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Rodgers faces long road to Liverpool restoration

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Phil McNulty | 22:37 UK time, Saturday, 18 August 2012

At The Hawthorns

Brendan Rodgers's conviction on his arrival at Liverpool that his restoration of the club's fortunes would not be a quick fix was underscored by his presentation of a 180-page dossier to the club's owners as a signpost to the future.

Built up over 15 years, it was a document embracing the Northern Irishman's plans for the club and the new culture he wants to put in place at Anfield - and now he has a heavy beating in his first Premier League game to graphically illustrate his point that Liverpool face a long road back to the forefront of English football.

Rodgers was measured and calm on the most maddeningly knee-jerk date in the English football calendar, as the new era dawned with a 3-0 beating by West Bromwich Albion that could have been even worse as 10-man Liverpool fell apart.

There is little doubt, however, that the manner of Liverpool's capitulation, accompanied by some basic defensive errors - and some individual performances that might have tempted Rodgers to apply his weighty tome to a few backsides - demonstrates the scale of the job he has taken on.

Rodgers remained calm and measured after the defeat. Photo - Empics

In a battle between the two men so keenly influenced by the great Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, it was new West Brom manager Steve Clarke who was left to toast an opening victory with a glass of wine while Rodgers was struggling to digest something a little less palatable.

West Brom were good value for their win, with Youssouf Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob outstanding, overshadowing Liverpool's £15m midfield acquisition Joe Allen and a strangely subdued Steven Gerrard.

Attention will inevitably focus on Liverpool because of the club's profile and the events of the summer, but no-one should underestimate how impressive Albion were, energetic and enterprising. No wonder Clarke was smiling afterwards.

For those of a Liverpool persuasion expecting instant rewards from a young manager assuming his biggest task, this was not so much a sharp wake-up call as a kick out of bed and a shove into a cold shower.

Rodgers complained about two penalties awarded against Liverpool, the first of which resulted in a red card for Daniel Agger, but the truth of the matter is that Albion were worthy winners.

Zoltan Gera's magnificent strike set them on their way before Peter Odemwingie's penalty and substitute Romelu Lukaku's header completed a scoreline that could have had a more convincing appearance.

Certainly the Rodgers stamp was on Liverpool's style, with Allen attempting to dictate terms in midfield and a three-pronged attack involving new signing Fabio Borini alongside Luis Suarez and Stewart Downing.

But it was hard to agree with his assertion that Allen was "outstanding" - he was relatively anonymous, and Borini completely so.

On the other hand, these are new players finding their way in a new team and this was no easy introduction. To describe Downing as anonymous would be to talk up his contribution to a hugely elevated level.

Sadly, anonymity has largely been Downing's stock-in-trade since his £20m move from Aston Villa last summer and his performance at The Hawthorns did nothing to hint at change. This is a player spoken about so highly by so many managers, yet he has produced so rarely for Liverpool.

Suarez was Liverpool's best performer but if there is a flaw in this outstanding striker's repertoire it the number of opportunities he requires to score.

He had three very good chances - two created alone, it should be said - in the first half but could not take any of them. Two more came and went in the second.

Suarez is a divisive figure but he is the gifted wildcard in Liverpool's pack. He demonstrated his dark side here with a nonsensical yellow card for gesturing at a linesman but his hunger was summed up with a tireless chase back into his own half to try to regain possession in the closing moments with his team already well beaten.

The Uruguayan is quite simply indispensible to Liverpool's current plans, but it was all to no avail here.

So it was a chastened Rodgers who shook hands with Clarke at the final whistle. The man who Liverpool left behind had beaten the man chosen to take them forward.

Rodgers has no big money to work with between now and transfer deadline day so skilful manoeuvring in the markets is required to bring in the reinforcements he needs to make a further personal imprint on Liverpool's squad.

Speculation has surrounded both his first-choice central defenders, Martin Skrtel and Agger, this summer but neither distinguished himself at The Hawthorns, looking ill-at-ease and vulnerable.

Joe Cole made a brief substitute appearance before going off injured, and Andy Carroll - by all accounts unwanted by Rodgers and perhaps seen as the best bet to swell the coffers - appeared far too late to have any influence.

Charlie Adam was on Liverpool's bench and is seemingly surplus while Downing would surely also be vulnerable if Rodgers could get any sort of acceptable return on his predecessor Kenny Dalglish's lavish investment in him.

All these factors make it even clearer that the Rodgers era was never going to burst instantly into life. It will take time and anyone who did not know it at 3pm on Saturday was painfully aware of it two hours later.

Rodgers described it as "a bad day at the office." It was certainly that, and not in keeping with the tone of optimism and freshness that has accompanied his early days at Anfield.

More new faces will need to arrive, some old faces must be shipped out and the culture and philosophies contained in his dossier will need time to be implemented.

Rodgers agreed there might be other days like this along the way - but he is also confident there are better days to come.


Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    Liverpool fans shouldn't worry ... there's always next year ... or the year after that or that or that or that ...

  • Comment number 2.

    Swansea didn't happen overnight for Rogers. I think he'll do well!

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    As a Manchester United fan, I found Liverpool's 0-3 loss to the baggies quite amusing.

    Setting bias aside, I hope that Liverpool's fans do not turn on Brendan Rodgers, a young manager who plays good football and deserves to be given time to deal with entrenched problems at Liverpool (lack of quality players, stability, rebuilding 'the boot room', etc). However, I worry that Brendan will not get this - look how quickly certain sections of Liverpool's fans turned against 'King' Kenny, the idol of Merseyside. Until Liverpool, a massive football club, realise that they do not have the players and methods in place to be winning league titles and give a manager a chance to implement this, then Liverpool will only get worse before they get better.

  • Comment number 5.

    Liverpool continue to make the same mistake – identifying someone who is successful where no-one gives a stuff, and where there is little attention or pressure, and believing they will be a world-beater.

    Hodgson was okay at Fulham and reached the Europa League final, but was never going to deliver at Anfield. Dalglish signed some players who could be awesome one game in five – Carroll, Adam, Downing and Henderson. But none could deliver consistently, week in, week out. Henderson is the odd one out – unlike the others, he doesn't make mistakes – he's just too timid to do anything creative.

    Rodgers did fairly well at Swansea, where there was no weight of expectation. It has to be said though, that they pretty much crept under the radar to accumulate thier points last season. At Liverpool, his game plan will be subjected to far greater scrutiny. Already, one game in with Liverpool, he looked to be close to cracking in his post-match interview. I feel sorry for the guy – he has never faced such intense scrutiny or pressure.

