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Brendan Rodgers confident ahead of Europa League clash despite surprise defeat to West Brom last night


West Brom certainly caught everyone off guard with their win at Anfield last night, with 'smash and grab' very much the nature of the win. No one will have been more shocked than the home team, who had not lost at home in the league since mid December, and had the best home defense in the league. 

But West Brom have proved to be a thorn in Liverpool's side more than once in recent months, having convincingly beaten them 3-0 on the opening day of the season. And yet Liverpool would still have been confident given that West Brom haven't kept a clean sheet away in the league since April last year. Having said that, it was at Anfield, where the Baggies won 1-0.

The game itself started with Liverpool on the front foot, creating several chances, and finding keeper Ben Foster on fine form. West Brom offered little going forward for the first hour of the game, but as Liverpool became more frustrated, the Baggies became more emboldened, and the game opened up.

The turning point came with just under 15 minutes left, when Suarez went down softly in the box, and Stephen Gerrard stepped up only to see his shot well saved again by Foster. 

Such is the nature of football at times that a few minutes later West Brom took the lead when Gareth McAuley nodded the ball home from a corner. 

It was Romelu Lukaku, on as a substitute who put the hosts out of their misery in the last minute of normal time. The results sees West Brom secure a league double of Liverpool, and overtake them in the table to go 8th.

Despite Liverpool's Champions League ambitions looking somewhat diminished, the side now five places and 12 points from fourth place Tottenham, Brendan Rodgers was optimistic, and looking forward to Thursday's Europa League tie.

He siad, speaking to Sky Sports "These players always react very well, they were very disappointed, like we all were, because we wanted to make our home form better in the league."

"We entered into the game against West Brom with the best defensive home record in the league, so that shows the mark of improvement we were making as a group."

"It's something that left the players disappointed, but they will react in the right manner. They want to work well and they're very good at moving on. That's something we'll have to do if we want to progress.

"We just have to keep striving and look towards the next game. We've got the Europa League game on Thursday night, which is a good opportunity for us to progress in a competition."

One person who is slightly more reserved about Thursday's trip to Zenit is Liverpool's Managing Director Ian Ayre, who is concerned about the Zenit fans' history of racial abuse towards non-white players.

Making a statement of the club's official website, Ayre stated:

"I wrote to UEFA very recently expressing our concerns to them - and also to Zenit themselves."

"We await some responses in that regard. The most we can do is make our feelings clear ahead of the game, and hope that we get an adequate response and adequate support on the night."

"The most important thing for our players is that they remain professional throughout this. The important thing is that we let them know how we expect them to act if there is an incident."

"I'd much rather we take the incident off the pitch and we deal with it. Obviously the referee has a role toplay within that. But we'll be briefing our players of what's acceptable and what's not."

"Anything that happens off the pitch, then we'll work very closely with the authorities. Those authorities will be UEFA, who are sanctioning and hosting the match, and Zenit and ourselves."

Whilst everyone in the footballing community will be hoping the match is incident free, Liverpool will be hoping that they can also pick up a win in the process.

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