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West Ham 2, Liverpool 1 (aet): First Thoughts

It was a match that could have gone either way. Despite the best efforts of Mignolet and the goalpost, West Ham have managed to extend their unbeaten streak to four games, and Liverpool are out of the FA Cup. It was a short-lived, but eventful run.

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

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West Ham 1: Antonio 45', Ogbonna 120'
Liverpool 1: Coutinho 48'

  • Pre-match: Danny Ward continues to ride the pine as the teamsheet is released. Though, to be fair, we've learned in the last two seasons what happens when we start openly speculating, "He can't be worse than Mignolet..." Brad Jones and Adam Bogdan were happy to show that goalkeepers can be worse than Mignolet. Also of note, Chirivella gets his first Liverpool senior start. Nice to see Flano again, and hopefully Sturridge and/or Origi can get back in action. West Ham have put out a pretty strong side, but that didn't stop us last time! 

  • Bubbles. I hate bubbles. Especially this year.
  • The Reds (in white) are on the front foot during the opening spell. Teixeira and Coutinho have shown some decent interplay. Brad Smith put in what should have been a dangerous cross, but Ibe was slow to respond and the ball was cleared without worrying the Hammers too much. Ibe then put in Benteke a few minutes later, who seemed legitimately lost and confused about being alone in the box. He immediately squared it to a West Ham defender, crisis averted.
  • Coutinho puts in too consecutive excellent corners, both of which found Benteke at the back post. Neither led to a goal, but it was nice to see!
  • Because no Liverpool attack goes unpunished, the Hammers nearly score on the counter. The strike is deflected off Lucas and off the near post. Despite being the best side so far, Liverpool are lucky to still be on level terms.
  • Smith with a brilliant overlap and a cross flashed across the 6-yard box. The ball passes both a stationary Benteke and an unprepared Ibe and the chance is gone. Should absolutely be 1-0 there.
  • Aaaand minutes later Smith overlaps to great effect again, his errant cross bounces to a wide open Teixeira who drags his shot wide. All of these great missed chances are going to be much more painful to remember when West Ham score on their first shot on target.
  • Coutinho pounces on an errant pass and sets off a 3-on-2 break away. His pass to Benteke is deep, but the big Belgian cuts it back for Phil who duly hits the upright.
  • Payet hits the post from a free kick, and--surprise!--Mignolet makes a save on the rebound. Replays show that Migs might have juuust got a finger to the initial free kick to touch it onto the post. Crazy game this, West Ham 0, Liverpool 0, Goalpost 3.
  • Goal. Had a feeling that was coming. Cross gets a deflection and finds Antonio at the back post, who volleys it home. 1-0 to the Hammers. 

  • Halftime: An otherwise good first half undone by the Hammers breaking the deadlock right before stoppage time. The good news is that Liverpool have looked very lively so far, though, to be fair, both sides have had their chances. Benteke has had three free headers in the box off corners, and failed to score on any of them. Brad Smith might have been to blame for leaving Antonio unmarked on the goal, but conversely, he should probably have two assists if we had attacking players attacking dangerous areas where crosses should be going. 

  • Liverpool get a free kick in a dangerous area. Too bad we don't have a kicker who can score from a direct free kick.
  • GOAL! Never mind! Coutinho hits the ball under the wall, and the free kick rolls into the back of the net. We're back on level terms, 1-1. Welcome back, Phil.
  • Smith with another excellent cross into the box. And gain, no one attacking the near or far posts. NO POSTS ARE BEING ATTACKED.
  • Flappy Waffles is back. He comes way out of goal and makes a real mess of an attempted catch. Somehow we're not punished for that. We probably should have been punished for that.
  • Is that...could it be...? Yes, it's a real, live Sturridge. And Origi! ALL THE STRIKERS! On for Teixeira and Coutinho.
  • Klopp said he was going to be calm today. He is not calm today, and currently berating the 4th official, as you do.
  • Ilori gets away with a near-certain penalty. Skrtel must have been teaching the youngster the dark arts of shirt pulling.
  • Scary moment after Kouyate stays down after a head-to-head collision with Flanagan. He walks off the pitch on his own, but looks thoroughly concussed. Andy Carroll on. Please don't score against us (again) Andy.
  • Sturridge and Origi with more understanding of each others movements than Benteke and the rest of the team for the whole season. Sturridge nearly puts Origi in on goal, but the pass is just beyond him.
  • Benteke gets close with a free kick, but the shot is saved with a diving effort from Randolph.
  • Stewart walks off a leg-breaking tackle. Tough as nails. 

  • Full time: Free football! Because of course there is! I actually can't say I mind it tonight. It's an all around good game, with both sides going for it. Migs with a quietly good game tonight, coming up with some timely saves and even managing to snatch a few crosses out of the air. More of that, por favor. Carroll is absolutely terrifying on set plays, especially considering we're us. It's be really nice to see Sturridge put one in the back of the net, and save us from another penalty shoot out. 
  • Extra Time: Benteke misses two consecutive HUGE chances. On the first he pulls a volley just wide of the mark. On the second, he's set free on a 1v1 and hits it straight at the keeper. Hugely disappointing, and it could mean the game. Milner comes on for Chirivella, surely with a look ahead to the penalty shoot out.
  • I really hate bubbles.
  • Sturridge goes for goal, and narrowly misses the top right corner. Saving it for pens, I see.
  • As is usually the case in these extended affairs, the players look absolutely exhausted as the match wears on. Lots of sloppy play, and if a goal is scored on either side it'll likely be the result of a mistake, not a moment of inspiration. Though, we'd take a moment of inspiration too. Looking at you, Sturridge.
  • Goal. West Ham win it at the death. On a set play, no less. To be honest, I could have watched another hour of that. Not great football, but certainly entertaining. Game could have gone either way, unfortunately it didn't go ours tonight.

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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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