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

 

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West Ham United v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective
Image from: radiolagos.org

West Ham United v Liverpool

What a difference a result makes! Before the game the Liverpool site was all doom and gloom about how the Reds had thrown away a Champions League spot and how Arsenal would nick it. Ninety minutes and four goals later and everything suddenly looks totally different.

The Hammers did not have a lot to play for, other than pride in themselves, but that is the kind of game that Liverpool usually come unstuck in. This time around there was a real steel to the play, with Coutinho, in particular, buzzing around like a midfield terrier making sure none of the makeshift West Ham midfield had an easy day.

Slaven Bilic was completely outthought and could not figure out, with the limited options available to him, how to counter Liverpool's tactics and formation. Worse for him was that his team showed once again they have a soft underbelly and fold when things are not going well. It was never more evident than when James Collins just gave up on the challenge when Coutinho ghosted past him to score. They were far more interested in complaining that the world was against them, rather than defending their goal. There are some real problems beneath the surface there with the attitude of the players.

As for Liverpool, they made the most of it to claim a four nil win at a canter. It could really have become as many as they wanted, as they picked West Ham apart at will towards the end. It was an excellent team performance, dominating from start to finish, though the setpiece defending is still shaky. There are still players unsure of their job in defensive situations, probably due to the instructions they were given being negated by the way West Ham set up. Someone really needs to teach them to just pick up the best headers, if the instructions they were given are no long applicable. Or at least do something constructive rather than just milling around being lost. Modern day players are so overcoached and robotic that they have no idea how to use their initiative.

How different the whole match could have been if Andre Ayew had scored when he had the chance, well chances really. Would the pressure have been too much for a side with a suspect mentality? We will never know.

Mignolet - another good showing from the Belgian keeper, though he did not exactly have a busy day! It must be so frustrating for him when he wants to try and nail down the number one spot for next season, yet he is not being tested.

Clyne - I used to think I was imagining it, but now three or four people have said the same thing to me without being prompted or me saying it first, but it really does seem like players are not keen to play the ball to him. There are numerous times that a player looks at him in space on the right and just turns round and plays the ball the other way instead. That might not actually mean they also think he is a real weakness for the team on the ball, but it does feel that way.

Matip - coasted through the game, clearly getting bored hence his charge forward. Never put under any sustained pressure to test him.

Lovren - was focused and up for it and it showed. Made it a really difficult day for the Hammers forwards, who were feeding on scraps anyway.

Milner - just another ok Milner performance. Defensively he was untroubled and did not do enough in the attack, but it was not a bad day either. He was just there really. Like all the players, he was part of a good team performance.

Can - had to play a bit deeper due to Lucas' absence and did well against Lanzini. He is really growing into a very important player for Liverpool. One of the few who actually uses his mouth to organise the team. Was good to see someone shouting at the defence to get their line in order in open play. There are far too many quiet players in that side, Can becoming more vocal could be a big step forward.

Wijnaldum - he is quiet and often goes unnoticed but he is very important to the way the team play. He never stops running and he comes more into the game as it goes on and the opposition tire, as he does not struggle for stamina. Some nice touches and play from him.

Coutinho - the outstanding player on the pitch, another Couts performance that just makes you glad he is at Liverpool. Not just the way he creates, with a fantastic throughball for Sturridge to latch onto and score the first. Nor the way he scores, with a couple of individual moments of brilliance. It is also his all round contribution as he can be like a midfield terrier biting into tackles in the midfield. I much prefer him in that slightly deeper role, it allows him to be constantly involved in the game, rather than sometimes seeing it pass him by on the wing and drifting inside closing down the space for the rest.

Lallana - played the tip of the diamond and looked a shadow of his normal self physically. He was not able to chase around as much as usual, or was following instructions not to chase back like he normally would. As a result the game almost passed him by at times, but that was partly down to West Ham, who were set up to ensure he could not get control of the game. He did not play badly at all, he was just well marshalled and was unable to get into the game the way he usually does. However, he created a lot of space for others, as the Hammers were so busy worrying about him it left gaps for Liverpool to exploit. Noticeably on the first goal when James Collins charged out to close him down, leaving a huge gap for Sturridge to run into.

Sturridge - excellent performance, though it is clear he did not have that burst of pace he used to have, or faith in himself to use it. His movement is still top class and his touch and ability to put the ball in the back of the net are still there. His goal was the result of his ability to spot a gap, get himself into it and having composure and skill to get round the keeper and slot it into the empty net. Sturridge also showed he has a scorer's instinct, as he was the one player to anticipate the ball breaking across the box when Milner went for a shot/cross and nearly got on the end of it because of that. If only he could stay fit he would be able to get himself into just about any team in the world. He is that good.

Origi - scored a goal, played some good stuff, was unlucky not to have hit the target with a couple from around the edge of the box but was completely overshadowed in this game by his strike partner and Coutinho. Played well though.

Subs:
Lucas - came on for Sturridge in the 87th minute and slotted straight in but had little opportunity to really affect a game which was long since won.
Woodburn - replaced MOTM Coutinho in the 89th minute and barely even touched the ball in those last few seconds.
Grujic - was brought on at the same time as Woodburn, to replace a visibly tiring Lallana. Like Lucas he just slotted straight in but there was little he could do to affect a game that was just petering out in the dying seconds.

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