With about three weeks to Nigeria’s Afcon 2013 qualifier against the Lone Stars of Liberia, Super Eagles’ striker, Osaze Odemwingie yesterday, sent a strong statement of his readiness for the match when he scored in West Brom’s 3-0 victory over Liverpool in the Premier League.
Though Coach Stephen Keshi is yet to name his squad, Osaze’s performance in the league opener at the Hawthorns seems to have put him in good stead for a call-up for the two-legged encounter against Liberia for a place in next year’s African Cup of Nations.
Just as Keshi is eager to qualify the Eagles for the Nations Cup, West Brom boss Clarke was desperate to get off to a flying start against his old club, who axed him along with Kenny Dalglish at the end of last season.
Liverpool were caught cold a minute before half-time when James Morrison’s corner was only half cleared by Daniel Agger. The ball dropped to Gera, who chested it down before smashing a volley beyond Reds keeper Pepe Reina.
Liverpool had Reina to thank for keeping them in the game when he saved Shane Long’s poor penalty after Daniel Agger was red-carded in the 58th minute.
But it proved to be nothing more than a temporary reprieve as Martin Skrtel gifted the Baggies another spot-kick just minutes later. This time Long had to stand and watch as Odemwingie stepped up to make it 2-0 with 64 minutes played. And Rodgers’ misery was compounded when Baggies substitute Lukaku, on loan from Chelsea, netted to rub salt into the wounds 13 minutes from time.