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    WEST BROM 0 - 2 LIVERPOOL

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    ebby
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    WEST BROM 0 - 2 LIVERPOOL

    Post by ebby on Mon May 18, 2009 12:12 am

    WEST BROM 0 - 2 LIVERPOOL
    Sunday 17 May 2009 13:30 , Barclays Premier League
    REDS RELEGATE BAGGIES WITH 2-0 WIN

    Goals from Steven Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt ensured Liverpool will end 2008-09 with their highest ever Premier League points tally.

    The 2-0 victory means the Reds have now tallied 83 this term, one more than in 2005-06.

    Goals either side of the break also ended any lingering hopes of survival for a plucky West Brom side.

    While there is no consolation for missing out on the title following United's draw against Arsenal, Rafa Benitez will take heart from the fact his team took the race to the penultimate weekend, a feat not achieved by any of his three predecessors.

    It was a West Brom side fighting for their Premier League lives who created all the early chances here, notably when Jonathan Greening forced a superb low save from Pepe Reina after a far-post corner.

    The Baggies skipper continued to lead by example, nutmegging Javier Mascherano before firing a wicked ball across the area which Reina somehow managed to divert.

    It was already turning out to be one of the busiest of Reina's 50 appearances this term as his teammates struggled to find their rhythm against a team desperate not to be playing Championship football in 2009-10.

    Next, Kuyt had to display all of his defensive qualities to head clear a Chris Brunt cross as Juan Carlos Menseguez lurked.

    Liverpool had yet to muster a serious opportunity when they opened the scoring on 28 minutes. It came when Gerrard pounced on sloppy possession from Shelton Martis, strode into the box and sliced beyond Dean Kiely.

    A distraught Martis was consoled by his teammates as the newly-crowed Footballer of the Year pondered his 24th strike of a memorable campaign, one more than his previous best tally.

    Tony Mowbray's men almost conjured an instant reply when Carragher slipped to let Marc-Antoine Fortune through on goal before Daniel Agger intervened with a fine interception.

    But it was Liverpool for whom half-time came too soon as they began to demonstrate some of their relentless end-of-season form.

    First, Kiely added to a weekend of fine saves, tipping a flicked header from Torres onto the roof of the net. The goalkeeper's good work was almost immediately undone when he spilled a 25-yard drive from Agger, with Yossi Benayoun's bid to capitalise thwarted by an offside flag.

    The half ended in controversy as Gerrard squared up to Jonas Olsson after being denied a penalty following a barge to the ground.

    West Brom regained some impetus as the sides came out for the second half, with Menseguez testing Reina with a low drive after a mistake from Lucas.

    Even worse for the visitors was the sight of Mascherano limping to the touchline on 51 minutes with a knock sustained late in the first period.

    His replacement, Xabi Alonso, nearly had an instant impact with a lovely ball to Torres, who found a yard before blasting wide with his right foot.

    The Spain international was again sent clear by Gerrard minutes later but the angle made Kiely's low save routine.

    With time running out on his club's top flight tenure, Mowbray sacrificed centre-back Martis for midfielder Borja Valero.

    The Baggies' record signing wasted no time making his presence felt with a slick pass which defied Liverpool's offside trap. Menseguez was through on Reina but instead squared to Fortune, who was beaten to it by a clumsy if effective challenge by Lucas. A collective scream echoed round The Hawthorns but referee Martin Atkinson waved away their penalty protests.

    Moments later indignation turned to heartache as Liverpool scored the goal which effectively sealed their fate. It came on 63 minutes as Kuyt and Gerrard combined before the Dutchman lashed an unstoppable effort beyond the reach of Kiely from the edge of the box.

    Kuyt, too, had now trumped his best ever goals tally in England with an impressive haul of 15 from the right wing.

    Lucas should have got his name on the scoresheet after doing all the hard work to turn Olsson before poking wide from eight yards.

    West Brom refused to go down without a fight, with Fortune denied first by a last-gasp challenge from Jamie Carragher, then by the crossbar. Substitute Luke Moore also struck the post with a neat turn and shot from the edge of the box.

    Their side was trying everything, though it was becoming harder for the capacity crowd to believe with every passing minute.

    Any faint hopes of a miracle comeback were almost put to bed with five minutes remaining when a superb dummy from Alonso left substitute Ryan Babel with just Kiely to beat. The Dutchman somehow contrived to curl wide.