    The one winner Liverpool have recruited in the last 10 years was Rafa Benitez. He thrived on the pressure of managing Valencia and winning La Liga, ahead of Barcelona and Real Madrid - an immense achievement topped by his Champions League success in 2005, and almost again two years later. It was unfortunate that his final season coincided with the Hicks and Gillett financial meltdown and he had to sell to keep the club solvent. In the three seasons since he was fired, £40m has been wasted in terminating unsuitable managers and it's anyone's guess how much more has been frittered away on misfit players. All change but nothing changes.

  • Comment number 6.

    I think your being far too optimistic here Phil.
    We all know that Downing and Adam are awful players who would struggle to look good in the Championship, and I'd like to think that if no offers come in, their contracts will simply be cancelled so at least their off the wage bill.
    But while Rodgers cannot be blamed for the poor quality players that were already at Anfield on his arrival (although he is to be blamed for selecting them) what about the rubbish that he has brought in?
    Borini and Allen are nowhere near the sort of players to move Liverpool forward. Both are severely limited in skill and vision, and the result is that the better players in the side have to put in double shifts to try and make up for the slack.
    Further, Rodgers silly tactics exposed Liverpool badly. Just like at Swansea, he wants Liverpool to have the lion's share of possession, but at what point will he realise that you still need to do something with the possession you have. Agger and Skrtel sat on the ball for long periods, which invited West Brom to come and hassle them in their own defensive third. The second penalty was merely one example of the dangers this type of play will expose Liverpool too.
    Overall, it's business as usual for Liverpool in-keeping with the past 2 or so years. The remaining Benitez players will desperately try and keep the club afloat, while another manager who is dramatically out of his depth will bring in players that provide more positives to the opposition than to their own side.
    Most disturbingly, the downward spiral is only just beginning!

  • Comment number 7.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 8.

    Ah and so it begins. Unless there's instant results people are all too happy to jump on managers and players backs. It's a good thing for Man U fans that Fergie didn't start in these times otherwise he would have been out and they would probably still be searching for their magical manager!

  • Comment number 9.

    There's a wee twang of bitterness in this article phil, maybe sleep on it before doing your next post-mortem. Early days yet, this game was certainly not a fair representation of how liverpool's season will pan out. Chin up!

  • Comment number 10.

    Right, time to make good on my post-Olympics pledge to be gracious to other teams and not just laugh at their misfortune...

    Bad day all round for Liverpool, not just the result but also losing Agger for the Coty match next week. I agree that Rogers needs more time and that the progress made by Liverpool should be measured on more than just their league position come May (i.e. don't sack him, even if you finish 8th or so, so long as there are clear signs of improvement). My worry for the way Rogers wants to play is that I don't think it will get the best out of one of the key players, namely Suarez. He's a highly gifted player but far from a clinical finisher so where do you play him? In the no.9 role and hope his finishing improves? Or out wide where he can create more but has to defend more too?

  • Comment number 11.

    *City match!

  • Comment number 12.

    "More new faces will need to arrive, some old faces must be shipped out and the culture and philosophies contained in his dossier will need time to be implemented."

    Absolutely Phil. I just fear some of my fellow Liverpool fans will not give him the time, particularly those (who are slightly deluded) who pined for the return of Rafa. I love Rafa Benitez but if I hear the words "Rafa for manager" this season I will cry.

  • Comment number 13.

    Have to say, that had Luis Suarez "gained" those two penalties and the red card (which decided the match) this blog would would be inundated with accusations of cheat.
    How would people have reacted had Ashley Young "won" those two penalties?

    Sorry, but the first anti-Olympian hall of infamy entry goes to Shane Long, you are a disgrace.

    Congragulations to West Brom on a good win, the tactics of sitting back and hitting Liverpool on the break worked well, especially after the sending off.

  • Comment number 14.

    I'm not going to panic over one result, however disappointing. This just confirms what we already knew: Downing is a passenger, Borini needs time, Allen is talented but also needs time having only been there a week.

    There were flashes of promise, but 2 bad errors by Skrtel decided it. Can't grumble about the result. But this is only the start of a long road back. We always say managers aren't given time in the modern game, but I hope (and think) Rodgers will be.

    Patience, grasshoppers.

  • Comment number 15.

    Last year we went for "if in doubt hoof it out" and had one of the best defenses in the league! This season we are clearly planning to shilly shally on the ball in our defensive third, which can only lead to the disaster of a result we got today! I think we need to remind ourselves we ain't Barcelona!

    I can't see that sacking Kenny has made any difference at all other, our attack is just as bad and our defence is worse but I guess at Liverpool that's progress? Just another error in a decade of bad decisions!

    What has happened at my beautiful club - we are a laughing stock!

    I'll give Rodgers till Christmas!

  • Comment number 16.

    Phil Dowd - he never fails to let me down. Poor decisions in a poor game.

    Cheers Phillip.

  • Comment number 17.

    I dont think that liverpool are going to finish in the top seven this season. agger and suarez are both overated and downing is just hopeless

  • Comment number 18.

    Liverpool FC - a club that constantly talks how it's going to be different this time, that they're going on their way back up to recapture the glory days which are quickly fading away...

    ..and they offer so little.

    Absolutely hilarious.

    A few years ago we actually challenged for the title. Then we fought for a 'top 4' place. Then it was a battle to stay in the 'top 4'. Then it was a matter of getting in europe as we're supposedly a club of that 'standard'. Then it was a matter of just getting anything at all (carling cup, aka mickey mouse cup none of the bigger guns care about). I predicted a midtable finish this season, and look where we are - in relgation! 18th!

    Ok, it may only be the first day and not everyone has played yet, but you got to laugh at this sorry state of affairs.

    Liverpool are a club continuously in decline. A few years ago we had the likes of Arbeloa, Alonso, Gerrard (good), we're stuck with the likes of Adam, Allen, and Carroll!


  • Comment number 19.

    In my mind i have split our first 5 games off into a sub section (perhaps a fan's way of dealing with 3/5 "tough" games), i was hoping for 9 points out of 15 from this collection of games...

    i am now worried that we will struggle to get 4 points.

    what infuriated me last season was our lack of men in the box when we were attacking the opposition goal, poor luck, poor refs and a poor defence can be a one off BUT we need to get more bodies in that box! lets hope Brendon addresses this problem in the coming season.

    i will keep faith (what other choice do i have) and hope we turn up in the next four matches.

  • Comment number 20.

    Liverpool fans, for what it's worth, I don't think you were awful today. We actually have some very decent players, who played well, and we were at home after all. It's only one game. Without question you need someone who can finish - Suarez can't, the manager doesn't like Carroll and I'm not convinced Borini can.

