Tuesday, 11 December 2012

West Ham United v Liverpool

After securing qualification for the knock-out stages of the Europa League, Liverpool resumed their domestic campaign away to West Ham at Upton Park.

Luis Suarez's booking last weekend meant he was suspended and Rodgers' line-up had Jonjo Shelvey playing in a 'false 9' role or in the formation of a 4-6-0 which was used in the 2-2 draw with Young Boys recently.

 The home side started the better and could have been ahead in the sixth minute after Jarvis' cross was cleared by Agger into the path of Diame who hit a shot that deflected of Carlton Cole and crept past the post.

In the 10th minute, Gerrard spotted Johnson in space down the right who then took the ball past Jarvis,headed for the box and on the edge unleashed a screamer which flew into the top corner to put Liverpool 1-0 up.

The lead should have been doubled within minutes as Sterling had two good chances to score, the first came as he cut through the defence and fired a low shot in which failed to test Jaaskelainen and the second came after some skillful movement by Johnson but again no test for the keeper.

West Ham's force down the left wing continued to cause trouble for Liverpool and on the half-hour, Jarvis swept in a cross for Cole but Agger thwarted the chance with an amazing block.

However in the 35th minute, disaster in the Liverpool box as a shot from Demel struck the arm of Joe Allen and a penalty was awarded. Noble struck the penalty well past a diving Reina and the Hammers were level.

West Ham pushed to take the lead and luck seemed to be on their side as a dangerous cross from Jarvis hit the head of Gerrard who headed it into his own net to give the Hammers the lead and left the Liverpool captain devastated with his side two minutes from the break.

West Ham began the second half full of confidence with Diame and Nolan the standout stars for the Hammers.

Sterling should have equalised after being picked out by Downing and being free in the box he forced a superb save from Jaaskelainen and Downing was again the creator as he set a chance for Shelvey who nodded wide.

Then a breakthrough for Liverpool with 15 minutes to go as Sterling and Henderson exchanged passes and found Joe Cole in space, Cole hit the ball across goal and past Jaaskelainen to bring Liverpool level at 2-2.

The teams were level for all of three minutes as Henderson broke down the right wing and spotted Shelvey in the box, in came the cross and Shelvey went for the ball with defender Collins and Collins got the first touch but in doing so flicked the ball over the keeper and into his own net to hand the lead to Liverpool at 3-2.

Neither side were able to add to the score in the final minutes and at the sound of the whistle, Liverpool had secured a memorable win after an inspired comeback the kind not seen since the time of Benitez and also meant that the win propelled them into the top half of the table.

Next up is Aston Villa at home on Saturday and with Villa struggling this season, Liverpool will be confident of adding to the three game unbeaten streak they have while also hoping to improve on the 1-1 draw from last season.