Liverpool 2 West Ham United 0
Monday, 31st October 2005
by Graeme Howlett
Saturday, 14th September 1963. The last time that a West Ham team came home from Anfield with a win to their name.Forty-two long years later and there was genuine hope that the Hammers were about to repeat that famous win and break one of the League's longest running ducks. Liverpool, struggling with just two wins from their opening eight games are not the side they once were, whilst the Hammers have been looking reasonably strong of late.
But yet again the away fans were to leave disappointed as West Ham turned in a turgid performance far removed from swashbuckling efforts of recent weeks in games against the likes of Middlesbrough and Fulham.
The match figures said it all; West Ham managed just one shot on target throughout the entire 90 minutes, and only four in total. Liverpool, far from the all-conquering team of yesteryear managed a very average 12, but the divide between the two sides was still clearly evident.
The recent defeat at Manchester City and lucky draw at Sunderland seemed to have altered Alan Pardew's attacking intentions, the likes of which were employed so well at Fulham earlier in the season. With Marlon Harewood ploughing a lone furrow up front, the Hammers strung five across the middle in an attempt to stifle the home side's inventiveness.
It didn't work. Liverpool were the only team who looked like winning the game - and had Djibril Cisse had his shooting boots on the chances are the final score would have shown a much greater divide than the two goals the Reds managed to score.
The first goal arrived 18 minutes into the game following a lively start by the home side; Xabi Alonso finding the net from some 22 yards with a fine strike into Shaka Hislop's bottom left-hand corner.
The home side had to wait until eight minutes from the end of normal time for the decisive second, which came less than two minutes after Alan Pardew replaced Tomas Repka with James Collins. With Collins playing as an emergency centre-forward as part of a three-pronged attack, Liverpool took advantage of the extra space through Bolo Zenden, who found the net from a narrow angle.
In truth it was the least Liverpool deserved, and the Hammers will have to play much better on the road in future if they are gain anything from trips like this. However there were good performances from the likes of Anton Ferdinand and Hayden Mullins, although Matthew Etherington should be worrying about his place after yet another abject display.
However just one win in the last five games means the Hammers need a result against West Brom - also with just one win in their last five league games - next weekend to steady the ship, which although far from sinking is certainly beginning to hit slightly rough waters.
Leaving the ground necessitated a walk past the Hillsborough memorial, which commemorates the 96 supporters who lost their lives in that tragic accident some 15 years ago now. It was particular touching to note that one visiting supporter had left his West Ham scarf behind in a sign of solidarity.
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Player RatingsShaka Hislop
Was by far the busiest keeper and made several excellent saves. Had little chance with the second goal but could possibly have been positioned slightly better for the first.
His best game on the road since the win at Fulham last month. Subbed late on as the Hammers looked to nick an equaliser.
Worked hard under pressure. Rarely managed to get forward due to the Hammers being pressed back for much of the game.
Not his finest game in a West Ham shirt but still did a fair job on Morientes.
A solid game, and he managed to keep Cisse under wraps for much of the game. Some of the home fans were very impressed by his performance.
Worked hard and was at hand to break up several Liverpool attacks. Getting used to this Premiership lark.
Got stuck in for little reward. A fair game.
His worst game since arriving at the club in the summer. Rarely got into the game, although rumours of a midweek injury may have been the reason why he was quiet.
Not at the races in his first Premiership start. Still not looking 100% fit despite making his second start inside five days.
Half-hearted, uncommited and looked like he'd rather have been elsewhere. Rightly hauled off - again.
Uncomfortable playing as the lone striker and snatched at the rare opportunities that were presented to him.
(Replaced Bellion, 60) Ineffective despite getting a decent run-out. You expect more from a player who is so highly rated.
(Replaced Etherington, 67) The former Manchester United man was roundly booed by the home fans upon entering the fray. He was barely noticed thereafter.
(Replaced Repka, 82) Shades of Ian Pearce as JC was thrown up front in search of an equaliser. Two minutes after he came on Liverpool notched their second!
Did not play.
Did not play.
Match FactsWest Ham United: Shaka Hislop, Tomas Repka, Paul Konchesky, Danny Gabbidon, Anton Ferdinand, Hayden Mullins, Nigel Reo-Coker, Yossi Benayoun, David Bellion, Matthew Etherington, Marlon Harewood.
Booked: None booked. .
Sent Off: None sent off. .
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Risse, Hyypia, Carragher, Sissoko, Gerrard, Garcia, Alonso, Cisse, Morientes.
Subs not used: Carson, Warnock, Hamann.
Goals: Alonso (18), Zenden (82).
Booked: Morientes (50), Finna (71).
Sent off: None.
Man of the Match: Anton Ferdinand.