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This could be seen as job done, completing the bare minimum expectations of six points from nine after dropping the first three against Hull at the start of the week. It could also be seen as job just about done, since it arguably should have been at least seven if not the full nine.
Brendan Rodgers’ side played pretty well against Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United side, with old boys Stewart Downing and Joe Cole having some time on the pitch of their former club, while Andy Carroll continued to sit out with a long-term problem. For the 20 minute period before and after half-time, Liverpool looked immense, moving the ball around with aplomb and crispness, interchanging their positions and trying to get in behind the defence. The other periods saw the Hammers try to get back into the game, mostly with long punts or crosses into the box, which Mamadou Sakho and Martin Skrtel dealt pretty decently – albeit the latter’s own goal came from some aerial pressure.
Joe Allen did improve on his decent performance from midweek against Norwich. With Steven Gerrard and him constantly switching between who goes forward and who sits back, Allen – when going forward – managed to find his team-mates in tight situations and did take on and dribble at the opposing defenders. When Lucas came on to replace Gerrard around the 60 minute mark, this allowed Allen to press higher up and freed him to go forward more, knowing Lucas would sit back. When West Ham got back to 2-1 and had some control of the game, Allen and Lucas, along with Jordan Henderson, formed a robust shield in front of the defence that stopped the likes of Mohamed Diame and Kevin Nolan from supporting Madibo Maiga.
[Check out the latest Featured Article: http://footballfollowing.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/wc2014-group-stage-draw-thoughts/ about the World Cup group stage draw that took place on Friday!]
Further, Raheem Sterling also improved on his goal and performance against Norwich. He constantly ran in behind the defence from Philipp Coutinho’s low as well as lofted through balls, and almost got an end to a few of them, most noticeably the shot that ended up just wide of Jussi Jaaskelainen’s far post. Sakho had an immense game at the back, dealing with most of the high balls and keeping Maiga in check – except for that one chance when Matt Jarvis found Maiga’s head, which drew a superb save from Simon Mignolet that even his opposite number Jaaskelainen applauded along with the Anfield faithful.
Luis Suarez, not as spectacular as midweek of course, still managed one headed goal from yesterday’s stand-in vice-captain Glen Johnson’s pinpoint cross, and also one deflected goal after feigning the West Ham defenders two, maybe three times.
Trip to White Hart Lane
As was the philosophy of looking at it one game at a time, this month has necessitated the need to look at the games in batches. Rodgers has navigated out of the first batch of December fixtures with some good performances but an above average points haul. How his side will fare in the next batch of fixtures before the new year will define Liverpool’s season. With away trips to Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City, along with the last home game of 2013 against Cardiff (not an easy fixture either – just ask City and David Moyes), this batch of four games should hopefully yield around eight or nine points out of a possible twelve – a win at either away match and two draws at the other two away games along with a Cardiff win. This is the most ideal and realistic hope for Rodgers to end the year on the high and in the running for a top 4 place…
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Saturday saw Liverpool come out on top in another thrilling Anfield performance, beating West Ham 4-1 to go 2nd in the Premier League. In a cagey first half that saw Mignolet make one world class stop to keep them level, the Reds broke the deadlock with a Guy Demel sized slice of luck. Liverpool added a 2nd through Mamadou Sakho early In the 2nd half, before being pegged back by a Martin Skrtel own goal. A Suarez inspired sided pressed back again though as the Uruguayan had a sot deflected in, and then headed home at the back post to seal the victory.
A Demel own goal gave the Reds the lead after 42 minutes. Thanks to @MostarLFC for sending the videos.
Demel Own Goal vs Liverpool by LFCmostar
Sakho makes it 2-0 early in the 2nd half.
Mamadou Sakho Goal vs West Ham United by LFCmostar
Skrtel scored another OG making the score 2-1.
Suarez makes it 3-1 with 9 mins to go.
Luis Suarez Goal vs West Ham by lfmostar
And then Suarez made it 4-1
Luis Suarez 2nd Goal vs West Ham by lfmostar
Daniel Agger misses the game due to illness as Sakho is called in to replace him, Lucas starts on the bench.
Former Red Stewart Downing starts for West Ham while Joe Cole is on the bench.
Starting XI : Mignolet, Flanagan, Sakho, Skrtel, Johnson, Allen, Gerrard, Henderson, Sterling, Coutinho, Suarez.
Subs : Jones, Cissokho, Kelly, Lucas, Moses, Alberto, Aspas.
West Ham : Jaaskelainen, Demel, McCartney, Collins, Tomkins, Noble, Diame, Nolan, Downing, Jarvis, Maiga
Subs : Adrian, O’Brien, Collison, Diarra, C.Cole, J.Cole, Taylor
Follow the game on @empireofthekop or our iPhone App
This Saturday sees the Mighty Reds host (hippo lookalike) Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United side at Anfield. Ahead of the game, the lads bring you all the Uncensored Match Build Up Show, can Liverpool pick up where they left off Norwich after Wednesday’s Suarez Show?