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West Ham 1, Liverpool 2: First Thoughts

Two Steven Gerrard penalties lead Liverpol to a nervy, narrow victory at Upton Park to send them back to the top of the Premier League.

Mike Hewitt

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West Ham : Demel 45'+2'
Liverpool : Gerrard (pen.) 44' (pen.) 71'

  • It was an open start to the match, but Liverpool looked more hesitant than usual and a fair bit sloppy. West Ham were West Ham, and they pretty much dominated the match for a majority of the first half. Liverpool had a few isolated chances--Luis Suarez hit the crossbar with a floater, Daniel Sturridge smashed a few shots over--but it was mostly one-way traffic, and nervy at that.
  • Until Steven Gerrard played an inch-perfect ball to Suarez on the break, and the Uruguayan cut back across James Tomkins to draw a clear penalty. No mistake from Gerrard in sending Adrian the wrong way, and it looked as though Liverpool would head into the break with a 1-0 lead.
  • But that wouldn't happen courtesy of an Andy Carroll punch/slap/barge with his arm into Simon Mignolet's face and arm on a corner, which was knocked in by Guy Demel and somehow allowed by referee Anthony Taylor. After the linesman had flagged for a foul. And after they consulted about it. Absurd event, even more absurd decision.
  • Liverpool still needed to be much better to start the second half, and Rodgers opted to bring Lucas on for Philippe Coutinho so he could shift to the diamond formation--which he apparently had planned to do until Joe Allen got injured pre-match--with Sterling at the point and Lucas in the role Allen would likely have played.
  • There was a sense that Liverpool's approach was thrown completely off-kilter by West Ham, and I think the Allen injury had a lot to do with it as well. If he starts, there's Lucas and one of Sterling or Coutinho to bring off the bench to change the match in some manner. Instead both Sterling and Coutinho started, and bringing Lucas on for the latter meant that the only "match-changing" substitute available was a not fully-fit Allen. Yikes.
  • So that penalty by Adrian on Jon Flanagan, then. Initially I didn't think it was a penalty, but on the replay Adrian did about as much as humanly possible to make Taylor whistle for the spot. Had he not grabbed on Flanagan's ankle afterward I'm not sure it's given, as I think the save was legal. Either way, this isn't a West Ham blog, so STEVIE AGAIN FROM THE SPOT 2-1!!!@#!
  • That Pablo Armero foul should have been a red because I really like Liverpool but otherwise probably not. Looked pretty gnarly, but not a straightforward denial of goalscoring or last man or anything like that.
  • Four minutes of added time was too much and I hated it but that Raheem shot was neat just blow the whistle blow the whistle blow the whistle blow the whistllllllllllle.
  • Three points. Back to the top of the league. Nine wins in nine. That'll do. Now breathe.

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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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