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West Ham United 2 Liverpool 3 - Prem (Dec 9 2012)

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West Ham 2 LIVERPOOL 3

Report by Dave Usher

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Scorer(s) – Glen Johnson, Joe Cole, James Collins O.G.

Half Time - 2-1

Venue - Upton Park

Date - Sun 9 Dec 2012

Star Man – Glen Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It wasn't the greatest performance we've seen, but it wasn't bad either all things considered and frankly, who cares. Having played well and not won so often, I'm not going to get all snooty about winning one that maybe we shouldn't have. This was a fantastic result and it was our third win a week. Given the way other results went, this was a massive win for us.

 

We'd had a tough European away fixture three days earlier and West Ham isn't an easy place to go, just ask Chelsea who got steamrollered there last week. Nevertheless, we started brilliantly and finished brilliantly. What went in between wasn't too hot but the character and spirit was admirable and there's a lot to be pleased about, most of all the score, obviously.

 

The first twenty minutes were excellent, as were the last twenty. The spell in between was somewhat ropey but it's unrealistic to expect us to go to West Ham without our best player and dominate them for 90 minutes. We had Shelvey at centre forward, Downing at left back and Joe Cole on the field. We also had an awful referee to contend with, and for a long time it looked like we would come away with nothing. So to turn it around like we did was huge.

 

Enrique going off was a big blow and co-incided with us losing our grip on the game. West Ham will say the same about Diame being forced off, and they'd have a fair point too.

 

The way we started the game was really impressive, right from the first minute we took control, keeping possession and moving the ball around the field. We had a good tempo and we looked really confident, Johnson was running riot and Sterling was getting into threatening positions.

 

It's becoming more and more evident each week how important Johnson is to how we play. In the Rodgers system the full backs are expected to be wingers as well as defenders, as the wideman come inside whenever we attack which creates the space for the full backs. Some teams deal with it better than others, last week against Southampton Johnson had the freedom of Anfield in the first half and it was the same this week.

 

When you have Andre Wisdom, or to a lesser extent Martin Kelly there, it's not that big a deal for the opposition. When it's Glen Johnson? You've got a big problem. Johnson murdered West Ham in the first half, they just couldn't contain his marauding runs.

 

The goal he scored was stunning, but he almost created a couple more as he terrorised the left flank of the Hammers. The flip side was that when our attacks broke down Jarvis was able to exploit the space left by Johnson's forward runs. That wasn't much of an issue early on, but it turned into one when we lost our grip on the game.

 

Sterling then put two shots wide when he probably should have done better, and it wasn't a good half for him. A lot of things didn't go his way but to his credit he doesn't seem to let any of that faze him and always shows for the ball. By the end, he was running them ragged.

 

Enrique going off signalled the start of West Ham getting back into the game. It wasn't so much Downing having to go to left back that was the problem, he did well there to be fair. Cole coming on and Downing having to move away from the right flank was the issue. Downing was doing a good job on the right and his movement was a big part of why Johnson was enjoying so much space.

 

Cole took a while to get into the game, we stopped passing the ball and West Ham came right back into it. Jarvis suddenly didn't have to worry about chasing after Johnson and began making an impact at the other end. He beat Johnson and crossed low towards Carlton Cole and only a terrific block by Agger prevented the striker getting on the end of it.

 

Then with Johnson caught upfield Jarvis had a free run at Joe Allen. It was a complete mismatch, he blew right by him but fortunately his cross didn't find a team-mate. The momentum had shifted though, we were no longer in control of the game even though we still had the lead. Not for long, Mr Probert saw to that.

 

Technically he was well within his rights to give the penalty, it wasn't a 'wrong' decision as such. It was well fucking harsh though and you know he wouldn't have given it at the other end. Allen had his arm up and the ball hit it. That was there for everyone to see, it wasn't in doubt. It's the kind of thing you see in every game, and it's hardly ever penalised. Either it is a pen or it isn't, someone needs to decide and then make sure decisions are the same across the board.

 

Allen wasn't doing that 'making himself big' shit, it was a normal movement and there was no way he could have gone to make a challenge with his arm down. The ball was probably going to clear the roof of the stand too, it certainly wasn't going to hit the target that's for sure.

 

I felt hard done by, but I can't deny that at the other end I'd have been claiming a penalty. There's too much of a grey area with these calls, most of the time they aren't given so when you get one go against you like this you have a right to be upset about it, especially when the same referee then denies you a far more obvious penalty later on.

 

We were already wobbling prior to that decision, it's not like it came completely out of the blue against the run of play. What it did do though was give West Ham a huge lift and put us even further on the back foot. The decision to give the pen was as good as giving them a goal, as Noble doesn't miss spot kicks. 17 out of 17 now for him, although I'd be surprised if he's hit a more accurate one than this. Pepe went the right way, he was at full stretch and had that kick been anywhere other than exactly in the bottom corner he'd have saved it.

