Monday, 7 April 2014

Gerrard Double Blunts Hammers

Liverpool travelled to West Ham looking to make it nine wins in a row and in doing so returning to the top of the league after Chelsea and Man City had overtaken the Reds on Saturday.

One change from the Tottenham match was the inclusion of Sakho in place of Agger in a first start of 2014 for the Frenchman. Liverpool started well as Suarez looked to take his tally to 30 goals with a free-kick from distance but the ball failed to dip enough to test Adrian.

Suarez had another brilliant chance midway through the half as he collected possession on the left edge and created space before hitting for goal but was denied by the upright and the sides remained level.

Henderson and Sturridge combined with the latter attempting a toe-poke from height but it sailed high and caused no trouble for Adrian while West Ham responded as Noble sent in a set-piece from a threatening position but with no crucial end product.
West Ham looked likely to end Liverpool's record of first half goals but when Suarez connected to a Gerrard pass on the edge of the area, The Uruguayan's cross struck the arm of Tomkins and the referee pointed to the spot. Gerrard converted past Adrian to force a re-write of the half-time team talks for both sides. 

However, that changed further when the ball was swept into the area and under pressure from Carroll, Mignolet spilled the ball and Demel tapped into an empty net. Liverpool were furious as it was clear the Belgian had been upended and a replay was even shown on the big screen but the referee allowed the goal after a discussion with the linesman to sour what had been a good first half.

Liverpool made a change by bringing Lucas on for Coutinho and he came close to an instant impact when he tried to find Suarez with a one-two and had another chance when he hit straight at Adrian as the sides stayed level.

Carroll looked to put his side ahead when he connected to a cross and hit a headed effort against the crossbar but it was the visitors who regained the lead just before the 70 minute mark as Lucas picked out Flanagan and the defender went down after a challenge from Adrian resulting in a penalty and Gerrard converted for a second time for his 10th of the season from the spot.

Liverpool held on and ensured a return to the top meaning their fate was in their own hand in the pursuit of a first Premier League title.