    Isn't Sahin and Assaidi going to be joining? Two very decent acquisitions who will improve the team. I think a top 6 finish is possible and would be a good step in the right direction - allowing a good foundation to be built on. If a top quality striker could be bought in perhaps there is an opportunity for further progression. The rest of the team (with the two additions I mentioned) actually is rather impressive.

  • Comment number 21.

    I think the result flatters west brom and does some injustice to liverpool. i dont think the situation is as dire as some people are suggesting here. Had Suarez taken his chances in the first half, it would have been an entirely different game. Then of course the sending off and all that dont help.

    Clearly liverpool need better defenders and agger being sent off wont help in the city game. but the style of football was very good and the midfield dominated at times. too bad they dont have a good striker to take all the chances, someone like RVP or a certain Fernando.

    The only thing worth worrying about was the level of play from Gerrard. Woeful to say the least. Perhaps too tired from the Euros? Without him Liverpool always struggles.

  • Comment number 22.

    cheers for that Albion1991 - a good assessment in my opinion which is strangely refreshing.

    What did you make of the penalties if I may ask?

  • Comment number 23.

    I am in complete agreement with post number 5. - Hodgson, Kenny and now Rogers are all thoroughly decent and nice guys AND they are also small club managers - at a world-level club like Liverpool they were and are always going to be hopelessly out of their depth. The sad thing is if armchair pundits can see something so painfully obvious why can't the Liverpool Board ? Houllier and Benitez were outstanding appointments - especially given that may be they simply couldn't attract the absolute top-top-tier of manager - so how come this dreadful regression since Benitez ? Unless LFC appoint a modern, high-class manager sooner rather than later they can kiss their glory days good-bye.

  • Comment number 24.

    As a Swansea fan, I can only thank Liverpool for the £22m you have given us in the last couple of months. I listened to the Radio 5 special a couple of nights ago where the owners described a new philosophy of attacking football and the media-friendly, key-word utterings of Mr Rodgers. Let's get a couple of things sorted out here - Rodgers inherited a philosophy and a squad which was built by Roberto Martinez and the Swansea City board led by a supporters trust and a board led by the wonderful Huw Jenkins. You can shove dossiers up your proverbial backside. The 4 second rule is something every decent coach of an under-10s side in the Swansea Junior League has practiced for the last couple of years. Today, and in pre-season, Swansea have played the most effective attacking football we have played for years - through-balls to wingers who come inside, quicker balls to the likes of Michu and de Guzman. Thanks to Laudrup. Brendan is an arms around the shoulder manager and a student of the Mourinho school of managament. Very Media-savvy.

  • Comment number 25.

    cheers for that Albion1991 - a good assessment in my opinion which is strangely refreshing.

    What did you make of the penalties if I may ask?

    Tbh I thought the first was outside the area. Did know else think this? But a foul and unfortunately it had to be a red. Should of let him shoot; on his weaker left foot, off balance, not the most clinical.

    I thought the second was clear cut.

    I think it's too easy to blame Phil Dowd. Gerrard (had a poor game) played an awful pass for the first one I think, and what was Skrtel doing for the second? Long definitely went down easy for both, but nearly all players do these days.

  • Comment number 26.

    If Liverpool don't sort themselves out, the likes of Suarez, Lucas and Reina will want out and then they'll have absolutely noone to help them. Carragher and Gerrard are too old to carry the club forward, the rest of the players are nothing.
    Will we ever enjoy the glory days of the 70s/80s again? No.

  • Comment number 27.

    Liverpool should've got rid of clumsy Skrtel while his stocks were high, never rated him, and I never will. Until Rodgers plugs the holes in defence with some quality, it'll be as you were at Anfield I'm afraid. Brendan, give the kids a run out, they might just suprise you with their hunger to perform on the big stage!

  • Comment number 28.

    Ah the footie season is back after the wonderment of the Olympics,it never ceases to amaze me the amount of football talent that is wasted on these blogs surely football managers must read these as the answer to all there problems are put in writing at the end of each season they must think should have listened but please don't stop you give an old man of sixty so many laughter filled days

  • Comment number 29.

    Ha Phil! You've been sharpening your rapier during close season "To describe Downing as anonymous would be to talk up his contribution to a hugely elevated level." good one.

    It's true, but I would have liked to see an article about Steve Clarke. He has learnt his trade with the best coaches and is maybe ready to step up big.

    I think there has been a problem in the LFC locker room since Benitez. These players are not that bad- they're just not playing for each other. If they find the right spirit they'll win a few games.
    West Brom already have it, it seems.

  • Comment number 30.

    Has Rodgers got a winning mentality? Can he attract big names? What experience does he have? What has he achieved as a manager?

    Van Gaal was available and waiting in the wings. I did not support this mediocre appointment and, based on today's performance and the signings thus far, I won't be supporting Brendan any time soon.

  • Comment number 31.

    At some point people might realise that the real problem is Steven Gerrard. For Livepool to adopt a style of football where they work the ball out of defence rather than hoof it, they need players who want the ball and are comfortable with it. If the centrehalves are under instruction to pass the ball it is no surprise that they will get caught in possession if no-one moves into space to receive it.

    Watching Gerrard in the Euros it was clear to see he did not want to receive the ball if an opposition player was within 5 yards of him, which is why the ball was continually worked back to the defenders or goalkeeper to hoist it upfield. Compare the difference with how comfortable Spain (and Barcelona) players are to recieve the ball and lay it off in much tighter spaces. Gerrard's forte is hitting raking 50 yard passes to feet but at the top level these are now just 50/50 passes which isn't enough when your manager wants to play a possession game.

    Any notion that Gerrard can pay behind the striker doesn't add up because he can't contribute the number of goals required for that position. So where do you play him?

    Answer is you don't.

  • Comment number 32.

    We didn't deserve to win, but the second penalty call in particular was nonsense. Long runs from behind Skrtel, who is in possession, and runs in front of him and maybe--maybe--trips over Skrtel's feet. Never a penalty in a million years. The first one is arguable, but Agger does give a push to the back (Long topples like he was shot) and if the ref calls that foul, then the red is required in that situation.

    The big worry is whether Gerrard can adapt to this style of play, instead of a high energy, high emotion game with less attention to possession. Rodgers can't get in a spat with the captain, but not sure if Gerrard can be effective in this setup. He has the requisite skill to hold and distribute, not just bull forward (see his play in recent England matches) but whether he can adapt psychologically remains to be seen.

  • Comment number 33.

