Monday, 11 May 2009

West Ham 0 – Liverpool 3

Once again we welcome the excellent match report from The Main (Stand) Man.

Premiership Match Report

An excellent performance that mirrored the scoreline from the previous week, and continued the superb goal-scoring form that, had it come a couple of months earlier, may have led to the title being headed up the East Lancs to Anfield.

The atmosphere at the ground reverberated around, with Liverpool’s travelling army keen to match the Hammers fans eager to urge their team towards Europe. It was not long, however, before the home fans were silenced by an excellent move that led to the first goal. With barely a minute on the clock, Torres found himself in yards of space just inside the opposition half. Spotting a run from Gerrard which left Lucas Neill rooted to the spot, Torres threaded an inch perfect ball through for the Liverpool skipper, leaving a relatively simple finish as he rounded Robert Green and slotted home comfortably.

This was to set the tone for the match, with Liverpool dominant throughout despite pockets of resistance from West Ham as they looked to get their passing game going. It was Liverpool, though, who scored the second as Gerrard saw his penalty saved but was able to capitalize on the rebound for simple tap in. The penalty came after Luis Boa Morte, disgruntled after not being awarded a just free-kick following a challenge by Javier Mascherano, followed Torres into the box and blatantly tugged his shirt. Torres was looking to latch onto a delightful chipped through ball from Yossi Benayoun, and given the extra cover arriving to stop Torres had he been allowed to continue, there was no need for Boa Morte’s transgression.

Shortly afterwards, David Di Michele should have got the home team back into the match following an awful error by Jamie Carragher. In his attempt to pass the ball back to Reina under pressure from the Italian, Carragher’s standing foot clipped the ball and knocked it to the side, allowing Di Michele to race through on goal. Upon arrival into the penalty box, however, he seemed unsure as to the best course of action and ended up stumbling over. Unbelievably, he then claimed that Reina had tripped him and turned round to appeal for a penalty from Alan Wiley, who promptly, and correctly, booked him for simulation.

Following the break, the match continued in much the same vein, with Liverpool providing the bulk of the attacking menace. Efforts from Kuyt, Torres and a lively Benayoun were unsuccessful, and it seemed a matter of time until the third goal came. However, it proved a long wait as Liverpool were unable to break down the Hammers defence again until 5 minutes from time. Following a West Ham corner, Gerrard won the ball half way inside his own half. After surging forward in typical style, he found Kuyt on the right wing in space, and his cross found Babel, a second half substitute for Torres. His header was well saved by Green but the rebound came straight back to him and he slammed past a stricken Green to complete the victory.

All in all, another satisfying victory for the Reds, who have proven to be a formidable force on the road this season. The lack of creativity at home during the awful spell following Christmas will ultimately prove to be our undoing this year, and Benitez needs to bring in players that can unlock opposition defences that come to Anfield simply to play for a point. This being said, the season should be seen as one of progression, and if two more wins come from our remaining games then 86 points is a respectable haul even if it does not return the title to its rightful home.

Match time and date: KO 17:30. 9 May 2009

Goals: Gerrard 2, 38, Babel 84.

Yellow cards: West Ham: Boa Morte, Kovac, Di Michele. Liverpool: Aurelio, Mascherano.

Referee: Alan Wiley

Attendance: 34,951

West Ham: Green, Neill, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Boa Morte (Payne 80), Noble, Kovac, Stanislas (Collison 59), Di Michele (Sears 70), Tristan.Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Nsereko, Spector.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Skrtel, Carragher, Aurelio (Insua 54), Benayoun (Dossena 82), Mascherano, Lucas, Gerrard, Kuyt, Torres (Babel 72).Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Hyypia, Ngog, Degen.

How the match has been reported in the papers:

The Telegraph: Liverpool back on top of Premier League
The Guardian: Steven Gerrard double gives Liverpool faint hope of title tilt
The Times: Steven Gerrard eases Liverpool back to the top
The Independent: Gerrard double keeps Liverpool in contention
Sky Sports News: Gerrard keeps up title tilt
Sunday Express: Gerrard’s red hot for Rafa
Daily Mail: Gerrard fights to finish but reds still need a miracle
Daily Mirror: Steven Gerrard puts Reds on the road back to top spot
Daily Star: Super Stevie double tops for Benitez
BBC Sport: West Ham 0-3 Liverpool
Liverpool Echo: West Ham 0 Liverpool FC 3 - final whistle match report

Thanks again Main (Stand) Man, we look forward to hearing more match reports!

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