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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
19:26 29th October 2011

ALBION'S four-game unbeaten run came to an end as first-half goals from Charlie Adam and Andy Carroll earned high-flying Liverpool a deserved victory.

However, the game's pattern may have been very different had the Reds not been awarded a highly-debateable penalty, which Adam converted in the ninth minute.

The Reds took full advantage of their moment of fortune and dominated for large periods.

And Carroll put Kenny Dalglish's men firmly in control with Liverpool's second goal in first-half stoppage time.

The Baggies battled manfully throughout but struggled to get any change out of a well-drilled Reds rearguard.

Somen Tchoyi was restored to the starting XI as Roy Hodgson made one enforced change due to the knee injury Shane Long suffered in the 2-1 win at Villa. Graham Dorrans, who missed the Villa Park trip with a knee problem, returned on the bench.

Dalglish made four changes, with injured duo Jamie Carragher (calf) and Steven Gerrard (ankle infection), plus benched pair Dirk Kuyt and Craig Bellamy, making way for Daniel Agger, Lucas Leiva, Carroll and Jordan Henderson, while Luis Suarez (ankle) won his fitness race.

During the pre-match warm-up, both teams showed their support for 'Kick Racism Out Of Football's' annual weeks of action by wearing promotional t-shirts.

Albion were also backing this year's Poppy Appeal at today's game, with the shirts worn by the Baggies' 18-man squad featuring poppies. A minute's silence was impeccably observed just before kick-off in memory of those who have lost their lives while serving their country in the Armed Forces.

Liverpool started the game brightly but Adam was well off target with an early 20-yard effort.

However, former Blackpool star Adam made a telling contribution in the ninth minute - after a hugely controversial incident.

Jerome Thomas was harshly adjudged to have fouled Suarez as they tangled in the Baggies box and referee Lee Mason pointed to the spot. The home fans certainly made the officials aware of their feelings about the decision but Adam made no mistake, sending Ben Foster the wrong way from 12 yards.

It was a big, early setback for the Baggies but they gradually regrouped and Thomas had the Merseysiders back-pedalling with a forceful run on 15, but his end product was poor, shooting well wide from 20 yards.

Albion launched another assault six minutes later and after a neat build-up, Peter Odemwingie directed an awkward header straight at Pepe Reina from Billy Jones' centre.

However, if one penalty decision had gone against Albion, another probably went for them in the 23rd minute when Carroll's header clearly struck Steven Reid's arm from Suarez's centre - but Mason waved away the England striker's spot-kick appeals.

Liverpool looked dangerous every time they entered the hosts' half and Jonas Olsson had to make a vital near-post block to prevent Suarez getting on the end of Glen Jonson's low centre.

Moments later, the Reds won a free-kick on the edge of the Baggies box but Suarez's right-footed curler failed to trouble Foster's goal.

Albion had a huge let off on 36 when Martin Skrtel directed Steward Downing's deep corner back into the danger-zone and Suarez, with the goal at his mercy, blazed over from eight yards.

But the Baggies came to life as the half drew to a close. After a spell of pressure, Paul Scharner saw a ferocious 25-yard effort blocked in the box by Skrtel.

Back came Liverpool and that man Olsson came to Albion's aid again on 42 when he nipped in ahead of Carroll to clear Downing's low centre on the edge of the six-yard box.

The action was now coming thick and fast and Reina had to dive at full stretch to prevent Thomas' centre finding Chris Brunt at the back post.

But Albion found themselves two down at the break. Olsson gifted the ball to Lucas Leiva who combined with Suarez to put Carroll clear. The ex-Newcastle forward advanced to the edge of the box before poking the ball past Foster and just inside the right-hand post.

Liverpool were the first to threaten after the break and Thomas did well to take the sting out of Jordan Henderson's shot from Carroll's head down.

Moments later, Albion surged upfield and Tchoyi went mightily close when he spun Daniel Agger on the edge of the Liverpool box and shot inches wide of the far post.

Liverpool were soon back on the attack and the hosts were relieved to see Carroll completely miss his kick inside their box after Adam's deflected shot had fallen neatly for him.

Olsson, his mistake for the second goal aside, was playing like a warrior and another timely block to cut out Suarez's shot from Carroll's lay-off prevented Liverpool extending their lead.

Albion were forced to make a change on 58 when the injured Scharner was replaced by James Morrison.

The Baggies just could not get any momentum going and, on 65, Foster did well to push away Jose Enrique's angled 15-yard drive.

Adam swung the ensuing corner to the unmarked Downing on the edge of the box and his left-footed effort flew just wide of the far post.

Foster had to make an even better save on 70 to push away Carroll's 18-yard snapshot after the Geordie striker had beaten Morrison to a loose ball.

With Albion pushing forward for a lifeline, they were going to be susceptible to the counter-attack but Carroll wasted a decent chance on 75, volleying well wide from 18 yards.

With seven minutes to go, Albion won a corner and from Brunt's delivery, Olsson towered highest to flash a header wide.

The Baggies built up a mini-spell of pressure during the dying stages, with sub Dorrans bursting into the box and seeing his dangerous low cross turned wide by Agger.

Reina then reacted in the nick of time to punch a Gareth McAuley header clear before Odemwingie could get a toe to the ball.

But it was Liverpool who came closest to troubling the scoresheet again, with Downing seeing a 15-yard drive clip the right-hand post and bounce to safety in the final minute.

ALBION (4-4-2): Foster; Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Jones; Brunt, Mulumbu (Dorrans 62), Scharner (Morrison 58), Thomas; Tchoyi (Cox 71), Odemwingie. Subs not used: Fulop (gk), Dawson, Shorey, Gera.

LIVERPOOL (4-4-2): Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique; Henderson, Adam, Leiva, Downing; Suarez (Bellamy 81), Carroll. Subs not used: Doni (gk), Rodriguez, Coates, Kuyt, Spearing. Flanagan.

GOALS: LIVERPOOL - Adam (pen 9), Carroll (45+1).

BOOKINGS: ALBION: Olsson - (foul 35).

REFEREE: L Mason (Bolton).

ATTENDANCE: 25,522.

ALBION STARMAN: Jonas Olsson.
    Data provided by Press Association

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