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Football News: West Ham United v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective

West Ham United v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective
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West Ham United v Liverpool A Liverpool Perspective

 

First off, it was a good match, but damn near ruined by the ineptitude of the officials. The Liverpool goal should not have stood, it is amazing the linesman was so poorly positioned and that was just one in a long line of decisions they got hopelessly wrong. By the end of the game the players just looked bemused by each decision. Almost every decision made was incorrect. When one so obvious as the offside is not given, it really does make it difficult to be happy with the game or the result. It just feels uncomfortable.

It is a shame is that the game has been overshadowed by the terrible refereeing as the game itself was a very good watch. Some good end to end football in the first half, with a clever plan set out by Pellegrini to capitalise on a weakness he had spotted in Liverpool's set pieces. With modern day players being robots and unable to think for themselves, none of them were able to figure out how to change things to cope with the Hammers tactics. It is almost embarrassing how badly they were exposed due to a lack of independent thinking and inability to work out how to cope for themselves.

Liverpool had the better of the possession but failed to make the most of it, with most of their attacks fizzling out once the ball was crossed in aimlessly. The accuracy of the deliveries was, largely, very poor, the shooting was mostly on target but lacked any real power and so never really tested Fabianski. While the game was balanced on a knife edge and entertaining, it did not have the quality that you would expect from a team topping the table at this stage. There seemed a real lack of creativity from both sides, particularly the Hammers, who got most of their chances from set pieces.

In the end, I guess that made the 1-1 scoreline a fair result, despite how it was achieved, as neither side really did quite enough to deserve to win. It was only towards the end that West Ham settled for a draw that allowed Liverpool to boss the final stages, and even then they struggled to create much. As did the Hammers, despite hitting on the break, they did not create anything much clear cut other than set piece chances, though they did have a well thought out plan for them.

 


Pellegrini - had a well thought out and executed plan to deal with Liverpool, clearly the team had worked hard on the preparation. Maybe too much time devoted to it, which might well have cost them in their previous match against Wolves, where they clearly had no idea what to do. However, this was a hard earned point, which is in very large part the result of Pellegrini's coaching work and tactical instructions.

Not only had he developed a plan to take advantage of Liverpool's set up when defending set pieces, he also had a well thought out plan to get the team into dangerous positions to win set pieces. Rating: 8.

 

Fabianski - never really tested, but he was very good with what he had to do. Not just in the saves he made, but in coming to collect crosses cleanly to relieve the pressure on the defence, though the crosses were not the best to stretch him, it is still nice to see a keeper catch the ball! Rating: 7.5.

 

Fredericks - Pellegrini's tactics protected his weakness in defending, not really allowing him any license to get forward, but ensuring his pace was back there to deal with danger. However he did not get much help in front of him, so there were a lot of crosses coming in from his side, which he was unable to cut out. Rating: 6.5.

 

Diop - had a decent game very really allowed himself to be stretched but he was not exactly taken out of his comfort zone often. Rating: 6.

 

Ogbonna - played well within himself because he was never forced into positions out wide. It was one of his better games that I have seen because of it. Rating: 6.5.

 

Cresswell - never imposed himself going forward as he would like and offered very little other than a body to close down the spaces, as he often gave away possession with misplaced passes or wayward shots. Rating: 5.

 

Rice - stood out a mile for West Ham. So good to see a young player who has been given the chance to establish himself, rather than just the usual nonsense about them being too young. Instead of saying a youngster is too young to cope with adult football, they have played him and given him the chance to learn to cope with it and the results are showing. He is getting better and better. By far and away the best signing of the season made by them was his extended contract. Rating: 8.5.

 

Noble - his performance was steady but he gave away the ball far too much for my liking. Unfortunately for Noble he plays alongside Rice and that makes his contribution look so much worse as he is clearly nowhere near the same level as his young partner in midfield. Rating: 6.

 

Antonio - despite having all the grace of a ballerina in concrete boots, somehow Antonio's blundering runs can be incredibly effective. His combination of willingness to keep going, pace and raw power are very difficult to stop when he gets a head of steam up, it is only his lack of the same kind of skilful touch Felipe Anderson has that often stops him from being a much more dangerous player. Despite picking up a problem very early in the game, which virtually completely hobbled him and prevented him tracking back at all, he kept going and scored afterwards, but he was clearly only operating at 30% for most of the game. Rating: 7.

 

Snodgrass - worked hard and contributed to the result with his hard work and his ball delivery when he did get on the ball, he was just not able to get on it enough to really make a significant difference. Though that was as much down to the quality of the Hammers shooting lacking accuracy as anything else. Rating: 6.5.

 

Anderson - he moves so beautifully that sometimes it masks how inconsistent his end product can be. His glide along the ground so effortlessly controlling the ball is almost magical at times and looks so graceful, but it can as often be accompanied by him losing the ball as it can by him creating a chance for himself or others or just in playing a pass to a team-mate even. Even so, he is great to watch, but a bit more care taken with his final touch, pass, cross or shot and he would be a well established Brazilian international regular.

However he would probably never have ended up available for the Hammers to buy and fans to enjoy watching in the Prem if he had that little bit extra. So it is a case of just celebrating what he does do well, and he does do a lot well, though he was not at his best in this game. Only one shot and it was off target, too many wayward passes but he does make it all look so good. Rating: 7.

