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West Ham United
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6 April 2014
• Boleyn Ground, London
Referee: A. Taylor
• Attendance: 34977
West Ham United
G. Demel 45'+
S. Gerrard 44', 71'
That's your lot from me, Harry Slavin. Thanks for joining me for the action from Upton Park, until next time though, it's goodbye for now!
Even more importantly, Gerrard avoided a booking, which means he is free to face Man City at Anfield next Sunday. Has Anfield seen a bigger game during the Premier League era?
FULL-TIME: WEST HAM 1-2 LIVERPOOL. The Reds secure their ninth win in a row and set up a huge match against Man City next weekend. Referee Anthony Taylor did his best to steal the headlines with two contentious decisions, but in the end Steven Gerrard's double ensures Brendan Rodgers' side head back to the top of the table.
90' + 3'
Sterling tests Adrian and wins a corner but Liverpool can't keep it in the corner. Still West Ham have one last throw of the dice here.
90' + 1'
We are into four minutes of stoppage time at Upton Park. West Ham have a free kick and are sending everyone into the area.
Downing! The former Liverpool man picks up the ball on the edge of the area. He has plenty of time to line up his shot but he gets it all wrong and wastes a great chance. They won't get many more.
Great work from Sterling as he drives through the heart of the West Ham midfield and slips through Suarez. He is in one-on-one but he can't quite poke his effort beyond Adrian, the keeper making an important stop.
Yellow Card Pablo Armero
Suarez is almost through but Armero pulls back the Uruagyan to make sure he isn't going anywhere. Liverpool have a free kick and the Colombian is booked.
Final roll of the dice for the Hammers as Cole is on to partner Carroll up top. Meanwhile Liverpool try to shore up at the back as Sturridge makes way for Toure.
BAR!!! Sterling sets up Suarez and the striker rattles the woodwork once more with a lovely effort with the outside of his boot.
Another great ball from Gerrard finds Sturridge on the edge of the West Ham box. He decides to take the shot early though and Adrian is more than equal to it, holding the volley from the England striker.
Yellow Card Antonio Nocerino
The Italian is cautioned for a foul on Sakho.
Just 10 minutes of normal time remaining and Liverpool are enjoying all the possession at the moment. They're stroking the ball around nicely and West Ham are struggling to get it back off them.
Second substitution for the hosts as Matt Jarvis is on in place of Taylor. Another winger on the pitch in an attempt to feed Carroll. There still time left for them.
West Ham have lost a little bit of their shape since conceding the second. They know they need to get forward if they're to get anything out of this one but it's all getting a bit untidy in the middle for them now. That will certainly work in Liverpool's favour.
More space for Liverpool. Lucas and Henderson link up to get in down the right. The Brazilian finds Suarez with his cut back but the Uruguayan uncharacteristically fluffs his lines.
This is where it gets dangerous for West Ham. They're committing forward and almost instantly get caught in behind. Suarez wants another penalty as his cross for Sturridge is diverted onto Armero's hand but that would have been more than harsh.
Penalty Goal Steven Gerrard
GOOOAAALLL!!! GERRARD SCORES!!! Adrian guesses right but he is never getting to that as Gerrard thuds the ball home. It was another contentious decision from Taylor as Adrian definitely got something on the ball. Two wrongs don't make a right - but try telling that to any Liverpool fan at the moment.
Yellow Card Adrián
PENALTY!!! Another penalty for the Reds as Flanagan is brought down by Adrian. Can Gerrard double up from the spot?
Substitution for West Ham as Big Sam sends on Nocerino in place of Nolan. The Italian will be sat in the midfield in an attempt to frustrate the visitors further. The Hammers boss knows exactly what he is doing.
Gerrard's passing has been fantastic from midfield today, pulling the strings for Liverpool. He tries to pick out Suarez over the top here but the striker can;t quite bring the ball down.
The partnership of Suarez and Sturridge just hasn't been given the chance to flourish this afternoon. The Uruguayan cuts a frustrated figure as his cross to his team-mate at the back post is well overhit.
