West Ham fans show digust after Anfield defeat...
The home side were the ones who started the brightest, as firstly fit again Glen Johnson raced down the right hand side and delivered a powerful cross which Robert Green managed to tip over the bar, giving Liverpool their first corner with only a minute gone.
After that the Anfield side continued to pressurise the bottom of the league side, with David N’Gog having a strike from the edge of the area, that Green went down smartly to palm wide and relieve the pressure from the side.
That would not last very long, as the home continued to go forward at will and when Fernando Torres was given space, he found Maxi Rodriguez, who smashed the ball off the billboard to the right of Green’s post.
Torres was to have another chance to open the scoring with ten minutes on the clock, after N’Gog had gone from the right into the middle, beating four West Ham players before setting up the Spaniard who watched agonising as his shot went wide of Green’s left hand post.
Liverpool were passing the ball at will, with their opponents chasing shadows as they burst forward with Johnson and Torres linking up before finding Dirk Kuyt, who hit his shot off of Green and luckily for the England goalkeeper he was given a free kick as the ball came back into the box.
Next to have a chance for Hodgson’s side was Raul Meireles, who received the ball on the edge of the area from a corner. But unfortunately for the Portuguese midfielder his shot was once saved by Green, who put it over for a corner.
That corner was to be the undoing of Avram Grant’s side as Meireles swung in a ball that was not dealt with by the Hammers defence and landed at the feet of former West Ham defender Johnson, who answered all his critics, including his manager to smash the ball home and give the Reds a well deserved lead.
The home sides lead should have been doubled minutes later, when the goalscorer Johnson linked up with Kuyt, allowing the right back to cross for Torres, but much to the agony of all those in the Kop, the striker swung at thin air and missed the ball completely.
Liverpool would only need to wait another couple of minutes to double their lead as Torres chipped the ball inside the box, it hit off of Matthew Upson and then onto the hand of the helpless Danny Gabbidon, which led to cries of penalty from the Kop and those were reacted on by referee Lee Probert, who acting on the advice of assistant Stephen Childs awarded the spot kick.
That allowing Kuyt to step up and double the home sides lead, which delighted the Liverpool fans and their injured captain Steven Gerrard, who gave his Dutch colleague the thumbs up from the stand.
Hodgson’s side continued to press forward and could have had a third, when Green failed to deal with a free kick, allowing Rodriguez a chance, but the Argentinean could not direct his shot beyond the visiting players that were on the line.
With 35 minutes gone, West Ham finally had their first shot on target as Luis Boa Morte swung a ball in from the left, which was met by the head of Carlton Cole, but Reina in the Liverpool goal was not troubled as he came out and clutched the ball.
Liverpool then went right up the park minutes later and claimed a third goal after a shot from Torres wasn’t cleared properly and landed at the feet of Paul Konchesky who’s cross from the left hand side was met by the head of Rodriguez, to leave many of the visiting West Ham fans heading for the exits before the first half had finished.
To show how bad the Hammers had been during the first half, it was summed up when Victor Obinna got the ball on the edge of the area and fired the ball into the top tier of the stand behind the goal.
The Nigerian was to find that, that shot would be his last action of the game as during the half time break he was replaced by Pablo Barrera, as West Ham gaffer Grant looked to keep the scoreline down and retain some sort of dignity.
While the visitors looked to keep the score down, Liverpool tried to add to it as Kuyt played in N’Gog, but the Frenchman could not find the net, instead he was made to settle for a corner as Green was up to the task, pushing it wide.
As the home side started to relax on their three goal lead, that allowed West Ham to get more forward than they had done in the first half, but they could not put that pressure into any actual shots on Reina’s goal.
Just after the hour mark Liverpool finally got back into their stride when a smart passing move saw the ball arrive at the feet of Torres, who’s shot from the edge of the area went and wide, not troubling Green in the visiting goal.
Minutes later another chance fell to the home side, as Rodriguez got the ball on the edge of the area, after West Ham failed to clear another corner, allowing the former Athletico Madrid to strike at goal, with Boa Morte managing to clear.
The Argentinean had another chance minutes later as he got the ball on the left side of the penalty area. But his cross-come-shot eluded everyone and went harmlessly wide of Green’s goal.
With their side failing to create any sort of pressure, the visiting fans looked to amuse themselves by sarcastically cheering every touch that their team managed to get.
And with 20 minutes left, they should have been further behind as, firstly Torres struck the bar from the right hand side of the penalty area, then after failing to clear the ball properly, it landed at the feet of Christian Poulsen, who cannoned the ball towards goal, only for Green to get his fingertips to the ball in order to tip it wide.
From then on the game petered out, with the home side clearly comfortable in the knowledge that all three points would remain in Merseyside, while the visitors could well be on the lookout for a new manager after a miserable performance leaves them stuck at the bottom of the Premier League with Wigan due at Upton Park next week, in what will be a crucial game for the Hammers.