Sam's Bubbles Burst by Former West Ham Players
Today was the day when a fledgling Liverpool team would find out if they could cope without their talisman and only striker. Luis Suarez was as we all know serving a one match ban after receiving the fifth of five yellow cards. The name of his replacement has been hinted at throughout the week and it as expected it was Jonjo Shelvey. Now Jonjo has a terrible habit of hesitating in front of the goal and sending the ball over the post, so it hoped today would be the day, he found the back of the net - he did with a little help from Collins who also managed to tap it.
Liverpool of course appear to be unable to make easy work of any of the games that they play and today's game appeared to be split into quarters. For the first twenty minutes, it looked as though the right formation had been selected by Brendan but as usual, the same old mistakes began to happen and our defence suddenly appeared to open up. Why this is, I have no idea, because by now the players should have covered what are becoming regular mistakes in training.
The first goal of the game came during that period from none other than West Ham old boy, Glen Johnson who seemed to have the run of the left flank. Several times, he managed to work his way past Matt Jarvis and it was not long before a thunderous short from him, found the back of the net. Liverpool were in front and with Stevie G also have a shot deflected, at that point in time, although early in the game it looked as they could go on to win it. Raheem also had a couple of shots at the goal, but again failed to find the back of the net.
Then disaster struck with Enrique being substituted due to feeling a problem with his hamstring. His replacement was Joe Cole, and I will admit at this point in time I was fuming about his inclusion. I know it is shop window time, but in my mind young Suso would have been a better bet. I was of course proved to be totally wrong about his lack of impact on the game.
The team immediately seemed to fall apart and West Ham quickly gained the advantage. So much so, that a disputed penalty was given by referee, Lee Probert. West Ham were taking a set piece when Guy Demel sent the ball towards Joe Allen, whose arm appeared to get in the way as he blocked the shot - now I am no expect on penalties, in fact due to the ineptness of today's referees they confuse me, but I am pretty that was not deliberate, so it should never have been forgiven.
Liverpool, penalties and referees tend not to get on at the moment and I guess this knocked the stuffing out of the players because from a team that looked totally confident in the way they were playing, they suddenly appeared to be all over the place. So much so that as the half was coming to a close, Stevie G scored an own goal and Jonjo had one of his classic kicks sent straight over the bar.
With the lads going into the dressing room at half time, I guess I was not the only supporter who hoped that Brendan would read them the riot act. To see a game completely turned on its heels in the way it was, simply was not acceptable and it should never have happened.
The second half though, started as the first half had finished, with Liverpool appearing to be all over the place. There simply seemed to be no consistency in their play although Raheem did have a chance to bring the game back onto a level footing when he sent a ball from the edge of the penalty area which Jaaskelainen tipped over the bar with his fingertips. Jonjo also had a further chance to score when he sent a header towards the goal but it went wide.
With the second half now heading towards the final twenty minutes, Brendan took of the tiring Lucas and replaced his with Jordan Henderson. Now Jordan is another of those players which I have a question mark against, but today his introduction ensured that the team became a unit once again.
This ensured that Joe Cole, who had been trying to get through the West Ham defence since his introduction was able to pick up a pass from Raheem and sent it thundering into the goal mouth. Liverpool was now level and with both teams now fighting for possession of the ball, it was simply going to be a case of who would score next.
That joy fell to Liverpool when Jordan Henderson sent a low ball towards Jonjo and Collins who caught it off his foot and sent it towards Jaaskelainen, who could only stand and see go into the goalmouth. It is a goal that will go before the dubious goals committee but for all intents and purposes, it appears to have been a West Ham own goal.
The second half of course did not pass without several controversial incidents and again they were down to the decisions made by referee Lee Probert. Matt Taylor somehow managed to escape a straight red card when he made a challenge with his studs clearly showing against Raheem and there was the obligatory shout for a Liverpool penalty that was ignored although it was blatantly obvious that Jonjo was tripped as he lined up a shot.
Now there is injury time and there is injury time and although I know that there were injuries and substitutions to deal with, but how the fourth official came up with five minutes is one of life's mysteries. West Ham by then had made their final change and was not going to give up that easily and did everything that they could to prevent Liverpool scoring once again. So much so that Glen Johnson got caught up in a fracas with several of the West Ham players. The linesman blew his whistle to stop play and suddenly out of nowhere a further minute and a half was added on. A minute and half in which Raheem tried his best to get the goal which would definitely seal the win.
But it was not to be and Liverpool finished 3-2 winners which meant that they moved up to tenth position in the table. A position that also sees them now four points of fourth place and providing they can hold their nerve over the Christmas period, there is every possibility that we may be in the mix for a Champions League spot.