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Liverpool's Lucas Leiva (center) challenges West Bromwich Albion's Jonas Olsson (left) and Steven Reid during their English Premier League match at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, central England, on Saturday. West Brom won 3-0. Darren Staples / Reuters
Brendan Rodgers admits Liverpool could face some tough times this season after his first Premier League match as Reds manager ended with a woeful 3-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion.
Rodgers had hoped for a morale-boosting victory as he looks to make an immediate impact following his appointment as successor to sacked Anfield icon Kenny Dalglish.
But the former Swansea boss endured an afternoon to forget at the Hawthorns as Albion eased to victory courtesy of a Peter Odemwingie penalty sandwiched between goals from Zoltan Gera and Romelu Lukaku.
Odemwingie's spot kick, given by referee Phil Dowd for a challenge on Shane Long by Martin Skrtel, arrived just three minutes after one had been missed by Long after the striker was fouled Liverpool defender Daniel Agger, who was shown the red card for his professional foul.
To add insult to injury for Liverpool, Steve Clarke, sacked along with Dalglish following an 18-month spell as the Reds' assistant manager, was able to celebrate his first match in charge of the Baggies with a win at the expense of his old club.
While Rodgers grumbled about decisions going against his side, he knows Liverpool is very much a work in progress as he tries to instill a new brand of passing soccer. There could be plenty more bumps in the road.
"It's the first game. It's a marathon," Rodgers said.
"I have to give credit to the players, they ran to a standstill. Days like this hurt - and there will be other days like this. I have heard lots about patience but we have got to win games. It was a bad day at the office for us."
However, Rodgers gave a rather blinkered view of the match when he claimed Liverpool's fate was sealed by mistakes from the officials rather than the failings of his own team.
"I thought the scoreline was harsh. I'm not going to go on about referees but I thought the three decisions, if you include the penalty, were very harsh," Rodgers said.
(China Daily 08/20/2012 page24)