CROSSBAR!!! Andy Carroll almost delivers a crushing blow to his former club's title ambitions. He rises above Johnson at the back post but his thunderous header comes crashing back off the bar.
A decent spell of pressure from the Reds has Carroll back defending in his own area! The West Ham defence is still holding firm though and Sturridge's tame effort from outside the area is easily held by Adrian.
Guy Demel has to be bailed out by Tomkin here. The full-back tries to let the ball roll out of play but Suarez picks his pocket and the centre-back has to race across to clear the ball for a throw.
Carroll is punished for a foul this time around, only it's another poor decision from Anthony Taylor! The striker nicks the ball back off Henderson but is done for a high foot. Henderson's foot was just as high and Carroll won the ball!
Adrian has to be alert in the West Ham goal here! A ball is slipped in behind the defence and Suarez is quick to react. The keeper gets there in the nick of time though to clear the ball to safety.
Armero gets down the flank for West Ham and sends in a deep cross in an attempt to find Carroll at the back post. The big striker can't quite bring the ball down though on this occasion.
Suarez has the ball in the final third of the West Ham half but the home side's shape is making it really difficult for Liverpool to play through them. A really disciplined display from Big Sam's side so far.
A corner gives West Ham a chance early in the second half to test Mignolet once more. He's a lot more confident on this occasion, coming out to claim a cross with ease.
One change at the break for the visitors as Lucas comes on for Coutinho. West Ham are on the front foot from the off, and Sakho escapes a few claims for handball inside his own area.
The sides are back out for the second half. You would imagine that Liverpool will be seething after that late goal. They have to go again now in the second half.
HALF-TIME: WEST HAM 1-1 LIVERPOOL. A crazy end to the first half sees two goals and one very big talking point. There were no disputes over the penalty awarded to Liverpool but I'm sure Brendan Rodgers will be seeking clarification at the break as to why that West Ham goal was allowed to stand. That decision could have a huge bearing in the title race.
45' + 2'
Goal Guy Demel
GOOOAAALLL!!!! DEMEL SCORES!!! Controversy afoot at Upton Park! Mignolet drops a clanger and Demel turns in the rebound. There was a foul by Carroll on the keeper, which the linesman spotted, but he's over-ruled by referee Taylor!
There is little doubt that the goal has come against the run of play. A sign of champions perhaps?
Penalty Goal Steven Gerrard
GOOOAAAALLL!!!! GERRARD SCORES!!! Calm as you like, the captain puts his side ahead. The handball was almost identical to the penalty given away by Rafael against Liverpool at Old Trafford as Suarez once again tried to cut inside the last man.
Yellow Card James Tomkins
PENALTY FOR LIVERPOOL! Tomkins handles the ball in the area and Steven Gerrard has a chance from the spot.
Diame has given Flanagan all sorts of problems this afternoon and he's just rolled the Liverpool full-back again. His cross finds Nolan but the midfielder can't quite get the ball under control.
That's a horrible one for Mignolet to deal with, but he has done well! Tomkins' connection with a Diame cross sees the ball soar into the air. It comes back down right under the Liverpool crossbar but despite the presence of Carroll and Reid clamoring for the ball, the keeper manages to get a strong fist to the ball.
Armero has drawn a few scathing glances from his team-mates by his poor decision making in the final third for West Ham today, but you can't knock his defensive performance. He's kept pace with Sterling whenever asked and has left Liverpool with little to work with on the right.
Downing leaves Johnson for dead on the left and lobs the ball into the area in search of Carroll. It does find the Geordie, towering at the back post, but his knockdown is cleared before Nolan can reach it.
Sakho brings down Carroll in a central position in front of the Liverpool goal. It's a huge shooting opportunity but Noble flashes his free kick wide of the target.
Lovely move from Liverpool but the finish lets it down. Sturridge and Henderson work an opening courtesy of a couple of neat passes, but the striker can't get the ball under control when he receives the ball back and his effort balloons over the bar.
No goals yet, but I can't see it staying that way for long. Liverpool have scored three times in three of their last four visits to Upton Park.
Coutinho works a bit of space on the edge of the West Ham area and feeds through Suarez. The Uruguayan tries to find the net but his path his blocked by a sea of claret and blue and the ball his headed behind by Tomkins.
