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    Liverpool 2-1 West Brom Match Report

    Liverpool returned to winning ways in the Premier League as first-half goals from Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho saw off the challenge of a spirited West Bromwich Albion side.

    Monday night's subdued performance against Manchester United seemed a distant memory in the opening 45 minutes as The Reds returned to the devastating form that had seen them score 26 goals in the opening nine games of the season.

    The result should have been more emphatic for Jurgen Klopp's team but they were made to sweat out the final 10 minutes after the visitors came close to staging the most unlikely of comebacks.

    West Brom were never in the game for the most of the contest and although Gareth McAuley's consolation prevented the home side from topping the Premier League table, it was not enough to deny The Reds a deserved victory.

    Klopp was given a boost ahead of the match with the return to the starting line-up of Adam Lallana, who was only fit enough to play the final 30 against Manchester United five days earlier after two weeks out with a groin injury.

    Daniel Sturridge was dropped to the bench, while the visitors were without the services of Johnny Evans, who picked up his fifth booking of the season in the draw against Tottenham and was replaced in central defence by Jonas Olsson.

    The Reds dominated the first-half, with most of their good work coming on the right-hand side through Nathaniel Clyne's excellent runs and the likes of Lallana and Mane finding pockets of space to open up the West Brom defence.

    It took Klopp's side only 20 minutes for their dominance to be reflected on the scoreline as Sadio Mane scored his fourth goal of the season to give his team a deserved lead.

    Roberto Firmino was the orchestrator of the goal, picking out the Senegalese international with a pinpoint left-footed cross before the ball was drilled clinically past Ben Foster from seven yards.

    Liverpool could have doubled their lead minutes later when Clyne's dangerous delivery across the six-yard box evaded everybody, including Emre Can who was inches away from turning the ball past Foster.

    The home side did take a 2-0 lead late in the first-half when Mane played a pass into the path of Coutinho, who came inside Craig Dawson as he feigned to shoot before beating Foster at the near-post with a emphatic low finish.

    Liverpool had several clear-cut opportunities to put the match firmly beyond the reach of the visitors after the break but they were unable to beat an inspired Foster in the West Brom goal.

    The former England stopper made two stunning saves in the space of a minute, firstly when he denied Mane in a one-on-one situation with his legs and later when he clawed away Dejan Lovren's header at full-stretch.

    West Brom produced a resolute and committed defensive performance in the second-half and this was in evidence when Olsson flung himself to get in the way of an Emre Can effort that was heading into the bottom right-hand corner.

    Dawson produced similar heroics minutes later when he blocked the first of two Milner strikes, while the former Manchester City player's second effort was saved comfortably by a grateful Foster.

    The Baggies failed to muster an effort on goal until a Nacer Chadli strike cleared the crossbar in the 70th minute but their defensive stubbornness was rewarded with 10 minutes remaining as they forced their way back in the match.

    Liverpool had already been given a warning sign when substitute Chris Brunt's inswinging free-kick was met by McAuley at the back post but his header was pushed henind for a corner by Loris Karius.

    It gave Brunt the chance to produce another dangerous set-piece, which the home side failed to clear and an unmarked McAuley was on hand to volley the ball past Karius from inside the six-yard box.

    The Reds should have sealed the win minutes later when Ben Foster produced another outstanding save at full-stretch to deny Firmino after Georginio Wijnaldum's deft pass had set-up the opportunity.

    West Brom never did enough throughout the match to deserve a draw and the only chance they had of securing one came when substitute Hal Robson-Kanu's late effort was blocked by Lovren.

    The win almost took Liverpool to the top of the table for 24 hours, but McAuley's late strike meant that Arsenal remained at the summit courtesy of having a slightly better goal difference.

    Klopp will not be worried by that missed opportunity but instead delighted with his side's fluent attacking performance, full of pace and excellent movement in the final third of the pitch that had largely been lacking five days earlier against Manchester United.

    The Reds return to action in the Premier League on Saturday evening when they travel to mid-table Crystal Palace, where they won 2-1 last season courtesy of Christian Benteke's 96th minute penalty.

    While West Brom's winless run stretches to four matches, they can be heartened by the spirit they showed in the second-half when they gave the home side some nervy moments in the final 10 minutes.

    The fixtures do not get any easier for Tony Pulis' 13th-place side, who play Manchester City at The Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon before facing another difficult trip to champions Leicester City the following weekend.
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    Item Reviewed: Liverpool 2-1 West Brom Match Report Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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