Defeat for Brendan Rodgers's team was their first in four games at Anfield and came when it looked like his side were beginning to build momentum after encouraging draws against
The result perhaps underlined the importance of injured striker
who has scored four goals in six appearances since joining Liverpool in January.
His absence meant Luis Suarez played in a lone striker role, and the Uruguayan at times was unable to burst into the box to finish moves that he had helped to create.
Penalty miss changed game - Rodgers
Jonjo Shelvey, in the side instead of Sturridge, had the ball in the net but his effort was correctly ruled out for offside, while Gerrard and Stewart Downing tested the excellent Foster with long-range shots.
But Liverpool came closest to scoring before the break via West Brom's Steven Reid, who almost put the ball into his own net under no pressure at all following Shelvey's cross.
Rodgers's side upped the tempo after the interval as the home support grew increasingly frustrated and Liverpool were almost rewarded but Foster stopped Jordan Henderson's backheeled effort after a flowing move.
At the hour mark, it appeared as if West Brom were happy to stick with what they had. They continued to get men behind the ball and were in no rush to get the game going again after various re-starts.
Liverpool v West Brom stats
West Brom were winless in their last six league matches, losing five of them
Liverpool had won their last three league games at Anfield without conceding a goal
The result means Liverpool are still to beat a team currently in the top half of the Premier League table this season
They still had Foster to thank for a fine save to deny Fabio Borini, after the substitute collected Downing's cute lay-off, and then the Baggies goalkeeper produced a firm hand to stop Gerrard's powerful effort from inside the box.
The former England keeper
left his best until last, though, when he dived to his left to claw away Gerrard's penalty after Jonas Olsson conceded the spot-kick when he crashed into Luis Suarez. The captain's effort was Liverpool's 19th attempt on goal.
West Brom responded immediately with Reina tipping Mulumbu's long-range shot round the post - with what was the visiting team's first effort at goal.
But McAuley leapt unmarked to nod in Chris Brunt's delivery from the subsequent corner.
Lukaku, who in a bold move had been brought on in place of midfielder Graham Dorrans after 74 minutes, sealed the stunning victory with his stoppage time strike, dealing a further blow to Liverpool's slim hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League.
90:00+5:25 The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.
90:00+4:46 The ball is crossed by Raheem Sterling, clearance by Claudio Yacob.
90:00+3:44 Ben Foster takes the free kick.
90:00+3:44 Booking The referee cautions Luis Suarez for unsporting behaviour.
90:00+3:37 Luis Suarez concedes a free kick for a foul on Gareth McAuley.
90:00+2:55 Phillippe Coutinho takes a shot. Gareth McAuley gets a block in. Corner from the right by-line taken by Fabio Borini, clearance
made by Gareth McAuley.
90:00+2:38 Unfair challenge on Luis Suarez by Claudio Yacob results in a free kick. Luis Suarez takes the indirect free kick.
90:00+1:23 The referee gives a free kick against Raheem Sterling for handball. Ben Foster takes the free kick.
90:00 Assist on the goal came from James Morrison.
90:00 GOAL - Romelu Lukaku:Liverpool 0 - 2 West Brom Romelu Lukaku finds the net with a goal from close in to the bottom left corner of the goal. Liverpool 0-2 West Brom.
87:23 Shot from just outside the penalty box by Romelu Lukaku misses to the left of the target.
85:32 Substitution Marc-Antoine Fortune joins the action as a substitute, replacing Shane Long.
84:50 Corner taken left-footed by Chris Brunt, Jose Reina makes a save.
82:53 Corner taken right-footed by Phillippe Coutinho from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Claudio Yacob.
82:31 Short corner taken by Raheem Sterling from the right by-line.
80:16 Assist on the goal came from Chris Brunt.
80:16 GOAL - Gareth McAuley:Liverpool 0 - 1 West Brom Gareth McAuley grabs a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Liverpool 0-1 West Brom.
79:41 Youssouf Mulumbu takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina. Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Chris Brunt,
79:00 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Youssouf Mulumbu by Luis Suarez. Steven Reid restarts play with the free kick.
77:37 Jamie Carragher takes the free kick.
77:37 Substitution Stewart Downing leaves the field to be replaced by Phillippe Coutinho.
77:37 The referee blows for offside against Romelu Lukaku.
76:44 Corner from the right by-line taken by Stewart Downing, save made by Ben Foster.
76:44 A save by Ben Foster from penalty by Steven Gerrard. Liverpool 0-0 West Brom.
75:37 Penalty awarded for an unfair challenge on Luis Suarez by Jonas Olsson.
74:31 Effort from long distance by Steven Gerrard goes wide right of the goal.
72:35 Substitution Romelu Lukaku is brought on as a substitute for Graham Dorrans.
72:35 Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Stewart Downing.
72:35 Booking The referee books Chris Brunt for unsporting behaviour.
72:28 Foul by Chris Brunt on Luis Suarez, free kick awarded.
Correction - 71:31 Booking James Morrison receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
71:30 James Morrison is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
71:27 Booking James Morrison shown a yellow card.
70:46 Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Ben Foster gets a block in. Fabio Borini has an effort at goal from close in which goes wide
of the left-hand upright.
69:32 Luis Suarez takes a shot. Gareth McAuley gets a block in.
68:53 Leiva Lucas restarts play with the free kick.
68:53 Booking Booking for Liam Ridgewell for unsporting behaviour.
68:46 Foul by Liam Ridgewell on Raheem Sterling, free kick awarded.
68:04 Corner from the left by-line taken by Graham Dorrans, clearance by Glen Johnson.
67:41 Fabio Borini takes a shot. Save by Ben Foster.
