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West Ham vs Liverpool: Strikerless but not Scoreless as Reds come back

10 Dec 2012, 15:13 IST

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 09: Joe Cole (L) of Liverpool celebrates his goal with Jonjo Shelvey during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Liverpool at the Boleyn Ground on December 9, 2012 in London, England.

On a night when when two West Ham old boys rescued Liverpool and another West Ham product (he trained in the West Ham junior team) Jonjo Shelvey played his part to perfection, it was Liverpool who got the better share of the spoils.

Going into the match, Liverpool’s problems had been highlighted. They were without the presence of a senior striker, but from their perspective, there would be no striker to mark.

From the outset, Liverpool were dynamic and consistently attacking the West Ham goal, and the first goal from Glen Johnson was of outstanding quality. Liverpool took the game by the scruff of the neck, as they poured forward in numbers and the West Ham defense were finding it difficult to contain the barrage of attacks as the full backs of Liverpool continued tearing into them.

It was not until the first goal though that West Ham woke up from their slumber. That, coupled with the fact that Jose Enrique had to be substituted because of an injury, West Ham started taking hold of the game.

The dynamic Mohamed Diame began showing his magic and power and lo and behold, they took the lead courtesy of the referee’s generosity and  a Steven Gerrard own goal. West Ham went into the break a much stronger team and looked set to dominate. Brendan Rodgers must have realized that bringing on Joe Cole in place of Enrique had narrowed down Liverpool’s attacking play, so the move to make Sterling come in a lot more than the usual role of hugging the  bylines paid immediate dividends.

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 09: James Collins (top) of West Ham United celebrates the own goal scored by Steven Gerrard of Liverpool with Winston Reid during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Liverpool at the Boleyn Ground on December 9, 2012 in London, England.

Liverpool in the second half were able to take control more and Gerrard’s passes and Allen’s movement coupled with Sterling’s darting runs started creating more open spaces which Liverpool were able to run into. Diame who had been snuffing out the creativity of Liverpool, pulled up with a hamstring injury and from then onwards the dynamism just went out of West Ham United.

The injury of Diame sparked Liverpool back into life and Joe Cole, who until then had been disappointing, did well to read Sterling’s through ball and apply a finish of the highest quality. Sensing they were on the ascendancy, Liverpool chose to go for the kill, and a fine ball from Henderson for the ever so hard working Shelvey led to the winner. Although James Collins of West Ham did get the final touch which flicked it over his goalkeeper, it was the run and presence of Shelvey which got Liverpool the deserved winner.

Coming into this match, a draw would have been a decent result, but a win which now takes Liverpool upto 10th in the table only augurs well, especially with a hectic schedule of games coming up. Also it keeps them in touching distance of the fourth champions league spot. With Suarez coming back plus the possibility of the the arrival of a new striker and a few players, Liverpool will be looking to grasp the situation in their hands rather than being dependent on results elsewhere.

Rodger’s though will be arguably the happiest person and will be gushing about the performance in the face of adversity and the strength of character displayed, but as things stand, Liverpool are still a team that is on its way up.

And he will hope to keep it that way.

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