FA Premiership: West Brom 0 – Liverpool 2.
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez says Liverpool are still in with a shout for second place. Manchester United are ahead by five points and have a game in hand, but Rafa says the Reds have got to go out looking to win each match: “You cannot think it will be impossible and you just have to think about winning the next game. We know it will be really difficult as Man United keep winning but our idea it to carry on winning as well so we are sure to finish third and maybe second.” Liverpool won the game over West Brom thanks to two first-half goals and he was delighted with the performance of his players: “In the first half we played really well and controlled the game all of the time. In the second half we were a bit under pressure but we have done a good job and it’s a good result for us. It worked well for us using the pace of Cisse on the right wing and with Xabi Alonso’s passing ability it was perfect.”
Djibril Cisse’s goal was preceded by a milestone goal from Robbie Fowler. He scored his 173rd goal for the reds and overtook legend Kenny Dalglish in the all-time scoring charts. Rafa was quick to congratulate the player, but says there’s no decision yet on whether Robbie will get a longer contract: “I would like to congratulate Robbie. I hope to see even more goals from him this season and maybe in the future. We haven’t made a decision on his future yet. There is no hurry. We will make it in the next few weeks. It won’t be about if he scores one or two more goals this year, it will be about what we feel he can give to the team in the future.”
Robbie himself was of course delighted to get this significant goal, but doesn’t consider himself to be in the same bracket as the legend he’s overtaken: “It’s fantastic for me but Kenny Dalglish is a proper Liverpool legend. To get anywhere near him is an achievement, so to go one past him makes me very happy.”
Fowler shared his manager’s views on the prospects of finishing second: “We just have to worry about ourselves and try to win as many games as we can, but we know it is going to be difficult. If we win our games and the teams above us slip up, then we have to take advantage. This was an important win for us. We had a good result against Everton last week and we knew we had to do the job here. We made a good start, scored the early goal and deserved the three points at the end of the game.”
West Brom are now fourth from bottom but would move into the drop zone if either of the two teams directly below them – Portsmouth and Birmingham – won their games in hand. For assistant manager Nigel Pearson the performance in the first forty-five minutes fell far short of expectations: “The way that we performed in the first half was very disappointing. We knew what we had to do before the game after the other results but we just didn’t turn up. That’s unacceptable and the players know that. We find ourselves in a difficult position but we are still confident we have got enough here and the spirit in the camp to get out of it.”
West Brom: Kuszczak, Albrechtsen, Watson (Clement 62), Curtis Davies, Robinson, Kamara (Gera 45), Johnson, Wallwork, Greening, Kanu (Campbell 62), Ellington.
Unused subs: Hoult, Kozak.
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Riise, Alonso, Sissoko, Kewell, Cisse (Kromkamp 78), Crouch (Morientes 71), Fowler (Luis Garcia 65).
Unused subs: Dudek, Warnock.
Goals: Fowler 7, Cisse 38.
Referee: U Rennie (S Yorkshire)