LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Jordan Henderson scored one goal and set up another to lead Liverpool to a 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, ending his team's three-match run without a Premier League victory.
Adam Lallana ran onto a clever flick from Henderson to score his first goal for Liverpool on the brink of halftime at Anfield.
Lively forward Saido Berahino won and converted a penalty to bring West Brom level in the 56th minute, only for Henderson to restore Liverpool's lead five minutes later with a shot from inside the area.
It was Liverpool's first league win since Aug. 31, although a patchy display will not convince critics that the team can go close to emulating its second-place finish of last season.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers decided against recalling Daniel Sturridge, who is close to a return to fitness after a month out through injury, and also dropped fellow striker Mario Balotelli after the Italy international's disappointing performance in a midweek loss at FC Basel in the Champions League.
It meant a rare start for Rickie Lambert but Liverpool was again lackluster going forward until Lallana's goal, which was entirely out of keeping with what had gone before.
In fact, West Brom had created the better chances — mainly through Berahino — before Lallana passed to Henderson, got the ball back from the midfielder's deft flick and shot left-footed across goalkeeper Ben Foster. It was Lallana's first goal in seven matches since joining from Southampton for 25 million pounds ($43 million) in the offseason.
West Brom, seeking a third straight win, was offered a way back into the game thanks to a rash tackle from Dejan Lovren on Berahino and a poor decision from the referee, who awarded a penalty despite replays appearing to show the initial contact was made outside the area.
Berahino got up and converted the penalty, sending goalkeeper Simon Mignolet the wrong way from the spot. Liverpool now has just one clean sheet in 16 matches in all competitions
Within five minutes, Liverpool was back in front. Raheem Sterling's attempted shot was blocked but the midfielder recovered the ball and passed across to Henderson, who drove a finish into the net.
Balotelli came on for Lambert for the final stages but is still without a league goal for Liverpool since his summer switch from AC Milan.