Benayoun 19, Ngog 29, Green (og) 59
West Ham 0
An easy win against a West Ham side that, on this evidence, seem to intent on cutting it as close to the bone as possible in their attempts to avoid relegation.
Mathematically of course this game was not quite a “dead rubber” as far as we are concerned however, the crowd and players muted reaction to the goals and at the end suggested otherwise? Perhaps it was the prospect of long journey to Spain or that fourth place is also increasingly looking like a distant ship smoke on the horizon? So perhaps one could forgive Rafa and the team for not being at full strengthen in terms of players on the pitch and perhaps even mentally?
The crowd certainly seemed to reflect this however, the less than full house was merely an indication of Liverpool’s world wide appeal with empty seats presumably allocated to overseas visitors who where unable to fly in and of course those more dedicated souls who left early in an attempt to get to Madrid. Good luck to them and what next this season for us, first a beach ball and now a volcano! They say things come in threes so perhaps low flying pigeon will deny us the UEFA Cup!
As it turned out we needn’t have worried too much. This was a poor, uninspired West Ham performance which didn’t match the dedication of their fans. They were impotent up front, non combative in midfield, although the absence of key man Scott Parker didn’t help, and brittle in defence. It was all too easy for us even without Torres who would surely have had a field day against such obliging opposition? Perhaps West Ham had already written this game off thinking that Premiership survival lay with their remaining fixtures. If so they are playing a dangerous game but that is their prerogative and why should we complain?
The three goals were straightforward, if not especially beautiful. The first came for Gerrard’s free kick which Benayoun “chested” into the goal. Another Gerrard kick ricocheted off Kyrgiakos’ outstretched leg onto the post and then entered the net via Green’s leg to secure the vital, game killing third goal.
In-between Ngog had given us valuable breathing space and punctuated a good night for him by converting Maxi’s cross on the half hour. This was the Frenchman’s eighth goal of the season which, considering the number of full games he has played is creditable return. He was always on the move and with Torres out tried to make the most of his opportunity to progress up the pecking order.
At the other end West Ham barely troubled us the nearest they got was Carlton Cole’s effort from and acute angle in the first half. Indeed that could have fallen further behind had it not been for a number of penalty appeals that were ignored by the referee. However, there fans remained buoyant and up beat unlike the team, this defeat now means that it’s been 37 top flight games since they won at Anfield.
After the game Rafa said
“We have to keep doing our job. It will be more difficult now to qualify for the Champions League because Tottenham won, normally you would not expect them to win (against Chelsea). But we have to be in a good position if they make a mistake.”
Jamie Carragher shared his boss’s optimism
“Fourth place is certainly not gone, all we can do is win our remaining game sand go where it takes us, and that’s what we intend to do”
Going where it takes us? I suspect it could be a fruitless journey which will hopefully be not the case with the one the players are on now. God speed!
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Agger, Kyrgiakos, Carragher, Gerrard (Mascherano 71), Benayoun (Degen 77), Maxi, Lucas, Kuyt, Ngog (Babel 81) Substitutes: Cavalieri, Degen, Ayala, Aquilani, Mascherano, Babel, El Zhar
West Ham: Green, Upson, Spector (Daprela 80), Faubert, Da Costa, Kovac, Noble, Behrami, Stanislas (Franco 46), Ilan, Cole (McCarthy 72) Substitutes: Kurucz, Gabbidon, Daprela, Alessandro Diamanti, Franco, Mido, McCarthy