixeira 56), Bednar (Moore 56), Miller (Brunt 71).
Subs Not Used: Kiely, Hoefkens, Dorrans, Pele
Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)