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Liverpool's Rodgers era begins with loss at West Brom

Brendan Rodgers' reign as Liverpool manager began in disappointing fashion as the Reds kicked off their English Premier League season with a 3-0 loss to West Bromwich at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

Rodgers seized control of the first-team responsibilities this summer after Anfield legend Kenny Dalglish parted ways with the prestigious club.

But goals from Zoltan Gera, Peter Odemwingie and Romelu Lukaku - as well as Daniel Agger's sending off in the 58th minute - see Rodgers head back to the drawing board as he will look to conjure a stronger blueprint for Liverpool's next outing, a meeting with Manchester City at Anfield on August 26.

Liverpool controlled much of the opening period at the Hawthorns on Saturday, but the Baggies went in front at the best possible time as Gera's wonder- strike on the stroke of halftime deflated the Reds.

Things went from bad to worse for the visitors when Agger was issued a straight red card 13 minutes into the second half for fouling Shane Long in the box and denying the Irish striker a scoring opportunity.

Long made a hash of the ensuing penalty, sending a miserable effort to Pepe Reina's right as the Spaniard easily saved the shot.

But Long made amends for the miss moments later when he drew another penalty after getting tripped up by Martin Skrtel. Odemwingie stepped up this time, hammering a shot past Reina.

The match was completely out of reach for the Reds in the 77th minute when Lukaku, who is loan from Chelsea, nodded home a cross from Liam Ridgewell at the back post.

Newcastle 2, Tottenham 1

Newcastle, England - Andre Villas-Boas got off to somewhat of a rocky start as Tottenham manager as Spurs fell to Newcastle, 2-1, at St. James' Park on Saturday.

Demba Ba opened the scoring with a brilliant volley in the 55th minute. Jermain Defoe leveled for visiting Tottenham in the 76th minute, but Hatem Ben Arfa's penalty 10 minutes from time sealed three points for the Magpies.

Villas-Boas, who was sacked by Chelsea last term, should remain under close scrutiny in the coming months as he looks to transition from budding tactician to one of the game's top managers.

Arsenal 0, Sunderland 0

London, England - Arsenal was missing Robin van Persie's clinical finishing in front of goal on Saturday as the Gunners began their season with a 0-0 draw with Sunderland at the Emirates.

The Dutchman swapped Arsenal for Manchester United this week, and the Gunners may rue the sale as they appeared quite futile in front of goal.

Oliver Giroud, who joined Arsenal during the summer, had the best scoring chance of the match. The Frenchman found himself one-on-one Simon Mignolet nine minutes from time but fired his effort wide of the post from close range.

Fulham 5, Norwich City 0

London, England - Fulham got off to a cracking start in Premier League play, dismantling Norwich City 5-0 at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

Damien Duff opened the scoring in the 26th minute before Mladen Petric's brace put the match out of reach for the Canaries.

Alexander Kacanniklic and Steve Sidwell popped up with a goal apiece to add insult to injury for visiting Norwich City.

Swansea City 5, QPR 0

London, England - A pair of braces from Michu and Nathan Dyer helped Swansea City thrash QPR at Loftus Road on Saturday as the Welsh side rolled to a 5-0 victory.

Michu, who joined Swansea from La Liga side Rayo Vallecano, opened the scoring in the eighth minute before doubling the lead in the 53rd minute. Dyer added to the lead, providing goals in the 63rd and 71st minutes to put the result beyond any doubt.

Scott Sinclair, fresh off of his Olympic duties with Great Britain, wrapped up the scoring with a goal nine minutes from time.

Reading 1, Stoke City 1

Reading, England - Adam Le Fondre converted a late penalty to help Reading salvage a point in a 1-1 draw with Stoke City on Saturday.

The Potters took the lead in the 34th minute thanks to Michael Kightly's strike, but the newly promoted side avoided defeat after Dean Whitehead was issued a straight red card late on for his foul in the box.

Le Fondre stepped up and slotted his right-footed penalty into the bottom ride corner to see the two sides split the points at the Madejski.

West Ham 1, Aston Villa 0

London, England - West Ham made a triumphant return to the Premier League on Saturday, earning a 1-0 win over Aston Villa at Upton Park.

Premier League veteran Kevin Nolan provided the lone goal, scoring in the 40th minute to give the Hammers the edge.