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.

Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Morrissey pictured in 2013
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Field of broken dreams: Andy Bell visits Passchendaele
news5 News's Andy Bell visited the killing fields of the Great War, and his ancestor - known only from his compelling war diary - came to life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In my grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel