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Liverpool 4, West Ham 1: First Thoughts

It was far from a vintage performance despite the scoreline, but all Liverpool will care about following an often indifferent afternoon at Anfield will be the three points earned that keep them in the top four for another week.

Clive Brunskill

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Liverpool 4 Demel (OG) 42', Sakho 47', Suarez 80', 84'
West Ham 1 Skrtel (OG) 66'

  • It was the third match in seven days for Liverpool, and the third in seven for Raheem Sterling after the young winger couldn't sniff a start over the opening months. It was also the third in seven for Steven Gerrard despite speculation Rodgers just might give his captain a rest after Lucas sat out mid-week, but Lucas was on the bench again and Gerrard in the starting lineup—along with Jordan Henderson, coming off one of the worst matches of his Liverpool career. Squad rotation is a dirty word in the Rodgers household. Unless you're talking about centre halves, at least, in which case rotate away.

  • Suarez, Sterling, and Coutinho at times looked dangerous on the break and when they got the ball around the West Ham box, but Liverpool didn't seem capable of really controlling the match in the first half and neither side appeared much interested in winning what quickly turned into a midfield non-battle. Given the late season match that doesn't really matter between two mid-table sides feel that settled over proceedings as the half wore on, there was something fitting about Liverpool opening the scoring when a bit of scrambled play led to Guy Demel putting the ball into his own goal.

  • Rodgers might seem averse to change anywhere but at the back, but that one change he did make to bring Mamadou Sakho in for a less than fully fit Daniel Agger paid off when the French defender's whiffed effort off a free kick somehow managed to loop its way over Jaaskelainen and into the goal.

  • It's the change Rodgers didn't make, though, that could turn out to be a far bigger talking point in the coming weeks, as asking Steven Gerrard to play three times in seven days proved too much for the ageing skipper, who pulled up with what looked to be a thigh or groin problem after 55 minutes and had to be substituted.

  • Whether it was due to the enforced change or an increasingly disheartened West Ham, Liverpool saw their most dominant spell following the introduction of Lucas. A Martin Skrtel own goal gave the Hammers some hope they hadn't look likely to earn, draining Liverpool's momentum and leading to a few nervy moments, but when Suarez headed home from a perfectly weighted Glen Johnson cross the game was over. An ugly stamp down Henderson's leg by Kevin Nolan that sent West Ham down to ten and then Suarez' second served to further confirm the result, one that, as on Wednesday against Norwich, appears far more dominant in the final score than it ever did in the run of play.

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We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.

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