Liverpool rebounded to defeat West Brom 2-1 through goals from Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson. It wasn't the prettiest win and there were moments of worry for the Reds, but on the whole it was a positive performance and a deserved result.
Brendan Rodgers started Rickie Lambert in place of Mario Balotelli and dropped Coutinho into a deeper role to allow Jordan Henderson more freedom to roam forward. Both moves paid dividends, as Lambert linked well with the attacking midfield (especially with Adam Lallana) and Henderson played a pivotal role in the attack.
However, Liverpool could not break through West Brom for most of the first half and looked short of ideas in the final third. Then Lallana and Henderson produced a moment of brilliance right before the intermission as Hendo flicked the ball into the path of Lallana who finished neatly with his left foot to put Liverpool ahead 1-0.
Like many of you, I screamed obscenities at the television when Michael Oliver deemed a foul outside the box to be a penalty for West Brom. Saldo Berahino converted from the spot and a sense of deflation set in. It didn't last long though as five minutes later Jordan Henderson hit a first time low drive past Ben Foster to win the game.
Henderson had been a forgotten man over the previous few weeks because of his defensive responsibilities alongside Steven Gerrard, and so it was great to see him capitalize on his increased freedom in this match. Further, Coutinho did well playing further back than normal and passed the ball with 94% accuracy.
Liverpool's defense deserves credit for avoiding the awful mistakes that have come too often in recent times. While Lovren-Skrtel might not be the sexiest center back pairing, thus far it's been the most consistent. Javier Manquillo and Alberto Moreno continue to impress as well.
This Liverpool team has plenty of fight, even though they endured a string of punchless games against Villa, West Ham, and Basel. While a Hodgson era team would have likely rolled over after the penalty decision, this unit got back up and won a game that they absolutely had to have.
Now we head to another international break in a completely different mood from the last one. The hope is that the injured players get better and that nobody else breaks while playing in some blowout friendly against San Marino. If they can manage that, then the other side of this layoff should coincide with a much needed improvement in play and results more like the one against West Brom.