 

It got worse for us shortly afterwards, Probert awarded a free-kick after Skrtel looked to have won a header cleanly. He got up early and won the ball before Cole got off the ground, but the referee blew for the foul and we didn't deal with the free-kick properly. Johnson didn't spot Jarvis in acres of space until it was too late, and even when he did he was in no great rush to get tight to him. He gave the winger too much time and space to deliver a cross and the next thing the ball was in the back of our net via the head of the unfortunate Gerrard.

 

I'll be honest, I thought we were done. I didn't like how we were playing after we'd made such a good start, and looking at the personnel we had on the pitch I didn't see how it was going to change. I'd have probably gone into panic mode and brought Suso and Morgan on at half time, but as we'd already been forced into one change that restricted us in terms of substitutions, as the last thing you want is to play all of your cards at once in case you get an injury.

 

Rodgers didn't make any changes at the break, and to be honest the game didn't change much either. We didn't look like scoring and the Hammers were very comfortable. We had a couple of decent efforts, Sterling had a deflected shot just about kept out by the Finnish tramp and Shelvey headed wide after a good ball by Downing.

 

Generally though it wasn't too good. Diame was bossing the midfield and we looked toothless and lightweight, although the effort was never in question. We were struggling to regain the control we had early on. Cole was doing a good job for them holding the ball up and being a nuisance, and the long ball stuff and bombardment with crosses was making life difficult for us.

 

Then Diame's hamstring snapped as he made a run down the right hand side. Allardyce opted to put a centre half on in his place, and lo and behold we regained control of the midfield and the game. Way to go Big Sam, you tactical genius you. I'm sure one day you'll get that big job you claim you deserve. Maybe Madrid will give you a call when Mourinho packs his bags, they're sure to have been impressed with how you handled replacing Diame.

 

Allardyce was lauded last week for the tactical changes that won the game against Chelsea, but this week he more than met his match with Rodgers. Having already sent on Joe Cole, the Reds' boss made his next move by introducing Henderson for Lucas and it paid immediate dividends. 'Hendo' played a big role in this victory and deserves a lot of credit for how he's performed this week.

 

Our equaliser was a cracking goal, really well worked. Henderson played the ball out to Sterling on the left who advanced forward towards the box. Shelvey dropped off to exchange passes with Sterling, the defender came with him and Cole made a run into the space. Textbook stuff. Sterling's first time ball to Cole was superb, a lot of players would have needed to take a touch first as it was a difficult ball to deal with. Raheem adjusted his feet well and the ball hit Cole perfectly in stride. Joe still had a lot to do but he did it beautifully, feigning to shoot to draw the defender in and then lashing it into the bottom corner with his left foot.

 

The goal transformed us, you could see the confidence and swagger return to our game and it was like the opening twenty minutes all over again. Within minutes we had the lead, albeit somewhat fortunately. Henderson saw space on the right and surged into it before delivering a good cross to the near post. Shelvey stretched for it but didn't get there but the ball looped up over the keeper off the boot of Collins.

 

Shelvey celebrated in front of a delirious away end but there was still time left for West Ham to force an equaliser so we had to be careful. Rodgers made another good substitution, sending on Coates to deal with the alehouse ball to Carlton Cole.

 

Sterling almost made the Hammers pay when he got away from Collins but his touch was just too heavy and the Hobo was able to come out and clear. Then came the non-penalty. Shelvey turned superbly and set off on a Ricky Villa style run into the box where he was eventually upended by Reid. The defender got a toe on the ball but he caught Shelvey first. Was it a 100% cast iron pen? No, but it was probably 80-20 and more often than not you'd expect to get it. We're getting fuck all this season though, I'm just glad this one didn't prove costly.

 

Defensively we held out without too many problems, Reina did a good job of punching clear a number of dangerous crosses and despite the referee playing about three minutes extra on top of the allocated stoppage time we held on for a huge three points. We're just four points off 4th place now despite all the problems we've had. That's pretty incredible and bodes well for the new year if we can get a couple of attackers in.

 

10th place in the league isn't good but at this stage it's fairly irrelevant, it's about the points and in terms of that we're well within touching distance of the top four, even if there are five other teams ahead of us before we get there. It's up to us now to stay close and then hopefully make a push in the New Year. Few will have expected us to go to West Ham and win without Suarez, let alone scoring three goals in the process. We need to take advantage of that now by winning the next few games we have coming up.

 

Some other observations, the fact we have no song for Glen Johnson has now become embarrassing. He's one of our best players and has been for a while, if anyone deserves a song he does. In fact, the lack of songs in general for players is something that needs addressing.

