West Bromwich Albion got two goals in the final 10 minutes to beat Liverpool 2-0 and move above its opponent with its first Premier League win of 2013.
Gareth McAuley’s header put West Brom ahead at Anfield in the 81st minute last night before Romelu Lukaku added the second on a counterattack in the first minute of stoppage time. Both goals came after Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard missed a penalty kick, one of 25 shots for the home team.
West Brom’s first league victory since Dec. 26 lifted the Baggies up one place in the standings to eighth with 37 points, one more than Liverpool, which is yet to beat any of the teams currently ranked in the top 10 this campaign.
“I hope this is a turning point in our season,” West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster told Sky Sports. “We are in touching distance of the 40-point mark where you can feel safe from relegation. If you had said at this stage of the season we would be above Liverpool, we would have taken that.”
Based on three points for a victory, only three times in English soccer’s top flight has a team with at least 37 points from 26 games been relegated, according to Opta Sports.
After beating Liverpool on the opening day, West Brom completed its first sweep of home-and-away wins against the Reds since the 1966-67 season. Liverpool had won its previous three league games at Anfield without allowing a goal.
With the home team dominating possession in the second half, Foster stopped efforts from Jordan Henderson, Daniel Agger and Fabio Borini before being forced into a one-handed reflex save by Gerrard in the 72nd minute. Five minutes later, Foster dived low to his left to stop Gerrard’s penalty kick after Jonas Olsson was adjudged to have fouled Luis Suarez.
Youssouf Mulumbu forced Liverpool’s Pepe Reina into a diving fingertip save in the 80th minute with his team’s first shot on target. From the resulting corner kick, McAuley powered his header past Reina and substitute striker Lukaku sealed the victory with his 10th Premier League goal of the season.
“It was a good away performance from West Brom,” said Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. “If you come, defend and keep the score at 0-0, you’re always in with that chance. Ben Foster made some brilliant saves that kept them in the game.”
Liverpool visits Zenit St. Petersburg in two days in their Europe League round of 32 opener before hosting Rodgers’s former club Swansea in the Premier League on Feb. 17.
The next full round of league games starts Feb. 23, when West Brom hosts Sunderland. Manchester United opened a 12-point lead over Manchester City atop the standings two days ago by beating Everton 2-0.
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