Liverpool halt the Hammers revival
Written By: Robert Halter
Buoyant by a 3-1 home win over Chelsea in their last league game, the Hammers headed into the Liverpool fixture at the Boleyn Ground, three points and three places in the table higher than the Reds, who prior to this fixture had been out of form on their travels with just one away win during the new campaign but Brendan Rogers had to select a Liverpool side without the influential Luis Suarez through suspension for the trip to face Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United in the early part of December. A stunning strike by Glen Johnson gave Liverpool the lead in the eleventh minute as he cut inside Matt Jarvis and then from long distance curled the ball into the top left corner after his club captain Steven Gerrard had supplied the pass through. Four minutes later, Johnson set up Raheem Sterling, who was close to adding a second for the Reds as he drove the ball wide of the right post. Joe Cole made a return to face his old club as he replaced Jose Enrique, after the midway point of the first half as Liverpool made their first switch. However it was the Irons that got a route back into the game when referee Mike Jones pointed to the spot following Joe Allen’s ball to hand from Guy Demel’s strike in the area. Mark Noble converted the penalty kick into the bottom left corner to bring the Hammers level on thirty six minutes. After a foul by Martin Skrtel on Carlton Cole, a quickly taken Mark Noble free kick from inside Liverpool’s half, found Jarvis on the left flank and his well measured cross caused havoc in the Reds defence and while under pressure, Gerrard headed the ball into his own net to gift the Irons a 2-1 advantage in the forty third minute. The Reds tried to retaliate two minutes later but Jonjo Shelvey was unable to convert Stewart Downing’s low cross. Demel made way for George McCartney before the start of the second half. On sixty seven minutes, Jussi Jaaskelainen was forced to tip over a solid strike by Raheem Sterling from outside the box to keep Liverpool at bay. An in swinging cross by Downing failed to be converted from a Shelvey header, three minutes later as the Reds pressed for an equaliser before subbing Lucas Leiva for Jordan Henderson. When Mohammed Diame pulled up clutching his hamstring, he was taken off on a stretcher as James Tomkins took up the cause for the claret and blue army. With just less than quarter of an hour of normal time remaining, Joe Cole came back to haunt his former Hammers as he latched onto Sterling’s pass through and slid the ball past Jaaskelainen’s dive into the bottom right corner to level the match. Liverpool then found a way in front on seventy nine minutes as Henderson whipped the ball in and Shelvey stuck out a boot to loop the ball onto and over James Collins into the left hand side of the goal. On eighty five minutes the final changes were made as the Irons Modibo Maiga replaced Matt Taylor and the Reds Sebastian Coates took over from Allen. Although by this time Liverpool had done enough to cement a 3-2 victory which took the Reds a place above the Hammers in the Premiership to tenth spot with the same amount of points.