Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: Liverpool 4 West Brom 1

Sir Alex Ferguson is a manager whose fierce words can stir a team even in retirement.Perhaps only standings at the season’s end will mark whether old scores have truly been settled. Yet Liverpool took this opportunity to stress a few points.

Steven Gerrard, not top, top class. Jordan Henderson has an odd posture. Liverpool eight players away from challenging for the Premier League title. All were the opinion of Ferguson.

What followed was Liverpool’s most convincing victory of the season. If Arsenal are beaten in their next match, Liverpool will be top of the league.

When Luis Suárez plays like this, Liverpool look like a team capable of winning trophies. Suárez performed with unquestionable excellence, his first Anfield hat-trick executed magnificently – a first for Liverpool against West Brom since Roger Hunt contributed to the same scoreline in 1968. There are not enough superlatives to describe this player.

When he was substituted with a few minutes left, a roar seemed to come from the guts of this famous stadium. Suárez could not stop smiling. He saluted the Kop. He saluted the Centenary Stand. He saluted the Main Stand and, finally the Anfield Road. Each spectator stood. This is a player who, just a few months ago, wanted to leave the club.

Brendan Rodgers beamed afterwards. He commended Suàrez, whose opening goal was so brilliant it prompted John Henry, Liverpool’s owner, to take to Twitter. “Luis,” he wrote, “Magician”. Rodgers concurred. “There is only one word,” he said. “Luis is magical.”

Rodgers was keen, though, to speak about the contributions of others, especially Gerrard and Henderson. While the Suàrez’s presence was most important in terms of scoreline and Henderson ran, ran and ran – his motion not appearing to be inhibiting him just yet, Gerrard, positioned in an advanced midfield position, was a significant, yet subtle presence.

This is how the greatest react when time comes to defend their status. Ferguson is right. History will not recall Gerrard as a top, top player. He is above that. As Rodgers half-joked joked: “He is a top, top, top, top top player.” Gerrard’s influence has no ceiling.

This was always likely to happen. Throughout his Liverpool career, whenever there have been doubters – about the team or himself – Gerrard has reliably done something that makes the general observer gasp with awe and the supporter release Bovril into the air. His contributions are tangible; the reaction of the crowd, audible. They are louder than any of Ferguson’s words. On this occasion, he supplied Suárez’s hat-trick goal with a gorgeous free-kick, which meant the striker only needed to touch it.

“Collectively, it was our best 90 minutes of the season,” Rodgers insisted. “I thought we looked a very good team today.”

West Bromwich Albion were a convenient opponent to set a few things straight. They had beaten Liverpool in their previous three league matches. Steve Clarke’s side defeated Manchester United at Old Trafford last month.

Liverpool’s problems against West Brom in recent years have been attritional. They have not been able to break a defence containing Gareth McAuley and Jonas Olsson – a duo as thoughtful and yielding as a pair of medieval jailors. They tackle, they head, they kick – and not much else. But they rarely surrender an opportunity to escape. Previously, Suárez had been imprisoned – no goals in five appearances against the West Midlanders. Not on this occasion.

He was unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty after a drag inside the box by McAuley by the time he had scored Liverpool’s opener. Receiving possession 30 yards away from goal and surrounded by three opponents, it seemed implausible that, moments later, Liverpool would have the lead. After a nutmeg on Olsson and a right-footed drive into the bottom corner, that was exactly what they had.

It would have been interesting to hear what Henry made of Suárez’s second goal, scored shortly after. Again, the odds were against the striker as he met Aly Cissokho’s deflected cross on the edge of the 18-yard box.

Again, the levels of improbability did not matter. His header was more of a head-butt, arrowing the ball past Boaz Myhill. Suárez sealed his hat-trick. He and Daniel Sturridge also hit the bar. But the visitors were given hope when Billy Jones fell inside the box under what appeared to be a fair challenge from Lucas and James Morrison cracked home the penalty.

For the style of all Suárez’s goals, he could not match Sturridge’s fourth. Twenty-five yards out, he spotted Boaz Myhill a touch off his line. There was no fortunate divot on the pitch; he meant the chip that followed. It was his 14th goal in 14 games.

Source: Telegraph

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