Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Sofa So Good For SCS

After exiting the Capital One Cup at the hands of Chelsea in midweek, Liverpool returned to league duties with the visit of West Ham United who sat just above the Reds going into Saturday afternoon's meeting.

Due to the packed fixture schedule, the Reds rested Steven Gerrard from a squad that saw Mario Balotelli miss out but saw the first inclusion of Daniel Sturridge after his return from five months out injured.

The reverse meeting between the sides saw the Hammers cruise to a 3-1 win last September which saw them lead 2-0 inside seven minutes this time around it took that long for the first chance to appear as Lazar Markovic hit wide after a good build-up.

Since scoring in the previous meeting, Raheem Sterling has become a shining star for Liverpool and he looked to continue his good form by setting up Jordan Henderson which saw the captain force a save from Adrian after 19 minutes. Sterling turned creator again five minutes later when he found Philippe Coutinho who drew a parrying stop from Adrian as Liverpool built up momentum.

West Ham responded with former Reds striker Andy Carroll latching on to an free-kick but the result was a tame shot which was easily taken by Simon Mignolet. In what seemed to be a trend of the game, Sterling continued to create for the hosts and after going down in the area saw the ball make a fool out of Stewart Downing before Markovic sent the ball wide of the target.

Sterling's effort were justly rewarded six minutes after the interval when a forward pass from Alberto Moreno saw Sterling chest the ball onto Coutinho who completed the one-two to send Sterling in on goal which allowed him to slot past Adrian to open the scoring.

The Hammers response came in the 64th minute when a stray shot across goal from Enner Valencia forced Mignolet into a strong diving save. The biggest cheer of the afternoon came when Daniel Sturridge came off the bench in place of Markovic to mark his return after five months on the sidelines.

His firs impact took just eight minutes when he connected to a pass from Sterling and forced Adrian into a stop but seconds later, he showed just why the fans have craved his return as he latched onto a clever pass from Coutinho before firing past Adrian to the joy of the celebrating Kop stand.

For many, the heralded SAS of last season will still be missed but at the final whistle it seems a new dawn is building for Liverpool in the form of an SCS and long may it continue.