    The miss proved academic as Liverpool held on to record their 13th away win of the season, equalling a club record set 104 years ago.

    Teams
    Liverpool: Reina, Insua, Carragher, Agger, Arbeloa, Benayoun, Mascherano, Leiva, Kuyt, Gerrard (captain), Torres. Subs - Alonso, Riera, Ngog, Dossena, Cavalieri, Skrtel, Babel

    West Brom: Kiely, Donk, Martis, Olsson, Zuiverloon, Koren, Greening (captain), Mulumbu, Brunt, Menseguez, Fortune. Subs - Carson, Moore, Borja Valero, Simpson, Wood, Meite, Filipe Teixeira

    Referee: Martin Atkinson

    Conditions: Windy

    Attendance: Unknown

    Liverpoolfc.tv Man-of-the-Match: Dirk Kuyt


    Breakdown
    12:32 GMT : Match Starts
    1 min : Gerrard and Torres get the game underway at The Hawthorns
    2 mins : Insua floats a ball forward towards Torres but the striker is pulled up for a foul
    3 mins : Good defending by Carragher who clears the danger after a good right wing cross
    4 mins : An error from Insua gifts the first corner of the game to the home side
    5 mins : Brilliant stop by Reina to deny Greening who hits a low shot goalwards from close range
    7 mins : The Baggies win another corner as they enjoy the better of the early stages
    11 mins : Gerrard whips in a free kick which is well defended
    13 mins : Gerrard goes down under a challenge - and has stayed down
    14 mins : But he's back up and looks fit to carry on
    18 mins : Free kick in a good area for West Brom which comes to nothing as Carragher heads clear
    22 mins : Kuyt is pulled back by Greening - free kick to us on the right hand side
    23 mins : Insua fires the ball goalwards from the edge of the area but his shot is blocked
    25 mins : First Booking: Jonathan Greening:
    27 mins : Good defending by Kuyt to clear the ball under pressure inside his own six yard area
    28 mins : GOAL! Steven Gerrard: Gerrard latches onto a mistake by Martis to stride forward and open the scoring
    35 mins : The goal has taken the sting out of West Brom's play now. Dreadful mistake by Martis to gift us the opener
    36 mins : Mascherano is on the receiving end of a late challenge and needs treatment
    40 mins : Kuyt's cross towards Lucas is driven out for a corner
    41 mins : Good save by Kiely as Liverpool threaten to add a second
    44 mins : First Booking: James Olsson:
    45 mins : Agger's free kick is well saved and then the offside flag goes up against Benayoun
    45 mins : Gerrard goes down under a challenge from Olsson but the ref says no penalty
    13:20 GMT : Half Time Reached
    13:36 GMT : Second Half Begins
    46 mins : West Brom get the second period underway needing to score to save their Premier League lives
    48 mins : Brunt crosses from the right but there's no-one in the area to take advantage
    48 mins : Substitution: Xabi Alonso for Javier Mascherano:
    49 mins : Reina makes a smart stop at his near post to keep out a well struck shot
    50 mins : Liverpool break at speed and Torres curls an effort just over the goal
    53 mins : Gerrard slips the ball through to Torres who brings a decent stop out of Kiely
    55 mins : Substitution: Iglesias Borja Valero for Shelton Martis:
    57 mins : West Brom miss a sitter as Lucas gets in a timely challenge to deny a certain goal
    62 mins : GOAL! Dirk Kuyt: Kuyt smashes the ball hard and low into the bottom corner to double the lead
    64 mins : Lucas almost adds a third but Kiely makes a great save with his fingertips
    68 mins : Substitution: Luke Moore for Youssouf Mulumbu:
    68 mins : Substitution: Ryan Babel for Fernando Torres:
    73 mins : Substitution: David Ngog for Yossi Benayoun:
    74 mins : Brilliant defending from Carragher to divert a shot from Fortune over the goal for a corner
    75 mins : Awful miss from Fortune who heads over when totally unmarked in front of goal
    79 mins : Fortune smashes the ball home but is flagged offside
    79 mins : First Booking: Marc-Antoine Fortune:
    83 mins : Gerrard has a shot from distance which is blocked on the edge of the box
    85 mins : Babel misses a golden chance to add a third with a shot wide when one on one with the goalkeeper
    88 mins : The home sides are rallying and have won a couple of corners in quick succession
    14:25 GMT : Match Over

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