 

Hernandez - used his body really well to stop defenders getting clean headers or just to protect the ball. What let him down, unusually, was the inaccuracy of his shooting, which was just one on target from his 4 shots. He could have done with better delivery as well, most was going to him at head height, when he needs it to his feet against much taller defender. Rating: 7.

 

Subs:

Carroll - replaced Hernandez in the 79th minute. Offers nothing really. Bit of a waste of a substitution if you ask me. Rating: 4.

Obiang - took the place of Noble in the 79th minute. I am not sure what has happened to Obiang, but he is half the player he once was and was dreadful. Every time I see West Ham lately I think that exact same thing of him. Maybe it is just unhappiness at not being able to return to Serie A? Rating: 2.

Masuaku - brought on in the 90th+1 minute to replace Anderson. Barely got on the pitch before the same finished. Rating: 5.

 


Klopp - he was very limited in selection by injuries, but that is no excuse for not reacting to the set play issues. That is something that will have to be looked at, the players clearly lack the ability to think it through and figure out what to do, so he will have to give them instructions on how to deal with these issues in future. Rating: 5.5.

 

Alisson - difficult to judge him, he did look jittery but he never really had much to save or do and his distribution was mainly accurate. Rating: 5.5.

 

Milner - you know what you will get from Milner, hard work and decent quality delivery, but can be exposed when up against pace. West Ham did try to target the space in behind but it never really led to as many chances as it really should have. While he was a mile offside on the goal, his cross was excellent to create it. Rating: 6.

 

Matip - his runs forward are becoming a problem. Every time he does one, he gives the ball away and leaves a yawning gap in the backline due to it. He needs to be stronger and not allow attackers to bully him as well. Rating: 2.

 

van Dijk - probably the worst game that Dick's big brother has had in a Liverpool shirt. For long periods he was awful, even allowing Hernandez to muscle him out of a header. The last game I excused his poor performance as he had been sick, but it is worrying that he has now played poorly in two games in a row. The commanding centre half that fans have become used to seeing was nowhere to be seen and he looked nervous, particularly in the first half. Rating: 3.5.

 

Robertson - I just wonder the point in having an attacking full back whose delivery is routinely awful? Seven crosses he put into the box with just one having any kind of accuracy. Added to that his decision making and passing was off as well and it was just a poor day for Robertson. Since his error that gave away a goal against Leicester City he has been awful, after starting that game really well. He needs to take a deep breath and just go back to basic defending and start taking more time over his crossing. Rating: 2.5.

 

Lallana - one marvellous piece of skill to play in a clearly offside Milner aside, he really contributed nothing to the performance and was clearly miles off the pace of the game throughout. Rating: 2.

 

Keita - I am surprised at the vitriol on the Liverpool site with regard to him. People seem to have expected to see a combination of the best of Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, N'Golo Kante and a touch of the real Ronaldo all mixed in to make the perfect footballer by the sounds of their whines. Made a number of successful dribbles and had very high passing accuracy, he just needed to drive into the box more. Keita is not there to break up play by making the kind of plays Kante is famous for, though some Liverpool fans seemed to be under the illusion that was the kind of player he is because of a few clueless comparisons floating around online that seemed simply based on the fact they are a similar build.

Keita is a player who needs movement in front of him to pick out, something that was lacking in this match for him. He will drive forward with the ball at his feet at pace and then look for a pass or shot, neither were on as the Hammers defended his runs well and the movement ahead of him was lacking. Rating: 6.5.

 

Fabinho - not a bad game but not as outstanding as he has been. Like Keita he suffered due to not having the players to pick out with a pass when he got the ball. The only player finding any space up high was Robertson. Playing as a single pivot with Lallana and Keita in front in the first half left him exposed when the Hammers broke. In the second half he was much better with Keita alongside him. Rating: 6.

 

Mane - scored the goal but was not at his best. The Hammers closed down the space for him very well and did not let him get Fredericks exposed often. Rating: 6.

 

Salah - it was just not coming off for him, worked shooting chances a couple of times but got his shot wrong. Struggled to find space in the centre so began drifting off to the right and deep to get on the ball and looked better then. Rating: 6.

 

Firmino - I love Firmino as a player but he is really struggling for form right now. That was not a particularly good game for him, he was nowhere near his best. Rating: 5.5.

 

Subs:

Shaqiri - replaced Lallana in the 69th minute. Trying too hard to make things happen and ends up forcing a pass forward. The worrying thing is that those forced passes are within his ability to produce but he was missing by miles with them. When he settled down and just played, he was much better. Good thing was that he chased back and provided cover when West Ham broke, so the workrate was back after a few weeks' absence. Rating: 5.

Origi - came on in place of Firmino in the 75th minute. Never really got the chance he was looking for to get in the box and have an attempt. Showed some nice touches and workrate, it was just always too far away from West Ham's box as they kept Liverpool at arm's length. Rating: 5.

 

Just to explain my ratings. I have gone for what I believe is more simple than the usual of totting up points. I have decided to go with 5 as having no effect on the game other than being a body on the pitch. Anything below 5 is a player who had a negative effect on his team and anything above 5 as a positive effect. So a goal scored would be a positive effect and add to the rating, whereas giving away a penalty with a needless challenge would take away from it.

Written by Tris Burke February 06 2019 14:58:11

 

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