    Oh's football season again. The Olympics were unbearable but a least they lasted only a fortnight.

    We've got another 9 months of this.

  • Comment number 34.

    With some managers, you'd just know that they can make it the minute they join. With others, you'd just know they'd struggle or need patience. Doesn't take a football genius to know where Rodgers belongs. Should pool fans have to need patience when dealing with the likes of perennial relegation strugglers? May need patience until the end of next month (Norwich) or longer with Pool's harsh schedule.

    I'm just glad Carroll didn't want to join west ham. Hammers doing well.

  • Comment number 35.

    I think Liverpool were a bit hard done by TBH. They were very good for 45min and undone by a spectacular goal. Not to discredit West Broms performance, from the looks of things they deserved the win, but those 2 penalties were very very questionable.

    Shane Long has always pulled that kind of stuff. He did it last season and he's doing it again - he falls over so fast and is far more theatrical than even Ashley Young. All he has is pace and and in my opinion a tarnish on what should have been a great West Brom win.

    As for Liverpool, like I said I think they are not actually in that bad a shape: a striker and another midfielder and they would have the basis of a strong team that just needs time and patience to bed in for a few games (did wonders for Arsenal last season).

  • Comment number 36.

    Liverpool played well in the first half and edged it in terms of overall play, created some good chances but fell behind to a sweet strike. Then they went chasing the game instead of being more patient.
    The sending off changed the game, and Liverpool capitulated after that.

    West Brom play some good football, and may surprise a few more teams this season. Youssouf Mulumbu is a great player, very underrated.

    "The man who Liverpool left behind had beaten the man chosen to take them forward."

    This sentence should read "The man who left Liverpool behind..." as Steve Clarke was not sacked, Liverpool wanted to keep him, he resigned. Stop rewriting history.

    Liverpool should give Rodgers plenty of time to instill his philosophy on the club. And also to move all the dead wood out, as there is a lot. There are some good young players coming through, so the fans will need to be patient.

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

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  • Comment number 40.

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  • Comment number 41.

    @ 37......

    Did you watch the game then? Not the highlights on MOTD where Liverpool had the better chances until they were down to 10 men? Have you seen Tom Daley Long fall over with the merest of touches....twice?

    The game should have been a draw, Phil Dowd did his usual limelight trick of making sure he gets himself noticed and other then a wonder strike from Gera and missed chances from Suarez, the game was largely uneventful.

    Credit to West Brom - shame on Dowd. Said it for years now but the guy is a clown.

    It is not about being fantacists, it is about being a realist. Afterall, we are a 'mid-table' team and therefore, this result should not be a surprise.

  • Comment number 42.


    I agree that there's a fair amount of deadwood to be removed such as Adam, Cole, Downing (the worst player i've ever seen in the Premier League), but what about the signings of Borini and Allen? They're possibly even worse, and certainly shouldn't be anywhere near Anfield (or the Premier League for that matter)!
    Rodgers will bring in more junk because no decent player would sign for a manager of such limited ability.

  • Comment number 43.

    Right, seeing as a moderator here thinks contrasting the views of the press on the game vs the views of the fans of Liverpool FC of the game is some how contravening the house rules, I'll reword.

    Both nailed on penalties, Borini decided to play act when he got blocked, grabbing his face, Allen went missing. Gerard refuses to touch the ball if theres an opponent within 5 yards of him and Skrtel and Agger are liabilities.

    Massive problems that will take Rodgers years to fix, but sadly, he'll be hounded out before too long because of the idea that a big name manager would want to take on a club without the football, finances or short to medium term future to win the League of the Champions League.

  • Comment number 44.

    In the end, it does not really come down to the size of dossier, research, philosophy nor formations and tactics. If you do not have enough players with the skill and mental toughness to win consistently, there's no point wasting paper.

    With due respect to Rodgers and Liverpool's gloried past, they are no longer operating in the same league as the two Manchester and north London clubs and Chelsea. Even Newcastle have moved ahead of them simply by acquiring better players with more physical and mental toughness.

    It seems somehow sad that a player of Gerrard's gifts will end his career without a league title winner's medal. I will always have a soft spot for the club because of what Shankly, Paisley and Fagan did for the game in this country. They were light years ahead of their rivals at the time in making the game appear breathtakingly simple. Rodgers may end up doing that but I don't blame anyone for being sceptical about it.

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.


    I would moderate you for coming out with tripe.

    The press can say whatever they want - I was streaming the game from Norway where strangely Ray Wilkins was a panelist and he said West Brom deserved their half time lead and you end up sitting there thinking how are these people paid to come up with this because I will happily talk rubbish, merely because I am an ex-pro and therefore allowed, and I get paid for it. There opinions matter nothing more then mine or yours.

    Agger and Skrtel are far from liabilities - 2 of the best defenders in the PL last year - hence City's interest. Skrtel was poor vs west brom though.

    Rodgers will be given time - that is why they paid Swansea 5m to get him. No one expects overnight success - just a referee that is human. Already there are a catalogue of poor decisions and we are in week 1. Twice we were given offside (most noticeably when downing was clean through). The linesman doesn't flag, we go 1 up, it is unlikely we would lose.

  • Comment number 47.

    Having read all the comments and disregarding the clearly negative just for negative sake of rival fans, i'd like to say this..I have never agreed with the premature sacking of Rafael Benitez. He was the best Liverpool manager in 20 years and had vision and the mind to cope with anything put in front of him tactically. He was unfortunate with the owners at the time and made errors as a result. A man worried about his job perhaps? Had John Henry come sooner then arguably things would be much different. No loss of Torres for starters. Kenny was awesome the first time around, way ahead of everyone at the time and had he continued, or been able to, who knows what he would have achieved in the 90's. He did win the title with Blackburn after all. Winning the title with two clubs is a feat not even Alex Ferguson has achieved.
    When Dalglish returned he represented much needed stability, lifting the gloom and was in my view the only choice aside from Benitez. If you want instant success in this day and age there are few managers who can guarantee that, Jose Mourinho is perhaps the number one choice. What Jose doesn't do is build dynasties and that is Liverpool's quest, to bring the club back to competitive balance and long lasting success.
    Rodgers was not my first choice and indeed I was similarly gutted that Kenny and Steve Clarke were not given another season at least. Sentiment it seems does not mean progress. Brendan Rodgers must be given time and I agree with Phil that the broom must be used to sweep aside the players who simply lack the ability to convert faith into anything substantial. Rodgers not only represents a new breed of manager, he represents a return to 'long term-ism', something seriously lacking from the game and life at large. If John Henry and Tom Werner wanted a quick fix they would surely have gone for Jose. If the team regresses further, and I mean relegation material, the manager will be sacked. I don't think this is going to happen.
    My feeling is one defeat, albeit a very unsatisfactory one, does not bring about the end to a dynasty, nor does one victory lead to one being installed. As Bob Paisley said, 'you don't know how the table lies until after 10 games'. If the table reads one defeat, several wins and a healthy top half position, and signs of a footballing philosophy beginning to take shape, then i'd say things will be heading in the right direction. Fans must ease their desire for instant success. It will take time, new players, hungry capable players to gel with the already proven Gerrard and Suarez, Agger, Reina and Skrtel. Their successors must also be found and nurtured. Any football fan worth their salt knows that

  • Comment number 48.

    the liverpool owners are the problem, they dont have heaps of money....

