Premier League - Gerrard misses penalty as West Brom stun Liverpool

Premier League, Anfield - Liverpool 0 West Bromwich Albion 2 (McAuley 81, Lukaku 90)

Steven Gerrard paid a heavy price for missing a penalty as Gareth McAuley and Romelu Lukaku earned West Brom a classic 2-0 smash-and-grab win over Liverpool at Anfield.

Liverpool seemed set to cash in from their sustained spell of pressure in the second period when Jonas Olsson was perhaps harshly penalised for a late push on the back of Luis Suarez that prompted referee Jonathan Moss to point to the spot on 77 minutes.

Gerrard struck the kick low to the goalkeeper's left, but the magnificent Ben Foster dived to make a fine save. Astonishingly, it was Liverpool's 19th attempt on goal of the night.

Foster's stop seemed to give Steve Clarke's side the necessary impetus to end their six-game winless run in the Premier League as McAuley lost Daniel Agger from a Chris Brunt corner-kick to head into the net via the bar.

Substitute Lukaku buried Liverpool on 90 minutes when he bounded onto James Morrison's pass to slip the shot into the net and complete West Brom's double over Liverpool this season.

It is the first time West Brom have won back-to-back league matches against Liverpool at Anfield since 1936-37, 1937-38.

They are back above Liverpool in eighth place in the Premier League table on 37 points from 26 games with Brendan Rodgers's side a point behind in ninth spot with the magical 40-point mark that signifies safety from relegation the visiting side's immediate aim.

Philippe Coutinho made his debut from the bench late on for Liverpool with Jonjo Shelvey starting in place of the injured Daniel Sturridge. Winger Raheem Sterling was also thrown on from the bench in the second half as Liverpool grew increasingly desperate.

Former Liverpool assistant manager Steve Clarke made two changes to the side that lost 1-0 to Tottenham eight days ago.

DR Congo midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu was preferred to Lukaku while Liam Ridgewell replaced the suspended Goran Popov at left-back. Peter Odemwingie remains frozen out of Clarke's squad. He was left out against Spurs after the collapse of his transfer deadline day move to QPR.

The first period produced some poor fare with Liverpool struggling to replicate the levels of intensity that saw them hold Manchester City to a 2-2 draw eight days ago.

Foster made his first save of the night when he clawed the ball over from an Agger header after a fine corner-kick by Stewart Downing, who would force the goalkeeper to save his own shot moments later.

Steven Reid almost turned the ball into his own net from Shelvey's cross on 39 minutes as West Brom continued to deploy plenty of bodies behind the ball.

West Brom would not muster a shot at the Liverpool goal until the 80th minute as Foster continued to defy the home side.

The former Manchester United keeper produced a brave block to halt a Gerrard effort on 49 minutes before repelling a clever Jordan Henderson flick two minutes later.

Liverpool's support was growing increasingly agitated with substitute Fabio Borini rattling a shot at goal that saw Foster dive to hold the ball with some expertise.

McAuley somehow raced back to block a Gerrard shot on 69 minutes, but it was becoming apparent that this would not be Liverpool's night when Foster halted a vicious Gerrard effort with his right arm after he began moving to his left.

Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina made his only save of the night when he dived to tip Mulumbu's thumping long ranger wide before West Brom struck from the corner.

With Liverpool pushing for equaliser, Lukaku ghosted past Agger to complete a win that scarcely seemed possible when Gerrard prepared to take his penalty.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Ben Foster - West Brom: A brilliant performance by the Baggies goalkeeper. Made numerous saves and also guessed right - or left in his case - to deny Gerrard from the penalty spot.

PLAYER RATINGS

LIVERPOOL: Reina 7, Johnson 6, Carragher 6, Agger 5, Enrique 6, Lucas 6, Gerrard 6, Henderson 6, Suarez 6, Shelvey 5, Downing 7. Subs: Borini 6, Sterling 6, Coutinho 6.

WEST BROM: Foster 9; Reid 6, McAuley 8, Olsson 7, Ridgewell 6; Mulumbu 7, Yacob 7; Dorrans 5 Morrison 7, Brunt 7; Long 5. Subs: Lukaku 8, Fortune 6.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND MATCH STATS