Liverpool returned to winning ways with a comprehensive defeat over West Ham United. It was Pepe Reina’s 15th clean sheet, putting him clear in front for the Premier League golden glove, in a game that Liverpool never needed to break in to a sweat.
Goals from Yossi Benayoun and David N’gog helped the reds to a 2-0 half time lead, before Sotirios Kyrigakos shot came back off the post to go in off the Hammers keeper.
With no Torres, Rafa opted to start with the young French striker up front. Lucas and Gerrard played in central midfield and Dirk Kuyt operated just off N’gog. Rodriguez and Benayoun patrolled the flanks.
Rodriguez went closest early on, firing a shot straight at Robert Green.
Liverpool’s crosses from wide were finding their way in to West Ham territory and in the 19th minute a Steven Gerrard free kick whipped in to the penalty area. Unmarked, Yossi Benayoun was closest to react and glanced the ball off his chest in to the back of the net.
Ten minutes later and the game was effectively over. Rodriguez firing a well timed cross in to the box, and it was David N’gog who dispatched the ball in to the net on the half volley. It was a goal straight out of the Torres textbook, suggesting that N’gog has been learning something from his mentor.
Liverpool had a number of strong penalty shouts ignored, but it was never going to matter hugely.
The second half saw the reds add a third and highlight the importance of Kyrgiakos, not just as a strong defensive figure, but as one of Liverpool’s biggest goal threats.
Another Gerrard free kick and Kyrgiakos made sure he was first to the ball. The ball hit the post and went in off Robert Green who was stranded 2 yards out of the goal.
The reds prepare for a 1200 mile trip by coach, train and plane to Madrid on Tuesday morning with some confidence restored.
“We have to keep doing our job. It will be more difficult now [to qualify for the Champions League because Tottenham won [against Chelsea], normally you would not expect them to win.
“But we have to be in a good position if they make a mistake.
“West Ham started the game pushing but as soon as we scored the first goal it was easier, we had more chances and we scored the second goal and the third one killed the game.”
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Agger, Rodriguez, Lucas, Gerrard (Mascherano, 72) Benayoun (Degen, 78), Kuyt, Ngog (Babel, 81). Subs: Cavalieri, Aquilani, El Zhar, Ayala
West Ham: Green, Upson, Spector (Daprela,80), Da Costa, Kovac, Noble, Behrami, Faubert, Stanislas (Franco, 45) , Cole (McCarthy 72), Ilan Subs:Gabbidon, Diamanti, Mido, Kurucz, ,