False Start At The Hawthorns
Feature by Adam Bryant
Updated Sunday, 19th August 2012
The start of the new season has always been an exciting time in my life.
When I was a young boy I'd make sure I bought the copy of Shoot that included the Season Preview Pull-Out. One year they even produced a cardboard table with club names listed on cutout tabs that allowed the most ardent football fan to create their own league table and rearrange them as the season progressed. It was hard work, but enjoyable.
These days the opening day of the league season isn't such a big event. There's usually already been a couple of weeks of European qualifier games, lower leagues have already started and Sky ensure that games are staggered across the weekend for television viewing.
But the first day of the season is still a nervous time. No number of pre-season friendlies can prepare you fully for what you are about to go through during that first match. New manager, new signings, new kit and new tactics make for an exciting but unpredictable 90 minutes.
West Brom were the oppositiothat his time, with former Liverpool assistant boss Steve Clarke in charge. He had a point to prove and he proved it well.
A quality strike from Zoltan Gera gave the Baggies a half-time lead in what was until that point a fairly evenly balanced game, but it wasn't until the hour mark that Liverpool crumbled. Daniel Agger was sent off harshly for pulling down Shane Long in the penalty box. Pepe Reina saved the penalty but a couple of minutes later Martin Skrtel was adjudged to have tripped Long and this time West Brom scored from the resulting penalty.
West Brom made the extra man count and could have quite easily scored a handful more, while at the other end Luis Suarez was squandering chances. The game ended 3-0 and a defeat for Brendan Rodgers in his first Premier League match in charge of Liverpool.
Liverpool were unlucky at The Hawthorns. Luck swings both ways in football and no doubt Rodgers will get his share of luck on another occasion, but the result was a tough one and disappointing to lose to lower quality opposition. That has been one of our biggest weaknesses in recent years and hopefully it won't become the thorn in our side once again as the season progresses. I'm hoping this proves to be a wake-up call as we prepare for upcoming tough games against Arsenal and Manchester United. Otherwise we will find ourselves once again languishing at the bottom of the table and enduring endless media references to our worst start to a league season since the last time we had a bad start to a league season.