West Ham 2-3 Liverpool

West Ham 2-3 Liverpool

Premier League
Boleyn Ground
Saturday 19 September 2009 5:30 pm

Fernando Torres celebrates against West Ham

Liverpool moved up to joint 2nd in the Premier League after a deserved win at Upton Park. But it wasn’t without incident in a pulsating game which ended the first half at 2-2.

Rafa Benitez will be furious with both Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel who put in woefully under par performances.

The reds are the league’s top scorers, but the problems at the back will be Benitez’ primary concern.  Jamie Carragher giving away a penalty after being out-paced and then both him and Martin Skrtel failing to jump high enough to allow Cole to head in West Ham’s second.

Liverpool recalled Javier Mascherano to the starting XI after he missed the last league game against Burnley through injury.

West Ham had a fine chance early on after some shocking lax defending from Carragher – fortunately West Ham hit the post. The reds then could have broken the deadlock but Yossi Benayoun slid his shot well within grasp of the goalkeeper.

It was Fernando Torres who sprung the game in to life with a magnificent solo goal, reminiscent of his very first Liverpool goal against Chelsea.

Torres scores the first at Upton Park

But within minutes West Ham had nicked one back from the penalty spot. Carragher was outflanked and barged Hines over.

Carragher gives away a pen against West Ham

The penalty was not without incident.  The Italian Diamante ran up to the kick and slipped, sliding in to the ball with his right foot before firing the ball in with his left.

The laws of the game state you can only kick the ball once in a penalty, but the referee hadn’t spotted it and incorrectly gave West Ham the goal.

Liverpool were back on the offensive and grabbed a corner. Proving once again that Gerrard should be at the edge of the box and not taking the penalties the ball floated across for Gerrard to fire his header down towards the goal.  Dirk Kuyt managed the faintest of touches to make sure it went in to the net and claims the goal.

Almost immediately, West Ham were back level when Liverpool’s Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel combined to allow Carlton Cole a header from a corner. Reina had little chance.

The second half the reds dominated, Yossi Benayoun was particularly involved, with some superb movement on the ball.

The reds continued the battle, Benitez sent Babel on and it proved to be instrumental.

It was the Dutchman’s cross which Torres headed home in the 74th minute to put the reds back in to the lead for the 3rd time in the game. No wonder Torres delivered a peck on Babel’s cheek in definintely the most ‘romantic’ moment of the match.

Babel and Torres

There would be no 3rd time lucky for West Ham and the reds went on to secure all three points.

Liverpool’s critics were writing off our season after 3 games but despite not playing outstandingly well so far this season – the reds are back in the top four.

No doubt people will flap about the zonal marking – but West Ham’s man marking for our 2nd goal was abysmal. The ‘system’ wasn’t at fault today, but two under par central defenders.  With Agger hopefully on the way back, Kyrgiakos waiting in the wings and even Ayala eyeing up the first team – both of them need to stay on their toes, in every sense.

Post Match Comments

Rafa Benitez:

“We showed character and the team has confidence. Four wins in a row means that the team is in good shape.”It was a very competitive game, they were working very hard too, but we gave them hope. It was difficult, but we did enough to win.”

Teams and Match Stats

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Insua, Carragher, Skrtel, Benayoun (Aurelio 85), Kuyt (Babel 60), Gerrard, Leiva, Mascherano, Torres (Riera 89)

Unused subs: Cavalieri, Kyrgiakos, Degen, Dossena

Goals: Torres (20, 75), Kuyt (41)

West Ham: Green, Upson (Gabbidon 25), Ilunga, Tomkins, Parker, Noble, Faubert, Behrani (Kovac 27), Cole, Diamanti (Dyer 65), Hines

Unused subs: Kurucz, Spector, Payne, Nouble

Goals: Diamanti (27 pen), Cole (45)

Ref: Andre Marriner

Attendance: 35,658

Our Man of the Match

You can’t argue with a great individual goal and scoring the match winner. So we won’t. Fernando Torres.

  • Kev

    A good win. We showed the same fighting, never say die qualities that helped us to grind our way to the top of the league last season without really playing that well. The better football tended to coem in the latter months of the season, a hallmark of Liverpool under Benitez.

    We defended sloppily at times and I hate to say it but I think Carra is about finished. Of the two centre halves he is the leader, the organiser the one that marshalls the back four. It’s not good for the defensive unit if the organising figure is shakey. It spreads like an infection throughout the rest of the back four. He’s never had too much pace but this weakness to his game is really starting to show. I think he can still up his game and show us all what a top defender he is, but long-term I think his days are numbered.

    As for the zonal marking, I don’t see it as so much of a problem. Man-to-man marking shares one major skill with zonal marking. The ability to attack the ball and win it. If you get to the ball before the opposition, it doesn’t matter if you play zonal or man-to-man, however, we have been outjumped, out timed and out muscled in the air this season from set pieces. I can’t think off too many ‘free’ headrers the opposition have had in our box. For me, one key reason for this is the absence of Hyypia at the heart of the back four. Rafa needs to address this problem quickly otherwise we may fall too far behind the leaders.

  • cherd

    you cant drop our 2 best central defenders that would be mad they will come back together i am sure rafa is working hard on it, at last we have the babel we was meant to get, i would like to see him play right wing next prem game with yossi on the left they did a lot of damage and i think dirk would do well behind torres, place stevie back and get rid of bloody lucas!

  • ZA

    Agreed. Our defense needs to tighten up and stop making stupid errors! Babel is showing more promise and making less errors than he used to, he’s def playing better, and what can be said about Torres, he’s fantastic!

    It’s a win, but we really can play better than that! We are looking more solid though… its just the careless mistakes that need to stop! We were also giving away possession due to poor passing! Carra made some big mistakes but he is a great defender, he kept himself together and played much better during the later session of the game… he doesnt need to be dropped. Thats crazy!

    All in all we are looking much better but are still not at 100% … But we getting there!!

  • Imran

    We look vulnerable at the back especially at set pieces together with the zonal marking system that makes to sense whatsoever yet no doubt out often stubborn manager will continue to persist.Space doesn’t score goal’s but players do so mark them otherwise we’ll continue leaking from the back like the titanic!.Carragher,though a very good defender is always a candidate to do something stupid like give away posession in a crucial area or put the ball in his own net so need’s to pull his socks up!

    Hooray!!!!…Babel looked half decent setting up the all important winner so deserves a pat on the back,he has much potential and can be lethal if he can find some good form and consistency.Benayoun was again good and Torres proved that he’s the best centre forward in the world who can score for fun even when having a rather quite game.Upton Park is always a banana skin so all in all it was a good win but we can certainly perform much better then that.

  • glen gaffney

    this was another ugly win but another 3 points. we have to tighten up defensively or else. now 4 wins 12 goals 2 against and 3rd in the table. these are the positives. torres is just pure majic what a joy to watch. kuyt is getting the skill of picking up garbage goals.drop carra and skirtel they nearly lost us the game. babel dont knock him he assisted on torres game winner