Xabi Alonso (centre) acts as peacemaker after an argument
between teammates Jamie Carragher (right)
and Alvaro Arbeloa (left). (Photo: PA)
By Paul Eaton - LFC Official Website
Jamie Carragher has insisted Pepe Reina's
bid for this season's Golden Glove award was behind his
on-field disagreement with Alvaro Arbeloa during Liverpool's
2-0 victory at West Brom.
Goals in each half from Steven Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt secured
victory for the Reds at The Hawthorns - and ended the
Baggies' stay in the Premier League.
West Brom fought hard for a way back into the game in the
latter stages, and created a number of chances which had
Carragher seething with frustration.
"We can't win the league now but there are a number of
targets we can aim for," said Carragher after the game. "We
want to keep a clean sheet and we want Pepe to have a chance
of the Golden Glove for the third season running. Pepe is
one behind Van der Sar now and there's a chance Van der Sar
won't play next week, so we wanted to make sure he got a
clean sheet today.
"To be honest we were a bit lackadaisical in our defending
all through the game and they had too many chances.
"Maybe we took it a bit too easy and let them attack us too
much, but that was one of the toughest games I've played in
all season. We go all over Europe playing top teams and we
play against the best sides in this country, but that was
one of the hardest games we've had."
Carragher admits he's disappointed Liverpool's title chances
have been ended for another season, but he's already looking
forward to the prospect of making another challenge next
"It's hard to win the Premier League because our top four
sides plus Barcelona probably make up the best five sides in
Europe," he said. "That's the challenge we face.
"You can look at the statistics from this season and it's
impressive that we've only lost two games and scored lots of
goals, but United have got more points than us and credit to
them because that's what matters.
"We have to make sure we finish second now and win our last
game of the season next weekend."
By Richard Buxton - Shanklygates
Rafael Benitez has paid tribute to his
Liverpool players following the 2-0 victory over
West Bromwich Albion.
The Reds' manager said that the onfield scuffle between
Alvaro Arbeloa and Jamie Carragher during the win at The
Hawthorns was a sign of the club's winning mentality that
will stand them in good stead for next season.
"You could see Carragher and Arbeloa because we wanted a
clean sheet and they were a little bit nervous," he said.
"Arbeloa was going forward and then we had some problems in
defence. We wanted to protect Pepe Reina because now I think
he has 20 clean sheets - van der Sar has 21.
"It's a positive message in terms of the mentality of the
team. We wanted to show character and a winning mentality.
"We were looking for some targets: 83 points, a club record
in the Premier League; 13 victories away - also a record. We
also wanted to score goals and keep a clean sheet and for us
I think this guarantees second position. We also wanted to
stay as close as possible to United."
Despite accumulating 83 points - their highest ever tally in
the Premier League - Benitez talked about the difference
between the Anfield outfit and champions Manchester United.
"Small details, little things," he admitted, when asked
about what cost his team the title race.
"We have talked about the draws. Against Stoke we scored in
the first minute and it was disallowed. It could have been
different with the form we've been in at the end of the
"United have quality - especially on the bench. Against us
they had Scholes, Giggs and Berbatov on the bench. You can
change two or three players easily. We have less of these
kind of players, though I am really pleased with my squad
and really proud of what we've done this season.
"I will say congratulations to Manchester United - it's a
good club, a big club."
Looking back on the season as a whole, Benitez mused: "It
has been very positive in terms of the performance of the
team during the whole season. We had some problems for maybe
one month but, especially at the end of the season, and
often without Torres and Gerrard, it has been very positive.
"If you analyse things properly you see that 83 points is
massive. United is a very strong team with a big squad.
They've won a lot of games 1-0, games which could have been
"But over nine months you usually finish where you deserve."
after Reds defeat
By Toby Davis - Setanta Sports
West Brom were sent packing from The
Premier League as Liverpool put the disappointment of
missing out on the title behind them to deliver a knock-out
blow to Tony Mowbray’s side.
The Reds overcame the heartache of seeing Manchester United
lift the Premier League trophy on Saturday to stroll to a
2-0 victory at The Hawthorns without breaking into a sweat.
After a bright start to the game, the hosts pressed the
self-destruct button as Shelton Martis made a horrendous
mistake to allow Liverpool to take the lead through Steven
And Dirk Kuyt rounded off proceedings in the second half
with a sharp finish form outside the area.
The Reds' victory was soured somewhat, however, by an
unsavoury incident as the game drew to a close with
defenders Jamie Carragher and Alvaro Arbeloa given a stern
talking to by referee Martin Atkinson for having an on-pitch
Carragher took exception to some sloppy defending from the
Spaniard to give him a piece of his mind, before the pair
had to be dragged apart by Xabi Alonso.
