Liverpool's bubble burst by Baggies
Premier League review: Brendan Rodgers’s tenure as Liverpool manager got off inauspicious start today with a 3-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns, as his former club Swansea hammered QPR 5-0 at Loftus Road.
The Northern Irishman’s Anfield revolution will have to wait after Zoltan Gera, Peter Odemwingie and Romelu Lukaku dampened expectations among the red half of Merseyside and delivered the perfect start for former Liverpool coach Steve Clarke as he began life as ‘number one’ with the Baggies.
Gera’s strike shortly before the break arguably came against the run of play, after a reasonably bright first half from the visitors, but after Daniel Agger was dismissed for a foul on Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long, Liverpool were run ragged by their hosts.
Pepe Reina saved Long’s penalty but the Tipperary man promptly won another from Martin Skrtl and Odemwingie put it away before Lukaku, on loan from Chelsea, added a debut goal amongst a slew of chances that fell the way of Clarke’s side.
"I thought the scoreline was harsh, I've got to be honest," said Rodgers. "After the first couple of minutes of the game, we got good control and rhythm in our game. Up until they scored the first goal, it looked as though we were the team who were going to get it.
"I've no complaints about the first goal - it was a fantastic strike (by Gera). We defended the (initial) corner quite well with good height and distance on our clearance. Glen Johnson probably couldn't have done any more as he went to press the ball, but it was wonderful technique.
"We were virtually controlling most of the game in the first half, but then we found ourselves 1-0 down.
"I'm not one to go on about referees, but in the second half I thought the two (penalty) decisions - three if you include the sending off - were very, very harsh. I don't think either of the decisions were penalties. If you see them again on the replay, you'll see that they were very, very harsh.
"Obviously then with 10 men and chasing the game, it becomes difficult."
Hatem Ben Arfa stroked home a late winner from the penalty spot as Alan Pardew’s Newcastlerode their luck to get their campaign off to a flying start with victory over Tottenham.
The Frenchman sent Brad Friedel the wrong way in the 80th minute having been hauled down by Rafael van der Vaart, restoring the Magpies’ slender advantage after Spurs had pulled back to level four minutes earlier.
A low-key encounter had sprung into life in the 55th minute when Demba Ba fired his first goal since February to put the home side ahead before Jermain Defoe prodded a 76th minute equaliser at the second attempt.
Swanseamidfielder Michu scored a goal in each half on his league debut as the Swans thumped QPR5-0.
The Spaniard scored this season’s first goal in the Premier League when his shot crept past goalkeeper Robert Green in the eighth minute before he doubled his tally after the break thanks to Wayne Routledge’s inch-perfect ball from the left which he fired into the net.
Nathan Dyer fired the third, again from a Routledge assist, before he beat the offside trap to score Swansea’s fourth, with Scott Sinclair’s strike rounding off new manager Michael Laudrup’s perfect start to the season.
Fulhamhammered Norwich5-0 at Craven Cottage thanks to a dominant performance and a brace by Mladen Petric.
Republic of Ireland international Damien Duff opened the scoring when he latched on to the end of John Arne Riise’s diagonal long ball from the left in the 25th minute before Petric headed the home side’s second with five minutes remaining in the first half.
The striker then added his second before Alex Kacaniklic’s goal and Steve Sidwell’s 87th-minute penalty wrapped up the win.
Stokedrew with Premier League new boys Reading1-1 at the Madejski Stadium after they gave away a penalty and were reduced to 10 men in the dying minutes.
Michael Kightly fired Tony Pulis’ side into the lead from close range, with the ball slipping through goalkeeper Adam Federici’s fingertips, but the Royals salvaged a point when Adam Le Fondre equalised from the spot as Dean Whitehead was sent off for his second bookable offence.
Elsewhere, Kevin Nolan’s strike gave West Hama 1-0 win over Aston Villain their opening game at Upton Park.
Nolan scored from close range in the 40th minute from Ricardo Vaz Te’s assist to edge the Premier League new boys ahead before they had a penalty shout turned down after the break.
Arsenaldominated Sunderlandat the Emirates Stadium but were unable to find the breakthrough as they drew 0-0.