  • Comment number 49.

    Absolutely hilarious performance. Can't even roll out the Lucas missing excuse. You would have though someone would have given Suarez some finishing training over the Summer. Nice to see Gerrard's passing has improved for the red card.

    Always next year, always next year.....

  • Comment number 50.

    same liverpool from last year. created chance after chance but couldnt finish. i think suarez missed about 5 or 6 chances in the first 30mins. Liverpool a mid table finish again this year i think

  • Comment number 51.

    In hindsight, its probably worked out for the best that Liverpool didn't sell Carroll to West Ham. It's never a good idea to sell players to the competition, be it relegation spots come May.

  • Comment number 52.

    As #46 pointed out, Liverpool were incorrectly flagged offside twice and on both occasions, a goal could have been produced. Downing was in acres of space with just Foster facing him. Additionally, Suarez missed a gilt edge chance after a great cross from Johnson (who had to play on the left). Seems as though he would have buried the header had he a bit more height on him. Thus, just like last season, chances were not converted and the next thing you know, Gera arrows in from 25 yards. Then the business with the penalties came about, red card, etc. etc. and Liverpool were never going to get back in. Dowd seemed to think nothing of yellow carding 'Pool's players; shame he couldn't think the same for Albion. I noted the sarcastic cheers from the away end when WBA received their first yellow (Fortuné).

    WBA did play well, though; they have some very underrated players who really put in a shift. Yacob had a great début, the defence was solid, Mulumbu played well. Lukaku brushing Carragher away so easily really is symbolic of the fact that Jamie is well past it unfortunately.

    So, a significant part of the defeat can be put down to a combination of Liverpool's profligacy, poor officiating and bad luck. In other words, it's the same story from last season but whether or not this will continue is anyone's guess.

    "anonymous" was definitely a word that was appearing ubiquitously in my mind with regards to one Joe Allen. He should be given time, though - likewise Brendan Rodgers. A lot of dead weight is definitely still lumbering about. However, my fellow Liverpool supporters still high from the smell of the dusty yet aurous trophy cabinet are calling for the manager's head far too soon, as per usual.

  • Comment number 53.

    IMHO, Liverpool's decline began when they sold Xabi. You could have built a team, post-Gerard, with him at the core. Recent signings (Adam, Downing, Konchesky etc) have been absolute crap, and the jury's still out on Carroll and Henderson.

  • Comment number 54.


    Hilarious performance.....who from? Dowd?

    Selling to competition? West Ham? Your comment says a lot.

    Suarez would walk in to any team in the world....fact. A bit of luck and everyone is purring about him. Don't let your hatred of Liverpool cloud your judgement though.

  • Comment number 55.

    Rodgers may have a long term plan but he needs a short term one too. Liverpool had a squad with too many central midfielders, and so he wants to buy more central midfielders. I just don't get it. Allen looks similar to Lucas but not as good. Liverpools main weakness last year, and still is, poor quality in wide areas. Adam, shelvey, spearing, cole and henderson might not be great but it would be better to play one of them in midfield and have spent the 15m on attacking wide players if he wants to play that system.

    Victor Moses, A. Johnson, Matt Jarvis, Nathan dyer, pienaar, sessegnon, sinclair, dembele, or anyone who can beat a man and score the odd goal pls. All those players are or were gettable for not too much.

    BTW I think Rodgers has Agger and Skrtel play too far apart when we have the ball.

  • Comment number 56.


    That is what I always find funny about MOTD and the media. It is like the media watch MOTD and form their opinion on 4 minutes of highlights from a game where you in fact need to look at the whole game before making a judgement. MOTD doesn't show the 2 terrible decisions from the linesman but you watch the game and you see it. It beggars belief.

    The best thing is that that Spurs lost and Arsenal drew. Other then THAT.....

  • Comment number 57.

    The problem for Liverpool over recent seasons is that their expectations are far too high. There has to be an air of realism at the club to understand that should Champions League football be attained then that is a tremendous result.

    Looking at the squad it doesn't have too many shining lights but several which need bulb replacements. Downing is such an ordinary player and Agger is nearly as clumsy as Arsenal's Mertesacker.

    Rodgers seems like an affable character and if he can gel the dressing room then there should be a mood for optimism.

    But where was the Gerrard who did England proud at the Euros? Is he still thinking about that move to Chelsea he should have made several years back or does he believe that the team isn't strong enough to challenge for a top four spot?

    Liverpool will improve but not to the extent where their fans will be content.

  • Comment number 58.

    Bredan will improve LFC. BUT the fans have to be. alittle pecent

  • Comment number 59.

    Liverpool's problem is expectation. Their successful past will never again be realised in the foreseeable future and sadly in 20 years time after a 40 absence of the Premiership crown Liverpool fans will be mirroring the fans of Newcastle etc with a 'we need to get back to where we belong' mantra.
    Sadly today where you belong is largely dependant on your financial ability to fund a team so billionares trump millionaires and who knows which team will be earmarked by some rich arab for greatness in coming years.
    The days of a saviour in the form of a Shankly coming and shaping a winning philosophy are dead and gone forever, that football is broken because of t is just sad.
    Liverpool fans wake up get real and adjust your expectations.

  • Comment number 60.

    No surprises again Phil. If you write 100 blogs in a year, 90 will be about Liverpool FC. I wonder if you'll lose interest if your favourite subject keeps losing?!

    Seems like a deserved win for WBA and loads of excuses again from the LFC fans. Ironic really all the complaints about penalties and diving. The Benitez culture instilled at LFC was to dive and feign injury at every opportunity to gain advantage. You didn't complain then, did you?

    It still amazes me, that some fans still clamour for the return of Benitez, he was the most dispicable character ever to taint the permier league. And he was only successful with the team Houllier left behind, as soon as he blew millions on his own players, the team quickly went backwards.

