West Ham United 2-3 Liverpool
0-1 Johnson (11), 1-1 Noble (pen) (36), 2-1 Gerrard (og) (43), 2-2 Cole (76), 2-3 Collins (og) 79
A game that defied expectations in terms of the result, the way it was achieved and who contributed towards it?
All season long many have bemoaned our lack of firepower up front however the moment our best striker is suspended we chose to notch up three goals and all from players with a previous association with West Ham!. True one of them was an own goal however, it’s even more surprising given he way we have struggled for long periods in this area of the pitch since I can’t remember when!
Yesterday was no exception and at one stage looked like the game was going to run away from us before the referee had blown for half time. It is a testament to the determination and application of the side that we turned it around to secure our first set of back to back wins in the Premiership since December of last year. Not a great deal to crow about I know but it needed to be said!
Those who were wondering what BR’s solution to the absence of Luis Suarez would be weren’t unduly surprised. As Expected Jonjo Shevley filled in, otherwise no surprises as Gerrard returned from illness.
It was us who took the initiative pressing early and soon we found a potential weak spot in Matt Jarvis who was given a thorough toasting by Glen Johnson on the right. The end result of all this, from Gerrard’s ball was a viscous, arrow straight, right foot strike into the top corner that gave Jaaskelainen, in the West Ham goal, no chance. As is the nom with players who score against their former clubs these days his celebrations were no existent, it must have been hard to keep things under wraps given the nature of the goal?
We nearly made it two when Johnson feed Sterling only to see the shot go wide however, as with their game against Chelsea last week, going a goal behind was the signal for West Ham to up their game. We were pushed further back and, from having a tepid introduction, the our defence was suddenly busy. The, deserved, equaliser came in controversial circumstances with Joe Allen “handling” Demel’s shot from a point blank position. A penalty? If so then clearly Allen is in the wrong business his reactions to “deliberately” get his hand to the shot from three yards suggest an alternative career as a fly catcher! Nolan converted the spot kick and West Ham then took a deserved lead when Gerrard misdirected Jarvis’ cross into his own net.
The second half suggested nothing less than more West Ham domination. However we dug in and aided by a West Hama reshuffled caused by an injury to Diamé, a key player in last weeks’ turnaround, yanked control away from the home team. Although it played it’s part it wasn’t all through delicate passing some of it we toughed out which suggests there is also an alternative or another string to our bow should it be required? As it was we took control Sterling fired over from Downing’s pass who then fed Shelvey only to see him head wide. Sterling and Shelvey finally hit gold dust and were involved in our goal crisply exchanging passes before feeding Joe Cole, on for Enrique, who finished with precise cross shot off the post. Cue more snuffed out celebrations but hopefully another tentative step on the road to recovery for Cole?!
Jonjo Shelvey, despite also being on West Ham’s books, doesn’t seem to go in for such muted shenanigans hence his elaborate “glasses” celebrations three minutes later. Perhaps this was an in vain attempt to deflect attention from the fact that he was beaten to Henderson’s cross by Collins causing the ball to loop over Jaaskelainen into the net. Shelvey could have scored and made it four after a good run into the area only to see his claim for a clear penalty turned down. Even in victory, and without Suarez, nothing changes!
After the game BR said.
“Even without Luis, there was quality and fight in the team. The players were brilliant. We have been through a lot this week, in terms of getting back a day late (from Thursday’s game in Italy) and I thought we thoroughly deserved this. We are making steady progress.”
The league position is slowly beginning to show this, we are just four points off the sharp end with four games coming up that normally we should be expected to win. Dare we hope?
West Ham United; Jaaskelainen, Reid, O’Brien, Collins, Demel (McCartney – 46′ ), Nolan, Jarvis, Taylor Booked (Maiga – 86′ ), Noble, Diame (Tomkins – 73′ ), Cole Substitutes: Spiegel, McCartney, Tomkins, Spence, O’Neil, Moncur, Maiga
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Jose Enrique (Cole – 27′ ), Agger, Skrtel, Gerrard Booked, Downing, Lucas (Henderson – 71′ ), Allen (Coates – 86′ ), Sterling, Shelvey Booked Substitutes: Jones, Coates, Carragher, Cole, Henderson, Suso, Morgan