Football: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers claimed that “harsh” refereeing decisions cost his team as they crashed to defeat against West Brom.
Former contemporaries Steve Clarke and Rodgers were reunited for the first time since their Chelsea days as both men took charge of their first league games at their new clubs.
And it was ex-Liverpool first-team coach Clarke whose side took all three points as his Baggies side comfortably beat his old club in an entertaining opening-day encounter.
Zoltan Gera’s early entry for goal of the season two minutes before the break gave Clarke’s side the lead, and the home side should have doubled their advantage on the hour mark when Shane Long was brought down in the area by Liverpool’s Daniel Agger, who as last man received his marching orders from referee Phil Dowd.
Long’s tame effort was saved by Pepe Reina, but the home side soon had a two-goal cushion after Martin Skrtel clipped Long in the area.
Peter Odemwingie dispatched the spot kick and Romelu Lukaku, on loan from Chelsea, sealed the win with a close-range header.
“I thought the two penalty decisions were very harsh,” Rodgers said.
“I don’t think either was a penalty and Martin Skrtel doesn’t even connect for the second one.”
Clarke, who was number two to Kenny Dalglish at Anfield last season, denied the encounter represented a grudge match for him. “It doesn’t give me any extra satisfaction winning this game,” he said.
“If I was sitting here and we had played someone else and won, I would be just as happy. I’ve got no axe to grind with Liverpool.”