    Then there are the complaints about lack of money. Hahaha. Kenny spent 100 million last year on a pile of rubbish, while benitez spent probably 250 million on his lot. Rodgers has already spent 25 million, not exactly short change is it?

    The most laughable comment from above though was the one about if the LFC board wanted instant success, they would have gone for Jose Mourinho. That's the funniest thing i've ever heard. He wouldn't touch LFC with a barge pole. And look what his successor did to his all conquering Inter Milan team (who was that again? oh that's right the prodigal so Benitez!).

    Good look LFC fans, you are going to need it this year. maybe Phil and his media friends can reinvent a new term to incude you guys - top 15!

  • Comment number 61.

    "To describe Downing as anonymous would be to talk up his contribution to a hugely elevated level"

    To describe the "chief football writer" as a journalist would be a joke. To describe his hack drivel as sub tabloid herd following populist trash would be accurate.

    How about at least trying to write something insightful, rather than just hiding behind hackneyed verbiage?

    Everyone knows that a football side isn't developed overnight. Bit like journalistic and writing skills. They take years of hard work and practice, and even then many people fail. Such is life, eh chief?

  • Comment number 62.

    The biggest problem with many of the comments of my fellow reds is, they have never seen a truly powerful team in red, the nearest in the last 22 years was 08-09, when we were runners up and the decline since has been alarming. The call for Rafa is laughable - we should have won the title that year - he carries part of the responsibility for not doing, and all of it in the Barry/ Alonso saga that led to Xabi leaving, and the decline since.
    I watched LFC first in 1963 and I've rarely seen such ordinary players in a red shirt - we all know who they are - even in the Souness years.
    Hodgson was a mistake, Kenny was right for the interim appointment to stabilise the club, which he did.
    It was a mistake to allow that huge amount of money to be wasted in his time - who sanctioned the Carroll deal? We are paying for the lack of quality in all those transfers bought at inflated fees.
    For the record and clearly unlike some posters, saw the game live - if Suarez could finish we would have been a couple up before they scored - a top finish for the West Brom goal.
    Dowd decided the game's outcome and we didn't want to know after that. [Dowd gave us a dodgy one v City in the home semi - the handball against Richards - it goes around]
    My fellow reds - it may take Rodgers 2-3 years, let's put the mistakes of the last 20 behind us and back him.

  • Comment number 63.

    Liverpool fan but have to say firstly am really pleased for Steve Clarke, he has earned his time in charge and I hope it goes well for him.

    As for Rodgers his problem may be that fans patience has already worn thin, as others have alluded to imagine any Liverpool manager being booed 20 years ago (and we had some tough times then too) let alone Kenny.

    The game has changed now and unless you get a billionaire owner a few years out of the CL and there may be no way back.

  • Comment number 64.

    I have been singing this from mountain tops ever since KK got sacked! BRING BACK RAFA! and to all you "moderators" who keep saying he is no good, I ask u this... Were we a European force with man at he helm? Were we not progressing towards our goal of winning the league? Didnt we attract BIG name players from europe?

    I just dont understand the negativity towards Rafa? Sure he had his downfalls, but he Yank must take their share of the blame regarding this. And which top flight manager hasnt had some doozies? RAFA WAS THE BEST SIGNING LIVERPOOL MADE IN THE LAST 20YRS!

    Bring the guy back to finish his unfinished business at lfc before the situation we are at becomes unsolvable...

    Rant over...

  • Comment number 65.

    Liverpool are not the force they once were, There seems to be no structure at the club spending big money on average players is going to get them nowhere fast

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 67.

    I'm not a prophet but i told u xo in yur previous blog. Rogers to go by x mas is not realistic, with the fixtures they have i expect Liverpool to be in the Relegation zone so Rogers to go November. How czn u support a Coach whose first signing is Borini? 9 goal wonder or Allen drom Swansea. Other teams buying the best or so while Liverpool buying rubbish. No future with this team, if Rogers isnt sacked early i see a 12th place finish sack him and manage 8th. Mancity would Spank this team, even if its at Anfeild.

  • Comment number 68.

    Rodgers is a good man and a decent manager but, isn't it funny how at the same time as Liverpool were getting a battering yesterday, his old side Swansea simply picked up where they left off last season? Why? Because Swansea have a plan, Liverpool don't. Swansea know what they want from a manager and players, Liverpool don't. Rodgers will be another in a long line of managers who have left Swansea thinking they're bigger than the club, only to end up treading water (or worse) elsewhere.

    On an entirely unrelated note, I knew it wouldn't take long for the pro-Benitez brigade to come out in force. One game in and they just can't help themselves can they. For Christ's sake, move on guys. He's gone, and what's more by the end of his tenure he deserved to go as well, turning in some of the most dire and turgid performances ever generated by the club with a squad that was capable of better. JUST LEAVE IT GO!

  • Comment number 69.

    I'm interested to here if Liverpool fans think Gerrard might be better placed in an Alonso role, still one of the best passes of the ball in the prem but i fear asking him to work both up and down is asking too much nowadays? He'd surely see more of the ball and effect play with it, acquire Demspey in his old mould?

  • Comment number 70.

    Just blame Fergie, Hodgson, G+H, Downing, bad luck, the referee etc. All the usual scapegoats. It's the best way for Liverpool fans to feel better about themselves after a defeat.

    No-one ever blames the real Villians for Liverpools struggles, starting from Dalglish running away when the team got old in 1991, you've had poor management, directors and too many blunders in the transfer market. And you effectively got rid of your academy under Houllier.

    Some Liverpool fans are already calling for Rodgers head. Liverpool are now a poorer version of Chelsea.

  • Comment number 71.

    61. Count von Feckdorff

    If you cannot see that Stewart Downing has been an absolute disaster in a Liverpool shirt, then you seriously need help.

    No assists, no goals and not one performance of note in the Premier League. And those are just the stats. To watch him play is even worse.

  • Comment number 72.

    I think the downing signing speaks for is the worst of recent signings, his gosal record is very pure, 39 from 369 apps - i thought walcott at arsenal was wasteful but downing is far worse. But what i can't understand, whilst Yound went from Villa to Utd for £16m, a better player in all honesty, Downing set you back £20+?? Baffling. Adam Johnson to the rescue.

  • Comment number 73.

    It's amusing to see the penny finally drop about Brendan and Swansea.

    Rodgers did a terrific job of convincing everyone (including himself) that our recent success was down to him. That this "Swansealona" syle was his work and his work alone. Now people are starting to realise that it's the club ethos put into place by the board and fully backed by the support that has taken us to where we are today.