66:33 Sanchez Jose Enrique crosses the ball, clearance made by Gareth McAuley. Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by
Stewart Downing, Gareth McAuley makes a clearance.
61:58 Sanchez Jose Enrique produces a cross, save made by Ben Foster.
61:14 The ball is delivered by Raheem Sterling, Gareth McAuley manages to make a clearance.
58:53 Shot comes in from Luis Suarez from the free kick. Luis Suarez takes a shot. Inswinging corner taken by Steven Gerrard from
the right by-line, save by Ben Foster.
58:53 Substitution (Liverpool) makes a substitution, with Raheem Sterling coming on for Jordan Henderson.
58:53 Substitution Fabio Borini comes on in place of Jonjo Shelvey.
58:53 Foul by Claudio Yacob on Luis Suarez, free kick awarded.
58:11 Effort from the edge of the penalty area by Luis Suarez goes wide of the left-hand post.
55:59 Foul by Leiva Lucas on James Morrison, free kick awarded. Ben Foster takes the indirect free kick.
55:38 Chris Brunt sends in a cross, Sanchez Jose Enrique makes a clearance.
54:22 Jonjo Shelvey concedes a free kick for a foul on Claudio Yacob. Free kick taken by Jonas Olsson.
52:59 Corner taken by Stewart Downing played to the near post, Jamie Carragher takes a shot. The referee blows for offside. Ben
Foster takes the free kick.
52:03 The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Ben Foster.
51:53 A cross is delivered by Steven Gerrard, clearance made by Gareth McAuley.
51:41 Jordan Henderson takes a shot. Blocked by Ben Foster.
48:54 Stewart Downing takes a shot. Gareth McAuley gets a block in. Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Ben Foster gets a block in.
46:57 The ball is sent over by James Morrison, save by Jose Reina.
45:01 The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.
45:00+1:21 The ref blows to signal half-time.
45:00+1:05 Long distance shot from Glen Johnson misses to the left of the net.
45:00+0:20 Glen Johnson crosses the ball, Jonas Olsson makes a clearance.
43:08 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Shane Long by Steven Gerrard. Steven Reid takes the free kick.
42:00 Free kick crossed right-footed by Steven Gerrard, clearance by Gareth McAuley.
42:00 Booking The referee books Steven Reid for unsporting behaviour.
41:45 Foul by Steven Reid on Luis Suarez, free kick awarded.
41:22 Centre by Stewart Downing.
41:14 Jordan Henderson delivers the ball.
40:38 Jonjo Shelvey delivers the ball, clearance by Steven Reid. Inswinging corner taken by Stewart Downing, Ben Foster makes a
37:54 Free kick awarded for a foul by Luis Suarez on Gareth McAuley. Claudio Yacob takes the indirect free kick.
37:17 Shot from just outside the box by Luis Suarez misses to the left of the target.
36:14 Foul by Gareth McAuley on Daniel Agger, free kick awarded. Jose Reina takes the indirect free kick.
35:38 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Youssouf Mulumbu by Luis Suarez. Steven Reid restarts play with the free kick.
34:49 The ball is crossed by Graham Dorrans.
33:40 Centre by Graham Dorrans, clearance made by Glen Johnson. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Graham Dorrans from the
left by-line to the near post, Steven Gerrard manages to make a clearance.
31:38 Short corner worked by Steven Gerrard. The ball is sent over by Stewart Downing.
29:44 Centre by Stewart Downing, Liam Ridgewell gets a block in. Corner taken left-footed by Stewart Downing from the right by-line,
clearance by Jonas Olsson.
28:59 Youssouf Mulumbu delivers the ball, Glen Johnson manages to make a clearance.
28:25 Daniel Agger produces a drilled left-footed shot from 35 yards. Blocked by Graham Dorrans.
27:50 James Morrison gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Steven Gerrard. Free kick taken by Steven Gerrard.
25:10 Stewart Downing takes a shot. Save by Ben Foster.
24:39 Glen Johnson crosses the ball, clearance by Steven Reid.
23:00 Stewart Downing takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Daniel Agger takes a shot. Ben Foster makes
a save. Corner taken left-footed by Stewart Downing from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Shane Long.
22:49 A cross is delivered by Stewart Downing, clearance by Gareth McAuley.
21:06 Corner taken right-footed by Graham Dorrans from the left by-line, Jordan Henderson fouled by Jonas Olsson, the ref awards
a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Jose Reina.
20:05 Luis Suarez produces a cross, clearance by Liam Ridgewell.
19:35 The ball is crossed by Luis Suarez, Gareth McAuley makes a clearance.
19:00 Corner taken by Steven Gerrard.
18:49 Leiva Lucas takes a shot. Blocked by Youssouf Mulumbu.
18:08 Chris Brunt is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Glen Johnson restarts play with the free kick.
16:43 The ball is crossed by Stewart Downing, Steven Reid makes a clearance.
14:55 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jordan Henderson on Steven Reid. Claudio Yacob restarts play with the free kick.
13:12 The assistant referee flags for offside against Stewart Downing. Ben Foster takes the indirect free kick.
11:05 Shot from long range by Steven Gerrard goes wide of the left-hand post.
8:49 Glen Johnson takes a shot. Blocked by Ben Foster. The assistant referee signals for offside against Jonjo Shelvey. Ben Foster
takes the free kick.
7:31 Luis Suarez is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Ben Foster.
5:17 Leiva Lucas concedes a free kick for a foul on Youssouf Mulumbu. Chris Brunt takes the indirect free kick.
4:22 Effort from the edge of the box by Luis Suarez goes wide of the left-hand upright.
3:58 The ball is crossed by Stewart Downing, clearance made by Claudio Yacob.
3:33 A cross is delivered by Liam Ridgewell, save by Jose Reina.
0:00 The referee starts the match.
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