LIVERPOOL, August 30 – Fernando Torres scored his first competitive goal since April as Roy Hodgson secured a first Premier League victory as Liverpool manager with a 1-0 win over West Brom on Sunday.The Reds had impressed in a 1-1 draw with Arsenal but slipped to a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City and, although this win was far from comfortable, it should ease the tension around the club.
Torres made just his second start since the World Cup and passed up several chances before finally scoring midway through the second half.
It was his first for the club since the 4-1 Europa League win over Benfica in April, and his first in the Premier League since the 3-0 victory over Sunderland in March.
And West Brom’s misery was complete when James Morrison was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Torres in the final moments.
Having sold Javier Mascherano to Barcelona, Liverpool paraded new signing Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles, who joined for 11.5 million pounds (14 million euros) from Porto, before kick-off at Anfield.
With Fulham left-back Paul Konchesky also watching from the stands, Roy Hodgson’s squad appears to be taking shape.
Liverpool were intent on continuing their fine record against West Brom and Torres swapped passes with Steven Gerrard and forced a save from Scott Carson with just a couple of minutes gone.
Morrison dragged a shot wide for the visitors and, after Peter Odemwingie was robbed in midfield, Torres had another effort blocked wide.
Gerrard’s free-kick caused panic in the Baggies area, with Gabriel Tamas glancing a header away to safety.
Marc-Antoine Fortune also had a low drive held by Pepe Reina from Jonas Olsson’s cross after Liverpool failed to clear Morrison’s corner.
From a quick free-kick, Lucas Leiva clipped over the top but Dirk Kuyt’s effort was bundled away.
Morrison hit a long-range effort just wide before the interval as Albion continued to frustrate their hosts.
Graham Dorrans then curled narrowly wide from a Nicky Shorey pass as the visitors grew in confidence.
Chris Brunt hacked away from Kuyt as Gerrard’s corner caused problems before Martin Skrtel lifted over from the edge of the area.
Olsson had defended well but almost knocked the ball into his own net when he passed back to Carson without looking.
From Fortune’s cross, Gonzalo Jara claimed his shot was blocked by the arm of Daniel Agger and then forced a low save from Reina.
But Liverpool broke instantly, with Kuyt pulling back for Torres to volley in from just outside the area in the 65th minute.
Torres was then denied a second by former Liverpool goalkeeper Carson as he prodded at goal from Gerrard’s left-wing cross.
Odemwingie had another effort held by Reina but Liverpool felt they should have had a penalty when a shot from Torres seemed to hit Jara’s arm.
Somen Tchoyi gave Liverpool a late scare when he hit the side netting but Morrison ended West Brom’s chances when he was sent off late on for a wild lunge at Torres.