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Liverpool 3 West Ham 0 - Prem (Feb 3 2001)

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LIVERPOOL 3 West Ham 0

Report by Dave Usher at Anfield

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Scorer(s) – Robbie Fowler (2), Vladimir Smicer

Half Time - 2-0

Venue - Anfield

Date - Sat 3 Feb 2001

Star Man – Gregory Vignal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For my money this was one of our finest home performances of the season. The Hammers are a decent side, as proved by their win at Prawn Sarnie HQ last week. The fact that we were without a lot of players through injury makes the performance even more special.

 

Gregory Vignal was handed his debut, and was truly outstanding. Solid in defence, always willing to support the attack, and he's got a hell of a left peg on him. The fact that he's always one of the first to celebrate goals also endears him to me, as he's really taken the club to his heart in the few months he's been here. He's one of us is young Gregory.

 

His inclusion doesn't say too much for the prospects of Ziege though, as in this one game Gregory has already proved himself to be a better option at full back than the German with the big reputation, not to mention salary. It was a slap in the face for Ziege to be overlooked in favour of a rookie, but to be fair to him he did well when replacing Barmby late on.

 

Another youngster also made his Premiership debut, as Stevie Wright got on at long last, in place of the unfortunate Markus Babbel. Let's hope Markus' injury isn't as bad as it looked. Wrighty did well, as I knew he would because he's a damned good player, who probably should have had a chance sooner. Vignal surprised me though I must admit. I've seen a lot of him in the reserves, and although he looked to have a lot of promise, I didn't think he was ready for the first team. I was wrong though, he looks more than ready.

 

The other stars though were Vladi and Robbie. This was probably Vlad's best game for the club. Gerard changed the formation and went with three in midfield with Smicer playing behind Fowler and Heskey. It worked a treat, and Smicer ran riot. He scored one, made one and also made another, only for the linesman to rule it out saying that the ball had already crossed the goalline. It hadn't, and Vlad wasn't happy about it. I daresay Fowler wasn't too thrilled either, as it robbed him of a well deserved hat-trick.

 

How nice it is to see Robbie getting back to his best at long last. Not only was his touch, link up play and finishing out of the top drawer, but he worked his nuts off today, something which he hasn't always done this season. He was everywhere, chasing, harrying and tracking back. Brilliant, and so good to see. Welcome back Robbie, we've missed you.

 

It wasn't nice seeing Titi playing for someone else though, and just didn't seem right somehow. He wasn't too good either was he, but not as bad as Rigo, who came on and had a 'mare, bless him! He got a better ovation from our fans than he did from the Hammers, and speaking to one of them after the game it seems that Songy isn't too popular with them. I thought Titi would have got more of an ovation, but his reaction when some fans on the Kop were singing his name proved why he was so popular.

 

West Ham had the ball in our half and were attacking, but Titi turned to the fans, put his hand on his heart to show how touched he was, applauded the fans and then took a bow! Great stuff from a great man, who'll always be a hero to me, regardless of who he plays for.

 

The only downside from today were the injuries picked up. Babbel looked in a bad way, Biscan (who I thought had a great first half) has hurt his knee and Barmby has had a recurrence of his ankle trouble. Still, as was shown with Vignal and Wright, we can always bring in a couple of the young lads, as they won't let anyone down.

 

Hamann did some awful things, but he also did a lot of good things, and I'd say that overall this was one of his better performances. Stevie G was his usual amazing self, and Sander pulled off a couple of smart saves, although he also had some uncomfortable moments too.

 

A word of praise for the Hammers fans, who despite blotting their copybook late on with the tiresome "Sign On" taunts, were overall top class. The song they've come up with for Joe Cole really made me jealous. There was a time when it was who would come up with original songs for players, but not any more. Unless a player has a two sillible name that be droned out monotonously (a la Eee-goor and Zeee-geeer) or unless it fits into the old Stevie Heighway chant, then they've got no chance of having their name sung at Anfield.

 

The Hammers song for Cole was from an old Spandau Ballet number called 'Gold', and full marks to them for originality. The best thing about it was that everyone joined in. There's plenty of reds who can come up with songs just as good, but getting others to join in is almost impossible sadly.

 

 

TEAM: Sander Westerveld; Markus Babbel (Stephen Wright), Sami Hyypia, Stephane Henchoz, Gregory Vignal; Igor Biscan (Nick Barmby) (Christian Ziege), Dietmar Hamann, Steven Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer; Emile Heskey, Robbie Fowler:

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