    Now young Brendan has to do it all himself, and that didn't work out too well last time he tried it. Given enough time he may turn things around, but he'll have to realise quickly that a glib turn of phrase with the media and a 180 page dossier are no substitute for managerial ability.

  • Comment number 74.

    £22m right back?

  • Comment number 75.

    It was vivid yesterday that Liverpool players are learning to play a different brand of football. It could be seen in the defense, where we were watching defenders trying to pass the ball instead of playing percentages. It could be seen in Gerrard making passing errors. Things don't change in a day. The unfortunate thing for Liverpool was that West Brom were well tuned and a team ready for this Premiership campaign.

    To me, the worrying detail for Liverpool is the inability to score. How many chances does Suarez need to score a goal? I counted 8 chances. On two instances, had Carroll been there, Liverpool would have scored 2 goals with headers.

    It will take time for Liverpool to adjust their play. This has nothing to do with chances conversion to goals though. Some players there have to think whether they're applying themselves 100% or they're just underachievers.

  • Comment number 76.

    Defence, as it was last season is definitely the problem. Very hard to win games if you're conceding. Skyrtl is so prone to lapses.

    However, the first half, and up until the sending off was all Liverpool. Gera's goal was wba's only shot, and a great one at that... Fair play.

    However, Long's flapping about and Dowd's happiness to make big decisions from half the pitch away did indeed cause lfc to lose shape and they'll need more time to get it mentally right again.

    So, very unlucky... But the more you practice playing together, the luckier well get!

  • Comment number 77.

    Regarding the comment..."Suarez was Liverpool's best performer but if there is a flaw in this outstanding striker's repertoire it the number of opportunities he requires to score. "..isn't this an oxymoron? How can someone be an outstanding striker when it takes so many opportunities to score..the two headed chances yesterday were extremely poor efforts. Understandably, LFC fans are desperate for Suarez to be s saviour but King Kenny he most certainly ain't..he's not near Fowler's or Owen's comparative value to LFC either currently...

  • Comment number 78.

    Allegedly, Liverpool don't have funds available, at present, for new players. Watching the other matches yesterday, I watched a Mitchu having a magnificent game for Swansea and scoring a beauty second goal. He cost Swansea something in the region of £2m. There are always solutions out there, even at a lesser expense. The fact is though that Liverpool need additions.

  • Comment number 79.

    Umpteenth time @70.
    Perfect post.
    I just happened to mention Dalglish running away in '91 in a post last season and was ridiculed by the scouse loyal. Souness,put in an awful position of rebuild,has taken all the flack for the scouse demise since then.
    The first week of the season and the first of many laughs. All the optimism of the koppites are already in dust and all the same excuses are in evident.
    Oh well,looks like 23yrs will become 24 immediately.

  • Comment number 80.

    I watched the whole match live on TV and agree with
    31 zzzzzds who wrote:
    "At some point people might realise that the real problem is Steven Gerrard.
    ..... where do you play him? Answer is you don't."
    Gerrard has been the problem at Liverpool AND England for a long time now.
    He continues to play "the English way" i.e. boot the ball as far as possible, which no longer works!
    And I fear that Gerrard is incapable of adapting to BRs style.
    I feel sorry for BR as he has an impossible task in dropping Gerrard.
    Of the starters yesterday, only Reina, Johnson and Suarez are good enough (Allen and Borini need time)!
    Maybe Cole and Henderson can adapt; maybe Lucas too.
    It's not looking good.
    Rome was not built in a day and nor will Liverpool.

  • Comment number 81.

    Bring back King Kenny - he will lead you to the greatness that you so richly deserve XD Maybe the refs will help you out like they did so many times last season.

  • Comment number 82.

    I know it's the start of the season, and we are expected to give LFC a chance... but it looks like they are continuing where they left off from last season. BR should have done a better job of instilling his methods of management (he had time to do this), so that LFC don't look like headless chickens on the pitch. In our first league match we let in 3 goals, score none and have a player sent off. Those are the facts ! LFC were diabolical in the last half of the 2011-2012 season, and frankly their performance yesterday was worse ! I feel for SG and JC who have put their hearts and souls in a team and would have hoped they could have bowed out in style - instead they are mourning the loss of a dream. Simply put, most of the players look like they don't have pride and don't want to play for LFC. In 35 years of supporting LFC I've never been less confident of their ability to win. No more excuses, LFC, pull finger and do something positive soon or else we will become 'bottom half' material. It's sad.

  • Comment number 83.

    You can pin point the exact moment Liverpool became a mid table team, Rafa saying he wanted Barry and wanted rid of Alonso. Possibly the decision that has resulted in 3 years of Liverpool doing nothing but give teams 3 points. The squad isnt bad. The managers have had decent reputations. But to constatly buy players for more than they are worth, Carroll, Downing, Allan and Henderson to name a few is unexceptable. I can think of 100 players better than them that the money could have gone on. Torres leaving was a shame as he was an out and out goal scorer and liverpool havent replaced him. Saurez is so hit and miss with goals that sometimes he may as well be not on the pitch. Its horrible to see Liverpool FC like this. In my life time i have only known them playing in all the major tournaments, and to see them fall from grace is painful. History accounts for nothing now. Other teams have developed by using pace to hurt teams, Arsenal and WBA are great examples. Liverpool will be left behind unless something major changes.

  • Comment number 84.

    Liverpool slightly shaded first 45 imo but - with no disrespect meant to WBA - if a club wants to challenge for a top four spot they need to be bossing these sort of games. Last season was littered with matches where Liverpool started brightly only to fade as the game went on. They were unlucky at times also, but lets be honest, you shouldn't have to worry about being unlucky at home to sides in the bottom half of the league. Just to clarify I am not suggesting that liverpool have a God given right to beat these clubs, just that if they want to compete for a CL spot they have to dominate against these teams, not shade games in possession terms and making them 50-50 when it comes to the result.

    On Rodgers, yes its very very early days but his appointment stinks of a lack of ambition, an acceptance that the modern game and it's financial requirements have left the club behind. tbh the moment I heard that they were interested in this guy and the likes of Martinez my heart sank. I knew the game was up. What have these guys achieved in the game to date anywhere near the top of the game? Two seasons ago Owen Coyle had a similar profile - look where he is now!

    This lack of ambition makes the sacking of Dalglish baffling. Personally I would have given Kenny more time but when I heard he had been dismissed I didn't think that it was the worst decision that the club has ever made - I thought they had somebody high profile waiting in the wings. Unfortunately the decision to replace him with a footballing nobody (at the highest level) may well be the worst decision that the club has ever made - well after buying Carroll that is :-).

