West Ham 0-4 LIVERPOOL
Liverpool won their final away game of the season as they traveled to London to face West Ham.
Recently injured Firmino would not be making an appearance in this fixture, so recently returned from injury Daniel Sturridge would go directly into the starting 11, instead of sitting on the substitute bench. Alongside him would be Divock Origi, with Coutinho not far behind them. Adam Lallana has also gotten himself back to full fitness again, so he’d also get right back to action once more after some time out of the side.
I obviously don’t take any delight from Liverpool players being injured but Daniel Sturridge’s inclusion in the 1st team was delightful for me, even before the game had kicked off. I loved watching him play and wish to do so more in the future. I had excitement, anticipation and high expectations for his return and you know what? He did not disappoint! He met the high expectations with a high standard of football that we haven’t seen in too long. In a post match interview Daniel said “We came here with the right attitude”. Well, that clearly works for you. Long may you continue with that winning attitude.
Liverpool started well, we competed for every ball and threw ourselves with great effort into dominating our opponents. It looked like the players all cared about getting the most amount of points from our remaining games, which matters to fans. We want Champions League football next season and there’s not much gap between the top 4 teams all competing to be able to do that.
It was about half an hour in that Liverpool were really starting to look like scoring. We’d been building some great offensive plays and just pushing towards our opponents goalkeeper, but it was about time to test him and pass the test. So, Coutinho was rushing with the ball in one of our attacks, was ready to beat his man and take a shot. When he saw Daniel Sturridge making a run. Coutinho isn’t selfish so he didn’t choose to shoot himself, he’d help his teammate out and Daniel Sturridge would be able to collect the ball from him, run around the West Ham goalkeeper and put the ball into the net. West Ham 0-1 Liverpool
West Ham never looked like equalising to be honest but it still felt a little nervous to be leading by just one goal. We’d need a second at least to put the game beyond their reach of possibly getting a draw and a point. You never know if a penalty would be awarded or anything like that, either. 1 shot and 1 goal and 2 points could be stolen from Liverpool. We showed the desire to take all points available to us.
The first half would be secured at the break, with a 1 goal lead.
Coming out for the 2nd half, we looked just as strong and twice as determined as before to win this. Daniel Sturridge would get another chance to score but slightly mis-hit the ball and it went wide from close range. Something like 8 yards away but couldn’t finish it perfectly enough to get it on target. It wouldn’t stop him from keep on trying, though. We admire perseverance. It usually pays off with good results.
About 55 minutes in, West Ham made two substitutions at the same time. They clearly knew that their current team wasn’t doing well enough and attempted to change up the tactics, see if something would click and get them back into the game. Two minutes later though and Liverpool had shown that it wasn’t going to happen with another goal.
Gini Wijnaldum’s first effort was amazing and basically led up to the coming goal, a truly spectacular volley from 25 yards out which cannoned off the crossbar. The West Ham goalkeeper was completely beaten and wasn’t ever going to save it. Or the follow up, apparently.
As the ball came out, Coutinho ran inside of the defenders who would try and fail to stop him, before perfectly finding the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the box with a right-footed drive. Magic football from the Brazilian. West Ham 0-2 Liverpool
I felt much more comfortable from this point onwards. All of our fans would have. They could even score (just once) and still wouldn’t be claiming any points if it ended up 1-2. Confidence for all Reds that we were about to get a much needed win was gained.It wasn’t all over just yet though.
With half an hour to go, Liverpool were continuing their attacks. It was a constant flow of heavy possession and movement of players in the right direction for us. Gini Wijnaldum would find himself collecting the ball and ready for one more of these attacks. However, in the moment of taking the ball under control he’d handball. The referee wouldn’t notice. It looked like he’d used his stomach or chest, but replays showed his hand was clearly bringing the ball down to the ground. Almost directly after that while the West Ham fans were still screaming “handball, Ref! HANDBALL” Wijnaldum had provided an excellent assist to his teammate, Coutinho. Coutinho sent the goalkeeper the wrong way and would get to smash home an accurately placed shot to make it West Ham 0-3 Liverpool.
Despite all the West Ham fans objections that play should have been stopped and a free kick awarded for Wijnaldum’s handball, Coutinho could have made his shot any time to be honest. He’d probably have scored soon anyway, it was just going so well for him and he was on his best form. It wasn’t like Wijnaldum ran up the pitch and scored himself which would have been much more debatable after handballing himself, He was just passing the ball to Coutinho though. The Brazilian still had to deal with the goalkeeper in front of him and finish it to score. You can’t cheat your way into doing those things, it’s his natural skill as a player.
Liverpool still weren’t done with the game, though West Ham seemed to be just hoping the final whistle would blow as soon as possible from this point.
Origi was going about the top end of the pitch and making himself useful. When Coutinho or Sturridge weren’t taking their opportunities, he’d gladly take the ball and make his chance. He’d hit the crossbar and by the 76th minute he’d get a goal for himself.
The 4th goal would involve about 4 players. Sturridge goes past Cresswell down on the right wing, gaining a yard on him with ease before pulling it back for Lallana. His effort is blocked, Wijnaldum scuffs it and can’t quite make enough contact to direct an accurate shot, but luckily it falls right to Origi who would get his chance to shoot and score from six yards. He wasn’t going to miss from there. The final goal of the day was scored and West Ham were utterly defeated. It never looked like they’d get any points from late in the 1st half.
Man Of The Match
There were a few contenders and I’d love to reward Daniel Sturridge’s performance because it hasn’t been seen in such a long time, however the truth of the matter is that Coutinho simply outplayed and outscored Sturridge. In any other game that maybe ended 1-0 with Sturridge’s goal being the match-winner, i’d be giving it to him but this time, it’s going to the player who was honestly the best man on the pitch.
Coutinho got two goals – the most of any of our players in this fixture – and at times, it looked like he might even make it a hat trick. Two goals and although West Ham fans will complain about the one where Wijnaldum had handballed it before putting his assist to Coutinho, it wasn’t the lead up to the goal that mattered most. It was the perfect finishing and making the result perfect too. We need the most possible points at this stage and we’re going for wins. Coutinho”s magic helped get us that win.
Liverpool’s last game of the season is going to be a home game against Middlesbrough. Walk on with hope in your hearts, Anfield Family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.
[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 (more than 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.