 

Finally, what's with the hatred the Hammers fans have for Jonjo? "Shelvey, you're a cunt" they chanted. Why? Is it because he played for Charlton or is there something I'm missing? They chanted the same thing to Gerrard, they really hate Stevie as well. Probably related to him being a part of a failing England side. West Ham fans take that personally, the Hammers won the World Cup in 1966 don't you know. Him stealing an FA Cup out from under their nose in 2006 may also have something to do with it.

 

Team: Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique (Cole, Coates); Lucas (Henderson), Gerrard, Allen; Sterling, Shelvey, Downing:

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I don't get the hatred some fans have for Stevie. He's been one of the best servants for England the last decade, but I guess the West Ham fans feel bad about him ever since 06, which is fine. I didn't like Cantona before the 96 final and even less after.

 

The penalty was a fucking joke and refs need to take into consideration the advantage gained by such handballs as that one. The ball wasn't even heading for the goal, far from it actually. In my opinion it's kind of like the same as if a player accidentally hits the ball with his hand in the box and there is no opposing players around him. He gains no advantage by doing it and therefore it's not a penalty.

 

I thought Sterling had at pretty terrible game and especially his passing was all over the place, but then he got one right and it led to a goal so you can't blame him for trying and we have to live with the mistakes from the young ones this season. And even so being only four points away from fourth is pretty fucking great after a turbulent start of the season. Then again we were just as close at the same time last season before things went tits up. The difference is that things are looking much better both on and off the pitch right now and we don't have to deal with shit I don't even want to think about anymore.

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I think Shelvey had a spell with them as a youth player. Also a West Ham fan I was told yesterday.

 

I think Shelvey started his career at Westham, but quit the club because his older brother who was also at Westham was not played as much as they thought he deserved...

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Guest San Don

Sorry Dave, got to disagree with you about both pen decisions.

 

I wouldnt have been shouting for a pen if the allen one had been reversed. You just cant expect players to run with their arms by their side. Likewise, you cant expect players to get their arm out the way of a ball travelling 70+mph from a metre and a bit away.

 

As for our shout, the player goes through Shelvey. IMO, he doesnt touch the ball. But even if he did, he's only done it after taking Shelvey's feet from under him. Stone wall in my book.

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There have been several games this season where I'd have took Sterling off and it would have been a mistake virtually every time.

So many times he's had a poor first half, poor first hour even, only to come on really strong towards the end of the game.

Yesterday was another such occasion.

Obviously opposition players tiring comes in to it, but it almost looks as if it takes him that long to come to terms with what he is supposed to be doing.

 

The penalty decisions were ridiculous and it's too easy when some say it doesn't really matter cos we won anyway. Maybe that's the best time for people at our club to be raising the matter as it looks less like sour grapes then. And even then only because these days, sadly, that's the way it's got to be.

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There's only one Glen Johnson

Only one Glen Johnson

With a toilet seat

from B & Q

Glen Johnson Liverpools number 2

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The FA cup Dave, they will never get over that one. Last kick and a wonder goal and we took the trophy home.

The Shelvey I do not get, do they have a big hatred for Charlton, they must be the only ones that do.

 

Good report I agree we were not as shit as some were making out, vintage no but we did well in spells.

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The FA cup Dave, they will never get over that one. Last kick and a wonder goal and we took the trophy home.

The Shelvey I do not get, do they have a big hatred for Charlton, they must be the only ones that do.

 

Good report I agree we were not as shit as some were making out, vintage no but we did well in spells.

 

There is a bit of a West Ham/Charlton/Millwall rivalry.

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both penno decisions were an absolute fucking JOKE, only not at all funny.

 

For a start, there's no "grey area" when it comes to awarding a pen for hand ball in the box. The actual rules of the game very clearly state that to be awarded a penalty it has to be "Deliberate". Clearly that wasn't, and never will be. Anf if he'd given the pen, then it's deemed to be deliberate and he should have booked Allen, which he didn't, the incompetent fucking cunt.

 

You're ridiculously generous with the Shelvey incident as well dude, citing "80:20". I'm nto having that, no chance. That was one of THE most blatant, ridiculously obvious pens I've ever seen in my whole life watching the game.

 

The only word to really describe that is "bent". Simple as.

 

Thankfully it didn't cost us, but it so easily could have done. Fucking cunt. The standard of reffing in this country is an absolute disgrace.

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There have been several games this season where I'd have took Sterling off and it would have been a mistake virtually every time.

So many times he's had a poor first half, poor first hour even, only to come on really strong towards the end of the game.

 

Yeah I know what you mean, I'd have subbed him at Goodison at half time. Turns out he was really good 2nd half.

 

Tom, the Shelvey pen wasn't 100% nailed on for me because the defender did get a touch on the ball. I just think he went through Shelvey to get it and the touch was very slight, so much so I'm not sure the ref could even see it. That's why I say 80-20.

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