LIVERPOOL 0 – 3 WEST HAM
Liverpool have suffered their first defeat of the season as West Ham “hammered” Liverpool in a league game at Anfield for the first time since 1963.
Looking at both squad and their results leading up to this fixture, it seemed as if both teams were making equally good starts to the season. Both were making their way up the table and had done well enough not to concede against Arsenal. In this fixture however, it seemed like Liverpool were outplayed and did not ever seem like the better side from about three minutes into the game, which is all it took for West Ham to score their first goal.
Liverpool’s manager clearly thought we were doing well enough with the current side as zero changes were made by Brendan Rodgers to the squad that faced Arsenal in their goalless draw at the Emirates Stadium. You could (and I did previously) say we did very well in that game, so it’s reasonable and fair to not complain that the squad stay the same. However, we really didn’t seem like that same side which had done so well as we entered into the first half of this game and were losing in under 4 minutes at our “Fortress”, Anfield.
One player that simply wasn’t on form today was Dejan Lovren. He’s really not earning any respect from the Liverpool fans as he continues to make costly mistakes which have led to goals being scored and now, games being lost. I know that many fans would like to see him removed from our starting 11 and replaced (most likely with Mamadou Sakho) to increase the strength of our back line. I feel far less inclined to place any blame on Simon Mignolet (it really hasn’t been his fault) than I do to the defence in front of him and Lovren has played a rather large part in our first defeat.
James Milner continues to lead our side and in my opinion, is doing a good job of it in the absence of regular captain Jordan Henderson who is unfit to play currently. We’ve seen him hold the team together during wins, draws and now losses. He’s a passionate player who controls the midfield, making tough challenges that perhaps other players would not do for fear of being booked or sent off. You certainly can’t call him a coward, he’s as brave as I’ve seen in a long time. That’s what I like to see and though he’s not the best of all the players on the pitch, he’s playing quite consistently well in all fixtures and was not one of the players who received a card from the referee in this game. Keep it up, James!
I still felt some hope and belief that after conceding one goal, we could at least equalise, perhaps even get a second goal. hold them back from scoring another and win the game 2-1 . We had 87 minutes (not including added time) left to change the way the game was going and get goals of our own, but it just never happened.
Coutinho was one of the players who just kept going when we had started to lose. He hit the post (and has done so in other games… when will he put them in?) and I have high hopes that he can work on his accuracy on the training ground to turn these “almost had a goal’s” into actual goals for us. Goals scored and not goals almost scored are far more valuable to the club and it’s fans.
He’s doing so well and with a little more effort he can help to turn the games in our favour, create better results even when we concede goals ourselves. This player’s got the chance to make that happen, but it’ll take some hard work.
He’s one of our most dangerous players and we need him to be playing as well as possible. He has the potential to be a real superstar for Liverpool. He’s a valuable squad member – but he’s not yet a “Liverpool legend”. To take it to the next level he’ll have to improve his scoring rate, become a game changer that shows even if we concede a goal, we’ll score too and maybe even win our games.
The second half was the most disappointing part of the game for Coutinho as he got himself a second yellow card, which will see him miss the trip to Old Trafford as we face Manchester United soon. The challenge itself was not worthy of a straight red card, but having been booked already earlier in the game, Coutinho was unfortunately still forced to leave the pitch as we struggled even harder to make any kind of “comeback” (including perhaps being able to salvage a draw and a single point).
Coutinho’s Brazilian friend Roberto Firmino was playing just as well as Coutinho, except without getting booked. Running around the pitch, making dangerous runs at the West Ham defence, generally doing all he could to help the team in its offensive plays. He’s an amazing talent that will be of much value to Liverpool this season, you can see it even now. Only brought off as Coutinho was asked to leave the pitch by the referee following his second yellow card and we had ten men, Firmino was not at fault for his being substituted. He’d played as well as he could have without actually scoring a goal – I’d only be able to praise him any further if he had put the ball in the net. I’m officially naming him as my Man Of The Match and may he continue to impress the Reds fans as we watch him some more this season.
Christian Benteke played well again, though no more goals for him as he continues to play without scoring. That’s not just down to him, our manager continues to play 4-5-1 and leave Benteke all alone without another striker to partner him (Rodgers did the same to Balotelli last season). As the season continues and Daniel Sturridge returns to the first team once more, I sincerely hope our formation changes to 4-4-2 and Benteke gets to play alongside Sturridge as it’s something he’ll need to keep up his scoring. When Suarez scored 31 goals in the 2013-2014 season, it was Sturridge who played alongside him, even scoring 21 goals of his own. I think we can see an impressive partnership like that happen again, if the manager just gives it a chance. The squad has potential to see goals flowing regularly once more, but the manager will have to be a part of it and make the necessary changes or it just won’t happen.
Danny Ings was brought on near the end of the second half, merely to see if he could make an impact on the game as we were already trailing by two goals. Though West Ham scored a third goal after his substitution, he still made his contribution and there are some fans who were happy to see him. Perhaps if he gets a chance to start a game, he could take more time to show what he can do for a longer period and who knows what might happen… he could end up scoring more goals than Benteke. We’ll only know if that’s possible if the manager offers him that opportunity, though it has to be said that he’s more likely to choose the striker who cost £32M (Benteke) when he’s thinking of who to place in our starting 11. Ings was a free transfer, but that doesn’t mean he’s worthless. We just need to know when and how to use him most efficiently and we’ll all get to see his value, on the pitch.
The referee certainly played his part in this fixture as he showed six yellow cards and two red cards to the players on the pitch, though I certainly won’t be making the claim that it’s all his fault that Liverpool lost. It wasn’t – we know our faults and there were certain players who affected the result which weren’t even booked. We’ve got some defensive problems to focus on and the manager will have to consider the best starting lineup once more, preferably making a change to the weaker parts of our side.
Alright, I’m just going to stop being subtle and just come out and say it… I hope Brendan Rodgers replaces Dejan Lovren with Mamadou Sakho, effective immediately. Our defence needs to be as strong as possible as we have one of the hardest games of the Premier League season coming up in September.
Yes, Liverpool will be playing fierce rivals Manchester United at their ground in our next fixture.
I’ll see you all again as we continue to walk on, with hope in our hearts. You’ll Never Walk Alone, Anfield Family.
[written by] Stuart Drewery
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (about 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.