Two steps forward and one step back – that has been the story of Liverpool‘s season so far and the visit of West Ham at Anfield provided another frustrating display from the men in red. West Ham came into the game not having won at Anfield since 1963 and they set up shop fairly early to stop a Liverpool barrage that never really came. In the end, the match ended in a 0-0 draw; the point moved West Ham clear of the relegation zone by 7 points while Liverpool stayed in 7th position, 3 points behind rivals Everton. Here are the 5 talking points from the game
No Plan B, Mr. Rodgers?
For the vast majority of the game West Ham played on the counter, keeping players behind the ball and trying to stifle Liverpool’s attack. The injury to Downing brought on Sturridge and while that did add another dimension to Liverpool’s game, it was not much of a change from their regular pattern of play. Passing was a problem as West Ham were pressuring Liverpool to go back and a slow build up to any attack was easily nullified by the Hammers defense. There was no alternative plan from the Reds’ manager, even bringing on the forgotten Oussama Assaidi did little to change the tempo of the game. The Anfield side did create chances but they were too few to take advantage of.
West Ham defense came out on top
Luis Suarez has got to be one of the front runners for the Player of the Year but today was just not his day. James Collins was at his best and kept Luis Suarez quiet throughout the game. Suarez did have a couple of chances to shoot at goal, one going in between Jaaskalainen’s legs and agonizingly wide, but the Uruguayan striker was kept quiet by the Welsh defender. Tomkins was also impressive during the game in which he blocked a Gerrard shot and cleared it off the line.
Liverpool rely too much on Suarez and Gerrard
A few years back, Liverpool was a one man team, Steven Gerrard was pushing them and everything good that came out from the team was due to him. This changed a bit when Fernando Torres came and now Luis Suarez is one of the main stays in the current team. Barring the creative influences of Suarez and Gerrard, there is not much in the Liverpool team. This was very evident in the game today as they failed to create much in the final third. Suarez had an off day with a lot of his touches and passes going astray. Gerrard was his dependable self but Liverpool needed help which did not come. Coutinho still needs time to gel with the English style of play and was often missing in the game. Downing, Sturridge and Henderson all had off days. Liverpool need some creativity to come from other places.
Safety almost guaranteed for West Ham
At the start of the season, Sam Allardyce had set a 38 point target for the Hammers to keep them in the League. They are now just one point off that target, with the draw taking them to 37 points. The Hammers are 7 points from the relegation zone and they have tough matches coming up against Southampton and Wigan in the next weeks. The last game of the season is at home against Reading but by that time both the clubs should know what their fate is. West Ham to stay, Reading to go down.
What next for Andy Carroll?
The big striker was ineligible for this game as he has been loaned out by Liverpool. West Ham have been able to use Carroll a lot more effectively than Liverpool have. As the season comes to a close, the big question is, where will Andy Carroll be next season?. He scored in the last game that he featured in and has more impact in the more robust nature of West Ham’s play. Brendan Rodgers has not given a concrete answer as to whether the striker will feature in his Liverpool team next season. Sturridge, Suarez and Borini are the strikers currently at Liverpool. Carroll may not be there at Anfield next season but who would be willing to pay the lump sum that Rodgers wants for the big man.Published 07 Apr 2013, 22:40 IST