Hodgson has last laugh on Anfield return


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One small consequence of John W Henry's recent review of operations at Liverpool was the ditching of the club's weekly magazine in favour of a monthly publication. By contrast, Anfield's American owners must be scratching their heads wondering why Liverpool's players cannot produce weekly results in the league to match their occasional cup heroics this term.

Eight days after beating Everton in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, Liverpool reverted to Premier League type, missing the opportunity to climb back above their neighbours in the table as they succumbed to a first home defeat by West Bromwich since this very day 45 years ago. Peter Odemwingie, below, scored yesterday's winner, with 15 minutes remaining, and the fact it was his club's first goal in open play against their opponents since 1985 only underlined the scale of this setback for a Liverpool side who could end the season with two cups but a lowest league finish since 1994.

Though he denied taking any special satisfaction, this was undoubtedly a victory to savour for Roy Hodgson, the West Bromwich manager, on his first return to Anfield since his unhappy reign there ended in January 2011. By his own admission, his team rode their luck against a Liverpool side who created countless opportunities – they had 28 goal attempts and were twice denied by the woodwork.

"We had to hang on in there," said Hodgson. "We are grateful to a lot of good blocks and saves from our goalkeeper and when those things didn't work we had a bit of luck on our side. Maybe this result was written in the stars 45 years ago to the day."

A mistake by Glen Johnson gave West Bromwich their goal, the full-back giving the ball away to Youssouf Mulumbu, who slipped in Odemwingie to slot past the helpless Pepe Reina.