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Liverpool v West Ham United – 7th December

Liverpool v West Ham United – 7th December


Liverpool went second in the table with victory over West Ham in a match that featured three own goals plus another strike for the in-form Luis Suarez.

The Reds took the lead when the ball ricocheted in off Guy Demel, before Mamadou Sakho scuffed in a second.

Martin Skrtel’s own goal briefly gave the Hammers hope, but Suarez’s bullet header restored Liverpool’s cushion.

West Ham’s Kevin Nolan was sent off for a poor challenge, before Suarez’s strike deflected in off Joey O’Brien.

A day after Suarez’s national side were pitted against England in the World Cup draw , the Uruguayan provided the latest reminder of the task that will face Roy Hodgson’s defenders in Sao Paulo on 19 June 2014.

Liverpool’s last four home games

  • West Ham – won 4-1
  • Norwich – won 5-1
  • Fulham – won 4-0
  • West Brom – won 4-1

Total: Four games, 17 goals

Brendan Rodgers’s side have now scored a formidable 17 goals in four home matches, seemingly having dispelled concerns from previous seasons that they struggle at Anfield against the Premier League’s so-called lesser sides.

Not that this victory was as straight-forward as the scoreline suggests, after the lowly Hammers more than matched the Reds in the first half until conceding an unlucky opening goal.

Nor was it a vintage display from Suarez, who single-handedly demolished the Reds’ last opponents Norwich in midweek, but still he added another goal to bring his season’s tally to 14 in 10 league games.

By contrast, West Ham’s leading striker Modibo Maiga has not scored for a year, but he came mightily close to doing so twice within the first 20 minutes as West Ham began with purpose and vigour.

Liverpool in title contention – Rodgers

First, the Malian failed to make contact with a clever through-ball from Mohamed Diame, then he saw a powerful header brilliantly saved by Simon Mignolet.

Suarez’s afternoon began in inauspicious fashion when he fired feebly at Jussi Jaaskelainen with an uncharacteristic lack of aplomb, while another Liverpool chance was wasted when Raheem Sterling prodded a shot wide when through on goal.

The Reds were lacking the attacking panache shown in their previous three home games, but they soon found themselves 2-0 up courtesy of scrappy goals either side of half-time.

The first came on 42 minutes when, after West Ham squandered possession on the edge of their own box, Suarez’s low drive was parried by Jussi Jaaskelainen only to rebound in off Hammers defender Demel.

Two minutes after the restart, Sakho met Steven Gerrard’s free-kick with a toe-poke at the far post and the ball bounced into the ground and over the line.

The assist was Gerrard’s final contribution before he pulled up with a hamstring injury that could cause concern for Rodgers and England boss Hodgson.

Liverpool coped comfortably without their skipper, in the short term at least, as they began to dominate against an increasingly ragged Hammers side.

Sterling was guilty of two glaring misses, including one that brought a fine save from Jaaskelainen, but just as West Ham appeared to be crumbling they found a way back into the game via another scrappy goal.

Demel was its creator, sending in a cross for Matt Jarvis whose header back across goal was inadvertently volleyed in by Skrtel.

The complexion of the game was suddenly transformed as Liverpool became nervous and West Ham, without a win at Anfield since 1963, pushed for an unlikely equaliser.

Maiga missed the opportunity to grab it when he sent a close-range effort wide, and soon afterwards the Hammers’ hopes were extinguished when Suarez nodded home Glen Johnson’s superb cross.

West Ham captain Nolan deservedly received a straight red card after he caught Jordan Henderson from behind, before Suarez was involved yet again as the Reds wrapped up the win.

The Premier League top scorer’s strike took a wicked defection off O’Brien and into the net – making this only the second game in Premier League history to yield three own goals.

The defeat leaves the Hammers outside the relegation zone on goal difference alone, and next week’s home match against Sunderland will be one they can ill afford not to win.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers: “Most teams in the world would want Luis Suarez. I don’t think you can put a price on him and I wouldn’t want to.

“I think (Sergio) Aguero is a wonderful player as well but I wouldn’t swap Suarez for anyone.

“His will and desire oversteps the mark the odd time, which has got him in trouble, but if you are talking about tactical and technical ability he is up there with the world’s best.”

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce: “I think we showed in the first half that we didn’t deserve to be 1-0 down.

“But we didn’t recover from that (second) goal and that was the disappointing thing.

“The chance from Modibo Maiga that was well saved (by Mignolet) is one you want to go in when you come to the big boys, but I couldn’t criticise as it was a super save off a very good header.”

 

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