Past the half way point in this one and there still isn't much to choose between the sides. Suarez has gone closest but you feel that West Ham can still pose a threat when going forward.
Diame has made a real impression so far and he almost tests Mignolet here. He turns Flanagan with ease before firing in a shot that flies wide of the far post.
Suarez is searching for his 30th goal of the season and that would have been some way to get it. Sterling tests Adrian at his near post but the West Ham keeper just about deals with it, gathering at the second attempt.
WOODWORK!!!! Suarez peels away from his man after taking the ball from a throw in. He looks up and sends a delicate effort towards the far post but it comes back off the bar!
Downing and Carroll would have been linking up for Liverpool a couple of seasons ago. Today they're linking up against them, but their exchange of passes on the edge of the area is broken up by a poor pass from Downing.
West Ham look more settled in the opening spell here. They're pressing Liverpool well all over the park and have looked the more threatening in the final third. Still no real chances though.
Nolan and Carroll developed a lethal partnership at Newcastle and they've continued in the same vein at West Ham. They link up here as Carroll flicks the ball on into the path of Nolan, but Skrtel is there to make an important clearance.
The one thing that Liverpool have in abundance is pace. West Ham have made sure that nothing gets in behind them in the opening 10 minutes but they'll have to be on their guard for the full 90 here.
Handbags in the West Ham penalty area holds up play for a moment. Referee Anthony Taylor is across to sort things out between Jordan Henderson and Matty Taylor and we can continue.
Liverpool launch their first meaningful attack of the afternoon. Sterling does well to wait for support and picks out Coutinho on the left-hand side of the box. The Brazilian takes a little bit too long however to pick out a pass and his eventual ball into the box is cut out.
Diame is posing a few questions of the Liverpool defence early on. He nicks in ahead of Flanagan and sends a cross in the direction of Carroll. Sakho is tight to the West Ham striker though and heads clear.
Noble is penalised for bringing down Sturridge but it looks as if the Liverpool striker stood on the ball and lost his balance. Suarez steps up to hit the free kick from some way out. He gets it up and over the wall, but it's over the bar as well.
Liverpool, in their white away shirts, get us up and running in London. Diame does well to reach an overhit Downing pass in the opening stages but his cross is cleared by Skrtel.
The sides emerge amidst a sea of bubbles at Upton Park. We are about to get underway!
There are a couple of other links between the two clubs on the field today. Stewart Downing will be out to prove a point as well against his old club, while Joe Cole is on the bench for the hosts. Allardyce has given his team their brief for this afternoon and he's just been speaking to TV cameras. "Trying to keep Sterling and Suarez will be the order of the day." Good luck with that Sam!
LIVERPOOL XI: (4-3-3) Mignolet; Johnson, Sakho, Skrtel, Flanagan; Gerrard, Coutinho, Henderson; Sturridge, Suarez, Sterling.
WEST HAM XI: (4-2-3-1) Adrian; Demel, Tomkins, Reid, Armero; Noble, Taylor; Downing, Nolan, Diame; Carroll.
We are about 15 minutes away from kick off so let's get some team news up. We'll start with the hosts.
Carroll signed for the Reds back in 2011 for a whopping £35m but just a handful of goals and a lengthy stint on the sidelines through injury left many to consider him a flop during his time at Anfield. West Ham's No. 9 is back fully fit though and has scored twice since his return, playing an instrumental role in steering the Hammers away from danger. He would loving more than to dent his former club's title chances today.
While Liverpool seem to be harnessing the support of the neutral in this title race, there are a couple of players in claret and blue this afternoon who will have something to say about it, none more so than Andy Carroll.
We've just seen one Merseyside team humble London opponents this afternoon and victory for the Reds today will see them return to the summit of the Premier League. I'm Harry Slavin and I'll be here with you for every minute of the action from Upton Park.
Manchester City and Chelsea did the business yesterday and now it's Liverpool's turn to keep their title challenge going. They visit West Ham, with Sam Allardyce's men looking to cause another twist in this incredible title race. Let's get cracking!
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