Nuri Sahin shows Liverpool a way forward against West Brom

West Bromwich Albion 1 Liverpool 2

The Hawthorns

Still without a win in the Premier League, Brendan Rodgers clearly has some distance to travel in his quest to reshape Liverpool in his own image but that development process perhaps took a significant step forward with a victory that might have piqued his  interest in defending the club’s possession of the League Cup, particularly now that the draw has given him his old club, Swansea, in the fourth round.

Rodgers, his hand partially forced by injuries but largely because of where his priorities lie, cast aside all of his 11 starters from Sunday’s home defeat against Manchester United in favour of most of those who emerged on top in that other unwanted diversion, the Europa League, in Switzerland last week, in that extraordinary tie against Young Boys of Berne.

Even he admitted most neutrals, and perhaps a good few who were not, would have weighed up last night’s odds and predicted that the home side, who had beaten a much more experienced Liverpool team in some comfort on the opening day of the Premier League, would come out on top again.

Yet the opposite happened. Steve Clarke’s team took an early lead when a mistake by Brad Jones handed Gabriel Tamas an easy goal and might have gone further ahead in a strong opening phase. But Liverpool recovered to draw level and then dominate the remainder of the first half, before withstanding a second wave of pressure at the start of the second period to take charge again, scoring their decisive second goal eight minutes  from the end.

The finisher in both instances was the German-born Turkey international Nuri Sahin, signed on a season-long loan from Real Madrid, whose integration into the Liverpool side might have been further advanced by now had he not missed a chunk of pre-season while his future was in the balance.

On only his third appearance, Sahin scored first after 17 minutes, beating Ben Foster from 25 yards at the near post. Always a key figure in linking Liverpool’s passing manoeuvres, he already had a claim to be man of the match before he popped up with the winner, steering the ball home from close range on the end of a low cross from Oussama Assaidi.

“He is still getting up to speed,” Rodgers said. “It has been difficult for him. He missed a big part of pre-season but he is getting better every day. He has a great football arrogance, the confidence to shoot from distance and the ability as he showed with the second goal to arrive in the box.

“But it was a good team performance. The courage to want the ball was very prominent tonight.

“It is exciting to see young players with great technique but what is important is they know how to fight,” Rodgers added. “The second goal in particular showed what we are about.”

The reception from the Liverpool fans was certainly in approval. There were three teenagers on at the start with another five on the bench, including Jerome Sinclair, whose appearance in the last 10 minutes made him Liverpool’s youngest senior player at 16 years and six days. Where they lacked experience they compensated in fearlessness.

Their spirit was exemplified, as Rodgers said, in the decisive goal. Albion had looked strong enough perhaps to persuade a more conservative approach from Liverpool but then Suso, the Spain Under-19 international Rodgers ushered on at the same time as Sinclair, responded to his first possession by launching a run through the middle that had the home defence back peddling. Intelligently, he slipped the ball wide to Assaidi, in free space, whose cross was perfectly weighted for Sahin to convert and send Liverpool onwards.

Arts and Entertainment
Masterchef cooks Tony Rodd (left), Emma Spitzer (second left) and
Simon Wood (right) posing with judges Gregg Wallace (centre) and John Torode (second right), as the three will be seen cooking their hearts out in the hopes of winning the show.
TVReview: Tired Geography teacher John Torode and shaved Scotch egg Gregg Wallace crown the champion
Voices
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week
voices
Life and Style
life
News
The Grand Palais in Paris will be transformed into a 4,000-seat cinema, with 44 double beds at the front
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

In the driving seat: Peter Kay

Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road