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Clarke delighted to Bag' Reds reunion

NEW West Brom boss Steve Clarke is "delighted" to be facing former employers Liverpool in his first game in charge and insists there are no hard feelings following his Anfield exit.

The Premier League fixtures were released yesterday on the same day that Clarke was unveiled as the new Albion boss.

They threw up an intriguing opening day clash between Clarke's new team and the club where he worked as Kenny Dalglish's assistant before his fellow Scot was sacked.

Clarke (above), who is undertaking his first job as a head coach after 14 years as a number two, said: "I was delighted to get Liverpool first game. I've got nothing but good memories from my time at Liverpool so to face them in the first game, here at the Hawthorns, will be fantastic.

"It takes a lot to get me really excited (when I heard), I was excited."

Clarke has established himself as one of the game's leading coaches, having worked under Bobby Robson, Jose Mourinho and Dalglish. He admits his first job as a boss is overdue.

"Obviously when I left Chelsea in 2008 it was with the ambition to become a manager or head coach in my own right," he said. "I could have stayed at Chelsea for as long as I wanted and been as comfortable as I wanted but I decided to get out of my comfort zone.

"To be honest I thought this position, or this appointment, would have come about a little bit sooner. Circumstances dictated that it didn't."

Clarke has vowed to try to play attacking football at the Hawthorns built on solid defensive foundations.

"I don't want to lose the strengths that the club had last season," he said. "They were really well-organised, disciplined and hard to beat. That is the first priority for anybody. On top of that I'd like to add my own little stamp and we can hopefully become a little bit more attacking, especially at home."