Sunday, 27 February 2011

West Ham off the bottom after hammering Reds

Sports - Football - Premier League - West Ham 3:1 Liverpool

Well, I was a fool thinking this was three points in the bag for Liverpool before the match. It was a sour awakening and dire shakeup-and-wake-up call during and after the match.

The first half showed the trend of the match straight away: Thomas Hitzlsperger making his debut for the Hammers was a pain in the Reds' neck from the start - too fast a furious for the zoned out guests.

The German midfielder made some fine runs and breakthroughs and turned to provider on 22 when playing a neat one-two with Scott Parker, the England midfielder opened the scoring with a fine flick past Pepe Reina, his fifth league goal of the season.

Liverpool's half went from bad to worse when Martin Kelly had to come off injured and only seconds later they fell 2-0 behind after poor marking left Pepe no chance to stop Demba Ba from heading the ball into the top right hand corner off a Gary O'Neil cross.

If that wasn't bad enouhg for the Reds, worse was to come: Raul Meireles had to come off injured too with a hamstring on 49 when West Ham were just getting in the modd to score again - Ba putting a sweet shot just wide and forward Frederic Piquionne missing an open header after a corner confusion.

Man of the match Parker and Piquionne broke forward again on 73, 2 v 2, Reina had to come out to the rescue. Just minutes later, the Spaniard spilled Piquionne's shot but was able to recover, just.

It could have been 3, 4 or 5-0 before Luis Suarez made a superb turn and pass on the edge of the box to get the ball across goal for Glen Johnson to have an easy job of tapping it in after total mayhem broke out in the box and getting the Red fans' hopes up of a comeback.

It didn't last long though, just over five minutes, before super-sub Carlton Cole shrugged off Martin Skrtel on the run through to make it 3-1 and three points for the Hammers, a job well and truely done, finished off and completed, getting them off the bottom of the table.

Liverpool meanwhile will have to get their act together, with United as their next opponents, things will get everything else but easier! If they want to get anywhere near or even just closer to the top four that is...

West Ham: Green, Jacobsen, Tomkins, Upson, Bridge, O'Neil, Parker, Noble, Hitzlsperger, Ba (Cole 88), Piquionne (Spector 82).
Subs not used: Boffin, Reid, Boa Morte, da Costa, Hines.

Liverpool: Reina, Kelly (Cole 43), Carragher, Skrtel (booked 7), Wilson, Lucas, Meireles (Ngog 49), Johnson, Gerrard, Kuyt, Suarez.
Subs not used: Gulacsi, Kyrgiakos, Maxi, Spearing, Poulsen.

1st half stats:
West Ham-Liverpool
Attempts: 5-5
On target: 4-3
Offsides: 0-0
Corners: 2-1
Free kicks: 3-6

2nd half stats:
West Ham-Liverpool
Attempts: 11-6
On target: 3-4
Offsides: 0-0
Corners: 4-5
Free kicks: 4-5
60%-40% (59.-69.min)

Sky Sports Stats:
West Ham-Liverpool
Possession: 41.6%-58.4%
Passing Success: 75.1%-78.7%
Tackles/Success: 18/72.2%-21/71.4%
Territorial Advantage: 49.7%-50.3%

Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)
Man of the match: Scott Parker

Monday, 7 February 2011

Reds spoil Fernando's first Blues show

Sports - Football - Premier League - Chelsea 0:1 Liverpool

Fernando Torres' debut for bitter rivals Chelsea proved fruitless as his former side took all three points at Stamford Bridge, continuing the revival under King Kenny and taking the Reds up to sixth for the first time this season after their fourth consecutive win and clean sheet, whilst Chelsea hover in fourth spot, 10 points behind United at the top, whilst Spurs are creeping up on them behind only on goal difference in fifth.

The Spaniard nearly got a dream start when Maxi Rodriguez passed the ball back to his former team mate a couple of minutes into the game, however, he ended up mishitting the ball over the goal creating no worries for Pepe Reina.

The only other chance for £50m-star-striker, the most expensive player in British football, was blocked off by Jamie Carragher later on in the first half, the Liverpool defender putting his body on the line as always, although just making a comeback from a long term injury (shoulder surgery).

After only 66 minutes Fernando's first blue stint ended disappointing for Carlo Ancelotti when he came off for Ivorian forward Salomon Kalou

However, things went from bad to worse for the Blues just minutes later when Raul Meireles latched onto Steven Gerrard's cross and put it into the back of the net past Branislav Ivanovic and Petr Cech after the two had clashed and caused confusion not for the first time in the match giving both a game they would like to forget very quickly.

Maxi must have been a very relieved man after he had missed a sitter earlier in the first half, hitting a Gerrard cross against the crossbar, not even six yards outside an open goal.

In the end, Liverpool's organisation, resilience and determination paid off, going without new signing Luis Suarez who stayed unused on the bench, making Chelsea's normally all-too-threatening-and-intimidating-looking front trio of Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Torres look all-too-ordinary, the home side lacking options in width and creativity.

"He Who Betrays Will Walk Alone" said one of the Liverpool fans' banners and it looked pretty much like that for the 66 minutes Torres was on the pitch.

"We have to give Fernando time to adjust to the shape but I think that he will do it quickly," said Ancelotti. "I took him off as, after 66 minutes and a very busy week, it was good for him to come off," he said on the BBC website.

"Fernando has experience, he has confidence and didn't show problems before the game. He was enthusiastic to play, excited, and it didn't show a problem," added the 51-year-old.

Dalglish's take on the Spaniard was to the point, showing he is in the past as the Reds are concerned: "As this football club has always said, the most important people are the people who are at Liverpool Football Club and that is the way it will always be."

Chelsea: Cech; Bosingwa (David Luiz 73), Ivanovic, Terry, Cole; Essien, Mikel (booked 1, Malouda 72), Lampard; Anelka; Torres (Kalou 66), Drogba.
Subs not used: Turnbull, Ferreira, McEachran, Sala.

Liverpool: Reina; Carragher, Skrtel, Agger; Kelly, Johnson, Gerrard, Lucas (booked 74), Maxi (Aurelio 75); Meireles (scored 68:26, Poulsen 84), Kuyt.
Subs not used: Gulacsi, Suarez, Jovanovic, Kyrgiakos, Ngog.

1st half stats:
Attempts: 5-2
On target: 0-1
Offsides: 3-1
Corners: 2-2
Free kicks: 3-3
59%-41% (20)
51%-49% (HT)

2nd half stats:
Attempts: 10-2
On target: 1-2
Offsides: 2-0
Corners: 2-0
Free kicks: 3-5
49%-51% (80)
52%-48% (FT)

Sky Sports Stats:
Possession: 57.4%-42.6%
Passing Success: 83.7%-78.4%
Tackles/Success: 16/62.5%-21/76.2%
Territorial Advantage: 53.7%-46.3%

Referee: Andre Marriner
Man of the match: Raul Meireles