  • Comment number 85.

    70. At 07:41 19th Aug 2012, umpteenth_time_user save 606 wrote:
    "Some Liverpool fans are already calling for Rodgers head."

    What utter nonsense. Most of the fans I talk to agree this is going to be a difficult season especially the first half of it as BR tries to implement his style. Congrats to WBA on a good first day.

    People are slating footballers for being out of touch but there is one group worse - fans. Reading some of the hate filled comments on here (on every other blog on football) you can see page after page of grown men & women acting like little kids spewing out hatred of others simply because they have committed the heinous crime of support sportsmen from a different team to their own. Pathetic.

  • Comment number 86.

    What a load of old nonsense.

    Liverpool were growing into the game nicely when Gera bagged that wonder strike, and they looked to be heading for a narrow victory.

    Poor decisions from Phil Dowd settled this match.

  • Comment number 87.

    I told a few friends in the pre-season that Rodgers would be a disaster for Liverpool and I stand by that. His Swansea side finished lower mid-table last season despite the hype and teams easily began to find out how to operate against that style of play. The short passing game works wonders if you have Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Alves, Alba, Villa etc but not when you have a group of players that Liverpool possess.

    Gerrard cannot play that way, and at 32 will not be able to adapt either. Suarez is not clinical enough and Carroll has been hung out to dry by Rodgers from day 1. This will end up being a tough season for Liverpool, especially as the manager is trying to hawk Agger to the highest bidder in order to bring in more of his old players.

    Hodgson Mark II awaits, despite LuisSuarezisamazing living in dream land regarding their performance yesterday-best team won easily.

  • Comment number 88.

    On the game itself - at the finish WBA were worthy winners but they got the breaks throughout the game. One team or the other usually does in close matches so I have no complaints there.

    The second penalty was a joke. Skirtel was not making a challenge when the incident occured - that cannot be a penalty - that's an accidental coming together. The player who instigated the minimal contact was in fact Long although even in his case it did not look as if he meant it. imo it was Long who was making the tackle and his off balance momentum meant he was on his way down anyway.

    This was only one of a number of howlers from Dowd. His treatment of Suarez was shameful. At one stage Suarez, while in possession, received a forearm smash from a WBA defender that was both cynical and violent. Dowd a mere two yards away thought it worthy of a free but, bizzarely, not a booking. Moments later he booked Suarez for remonstrating with the linesman - not too hard to see the sub text there!

    Finally, the most concerning thing for me yesterday, in a day of concerns, was Joe Allen bottling out of a tackle in the centre circle after about 70 minutes. The incident resulted in Morrison missing the proverbial "sitter".

  • Comment number 89.

    Very simply Liverpool will be lucky to be in the top half this season and might even be in the battle for survival. All the constant changing over the last couple of years plus a increasingly dysfunctional team/squad means its going to get worse and worse in IMO. I'm a Liverpool fan.

  • Comment number 90.

    Rodgers believes his own hype and there is no chance of Liverpool being Barca-lite. Besides, some of the credit for the Swansea style must surely go to Martinez. I'll be surprised if Liverpool finish top 10. They should have gone for Jol.

  • Comment number 91.

    Refereeing decisions even themselves out and to put the defeat down to the referee is to do the baggies a disservice and is incredibly disingenuous - they deserved to win because they played better than liverpool. Simple.

    The wider problem for Liverpool as I see it is that dalglish wasted close to £100m on players who are worth perhaps a quarter of that. This was money Liverpool could hardly afford to burn, and so now there is not much money in the pot for the new manager to invest without selling first. As everyone knows they are going to have to take a massive hit on selling Carroll, no one would want to buy downing, adam or henderson.

    On top of this is the declining influence of gerrard. Without doubt a great player for the club, but years of carrying the team have taken their toll on him and he can no longer impact games like he used to. Dark days for the anfield faithful.

    Still "you'll never walk alone" (unless you are roy hodgson)......

  • Comment number 92.

    Nothing knee-jerk about any comments here then ......

  • Comment number 93.

    Penalties or no, over 90 minutes Albion took their chances and Liverpool did not.

    The score remains the same.

    3-0 to the Albion.

  • Comment number 94.

    Largely unnecessary blog with general sweeping statements on first day of season. There's a long way to go.

    The typical 'it was everyones fault but ours' line is gettin boring. Even Hansen said they were pens and had Suarez taken 4 of the 7 or 8 clear chances he had itd be out of question. Id be more worried about the fact the poor finishing seems to not be sorted as that was the issue last year. Skrtle and Agger will prob remember how to play together next week!

  • Comment number 95.

    Perhaps the Liverpool fans on here complaining that Dowd might have got the penalty decisions wrong only see the world through red-tinted glasses.

    WBA fans are delighted to give Clarke a chance, and yesterday we saw two newcomers - Yacob and later Lukaku - merge seamlessly into the team, whereas Liverpool's newcomers all looked like misfits.

    And how wonderful to see Gera recover from last season's awful injury to strike a goal of the highest technical quality. Class is permanent.

  • Comment number 96.

    Even Alan Hansen said last night that the refereeing decisions were correct. Blaming the referee for Suarez's inability to score shows seeking escape goats.

    Skrtel didn't know if he was coming or going when he brought Long down, while Agger pushed him for his red card - being the last defender, he left no option to the referee.

    Nice attempts though. Entertaining.

  • Comment number 97.

    Boot Room - Is now a corporate cloak room.
    The Walls of Melwood are painted a pale Grey.
    The once large red doors have been painted black.
    The decay at a once great club didn't start today nor under King Kenny - it started years ago - But when and where will it end??

  • Comment number 98.

    "damien mellor" and pray tell us what your TEAM won last season
    ps how is the london/surrey transport system these days. i love it when you people post comments like this, it just goes to show that united fans are still obsessed with us

  • Comment number 99.

    Rodger's didnt bring the passing game to Swansea, he gets far too much credit in that regard.

    Sure he did a good job last year, I don't thing anyone can doubt that, but the passing game he seems to be credited with is something he inherited.

    I wonder how long it will be until the Liverpool fans turn on him, especially given their tough start to the season.

  • Comment number 100.

    what were l,pool thinking about when they appointed rodgers ? where's the ambition gone ? guardiola was available ! do you not want to win titles anymore ? you are not going anywhere with rodgers ! what did he ever do ? shame really because we cant say city are rivals because they bought the league just like chelsea and blackburn (THAT DOESNT COUNT) !!!!!!!!!!!


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