But it made not a jot of difference to the scoreline as
there was no way back for The Baggies who have been
relegated for the third time in Premier League history.
If there was one man who wanted Manchester United to win the
title yesterday more than their relentless manager, it would
have been West Brom boss Mowbray.
The prospect of taking on Liverpool with this year’s Premier
League trophy already out of their reach no doubt appealed
to The Baggies boss more than facing a side still capable of
snatching a first league title in 19 years.
While Benitez protested prior to kick-off that there would
be no letting up, it seemed almost inevitable that a certain
sluggishness would have crept in after United dealt them
such a crippling psychological blow.
And if the hosts could see a glimmer of light at the end of
what was a very dark relegation tunnel then the opening
minutes at The Hawthorns would have had the effect of
handing them a shovel and telling them to get digging.
The Great Escape, as it is perennially dubbed, was on, and
all they had to do was snatch their chance.
But when you have dwelt in the nether regions of the table
for so long, taking chances when they crop up is often
harder than it looks as Jonathan Greening ably demonstrated
just four minutes into the encounter.
A corner from the right, floated to the far post, evaded all
Liverpool’s static defenders and found Greening charging in
behind them. The Baggies midfielder had two chances to stick
the ball in the back of the net, but Reds keeper Jose Reina
pulled off two superb stops to deny him from close range.
And it was then the turn of defender Carragher to come to
Liverpool’s rescue as he stretched out a leg to clear a
cross from Greening that had already whizzed past their
Liverpool had looked second best, but with West Brom unable
to find the breakthrough their football deserved, you sensed
it was only a matter of time before The Reds were dragged
from their slumber.
And it was sleepy defending from the hosts that almost did
just that. A freekick from Gerrard went through a crowd of
Baggies defenders to find Torres at the far post. The Spain
striker’s volley was blocked while Emiliano Insua’s
follow-up was also deflected to safety.
It was a warning that despite their inauspicious start to
the game Liverpool still posed a tremendous threat given the
talent they had on the pitch – a warning that clearly wasn’t
heeded by Martis who gifted Liverpool the lead with a
The defender took possession 15 yards outside his own area,
when he inexplicably turned into Gerrard, who robbed him of
the ball, strode forward and flicked a delicate finish over
the advancing Dean Kiely and into the back of the net on 27
It was a cruel blow for the hosts who were now staring
relegation square in the face, with little to suggest they
could find a way back into the game.
And Liverpool started to turn the screw without so much as
breaking into a sweat. Torres almost extended the lead four
minutes before the break when his header from a Gerrard
cross was tipped over by Kiely, while Jonas Olsson was lucky
to stay on the pitch and give away a penalty in first-half
A minute after being booked for a cynical obstruction on
Torres, the defender barged into the back of Gerrard sending
the Liverpool skipper tumbling to the ground in the penalty
area. Perhaps the referee took pity on The Baggies as he
turned a blind eye to the transgression.
The second half seemed to be heading the same way as the
first as Liverpool looked to increase their lead with Torres
twice going close, before the hosts missed a fantastic
opportunity to draw themselves level.
Juan Carlos Menseguez was fed through the middle and bore
down on Reina before choosing to pass back across goal
rather than beat the Liverpool keeper himself. His square
ball was heading for Marc-Antoine Fortune before Lucas Leiva
got back to challenge.
It would prove to be a costly miss as Kuyt hammered the
final nail into The Baggies’ Premier League coffin midway
through the second half.
The forward-cum-winger shaped to pass to Fernando Torres but
took the ball on and fired past Kiely with an unstoppable
drive from outside the area.
That was effectively that for West Brom’s Premier League
status, but it certainly was not the end of the drama and
Liverpool could and should have extended their lead when
Lucas was denied by Kiely when through on goal, while Brunt
hit the woodwork for The Baggies and Fortune headed over.
But if this game did not matter to Liverpool, then someone
should have told Carragher and Arbeloa who exchanged angry
words and half-hearted blows after the former judged the
latter to have failed to close down Fortune quick enough
when the ball fell to The Baggies’ striker in the box.
Further opportunities came and went for both sides as
Fortune had the ball in the net before being adjudged
offside and substitute Ryan Babel curled a shot wide when
found in acres of space at the far post with minutes
The Baggies fans took relegation on the chin, chanting
Mowbray's name at the final whistle, but ultimately their
failure to turn good football into chances and goals cost
them their top-flight status.