x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Keane brace puts Reds back on top

A 3-0 win against WBA gives Rafael Benitez his 150th victory as Liverpool boss as the Anfield club move back to the top of the Premier League.

Liverpool's Robbie Keane rounds WBA goalkeeper Scott Carson for his second goal of the game.
Liverpool's Robbie Keane rounds WBA goalkeeper Scott Carson for his second goal of the game.

LIVERPOOL // Robbie Keane gave Rafael Benitez his 150th victory as Liverpool boss as the Anfield club moved back to the top of the Barclays Premier League. Keane, who had managed to score only twice previously since his summer move from Tottenham ? both in the Champions League ? finally broke his league duck when he drove home from a Steven Gerrard pass in the 34th minute. Keane's second came when he rounded Scott Carson a couple of minutes before the break and Alvaro Arbeloa added the gloss in injury time. Liverpool have now beaten West Brom in their last 10 meetings and wiped away the memory of losing their unbeaten record at Spurs last weekend. Fernando Torres made his return after a six-game absence with a hamstring injury, but initially only as far as the bench. Benitez rested midfielder Xabi Alonso and brought in Yossi Benayoun as the only change from the side that drew with Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday. West Brom were without James Morrison from the side that drew with Blackburn last time out, Do-heon Kim coming into the team. West Brom, who have not won at Anfield in 41 years, set out with a positive approach by opting for two strikers, Roman Bednar and Ishmael Miller, when most sides arriving here barely leave one man up front The former Liverpool goalkeeper Carson saved well from Gerrard and Keane, but although Albion were still abrasive up front, a home breakthrough was only a matter of time. Liverpool came close when Gerrard sent in Benayoun on the right. Carson did well to save the winger's shot, but the ball bounced up and onto the arm of Olsson before bouncing away for a corner. Referee Peter Walton ignored pleas for a penalty. Four minutes later Liverpool did take the lead. This time Keane read Gerrard's run and pass into space to perfection and motored onto it to lift his shot over the diving Carson. And it was Keane who grabbed another to silence the West Brom fans who had been abusing him because of his association with Wolves many years back. His second came two minutes from the break when he latched onto a fine through ball from Fabio Aurelio after Liverpool had broken with devastating speed as they cleared an Albion corner. Keane was in yards of space to round the onrushing Carson before firing an angled drive into an empty net. Liverpool sent on Ryan Babel for Albert Riera after 66 minutes, the home side having been too quick to start coasting to victory and West Brom still showing spirit. Torres' arrival finally came after 71 minutes, in place of the disappointed Keane, who had been striving for a hat-trick. Torres was soon into the action, taking a Benayoun pass. A quick change of pace and a fierce low shot, saved by Carson, followed and the Spaniard was back in his stride. Liverpool had to wait until the final minute for their third, when fullback Arbeloa cut in from the right to fire into the top corner.

*PA Sport