Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Reds Deal Hammer Blow

Kuyt And Crouch Combines

English Premiership

West Ham Utd. 1 - 2 LIVERPOOL

WHU - Kepa (77min);
LIV - Kuyt (45min), Crouch (53min);

Match Highlights:

Liverpool dealt a hammer blow to West Ham's survival hope with a 2-1 win at Upton Park. With both teams in totally different fortunes, the tie seemed like a mismatch. But West Ham made up their lack of form with a little more sharpness and looked the more hungry side in the opening 45 minutes. The fact that Liverpool were without any match to play since the 2-0 defeat of Chelsea 11 days ago, they were fresh but took a little too long to get into their gear.

It's hard to imagine just less than a year ago, this is the West Ham that Liverpool have met in the most prestigious domestic cup competition. The FA Cup final which ended like a fairy tale on Liverpool part, but everyone had to take their hats off for West Ham for all their efforts in that match.

But since then, they have went down hill so fast that it's so difficult to comprehend what happened at Upton Park after that. Now they're in the mire of relegation and if they continue their disastrous form and shambolic defending, they might be in a great danger and there is no such thing as 'too good a team to go down'.

Liverpool started their experimental 3-4-3 tactics with Kuyt, Bellamy and Crouch all starting. It says a lot about the confidence in the Red camp and their willingness to be adventurous even though we all know Upton Park is never an easy place to go. Since Alan Curbishley's appointment, they have only won once and that's against Man Utd.

Their front line of Marlon Harewood and Carlton Cole did cause Hyypia and Co. some problem with their build like a brick sh*thouse.

The formation looked disjointed at times and the 3 strikers were not posing at sort of threat in the first half. Their position were too close to each other and there was no width to stretch the Hammer's defence. Riise and Finnan played as wingbacks for the night but they always looked a little out of place and were late in supporting the strikers.

But if anyone think that Rafa's slip on his arse is a sign to come for Liverpool, the fear was dispelled 8 seconds into the second half.

We don't know what Rafa told the lads at half time but he must've been mad. The performance in the first half wasn't good enough. But most notably, his instruction to Bellamy and Crouch must be to pull to the wider areas.

It must've been the fastest second half goal in Premiership history if I'm not wrong. It all started when Liverpool kicked off and a pass to Crouch who ran through the Hammers defence like knife on hot butter. He managed to lay the ball off to Kuyt who hit a beautiful first time shot which sails over Roy Carroll and in off the bar.

It certainly piled a whole lot of pressure on Alan Curbishley.

Birthday boy Crouch decides to turn on style as well with a great side foot shot. Alonso and Gerrard combined in central midfield and the movement by the players were good. Riise found space down the left and when everyone was holding their breath for a shot by the Norwegian, he instead, placed the ball wonderfully for Crouch to fire home. Great technique from the big man.

But complacency creeps in and Liverpool took their foot off the gas pedal. Hammer's substitute, Bobby Zamora and new signing, Blanco Kepa combined with only 30 seconds on the pitch to put the ball into the net. There was calls of an offside from the Liverpool defence but referee Martin Atkinson saw nothing wrong. But fault must partly be placed on Pennant as he carelessly loses the ball up furtherup the field.

Then West Ham grabbed the initiative of the game and got the upperhand. Liverpool were forced to defend deeper and with those tall and physical strikers in the West Ham side, you know it's dangerous.

But Liverpool held on for a good 3 points. It moves them closer to Chelsea, who is now only 2 points ahead and certainly put pressure on the title chasers.West Ham will now have to buck up or go down.

Drogballs: It was a good result but an average performance. Whatever it is, it's 3 points in the bag and that's important. It's always nice to see us going on a roll and now 9 wins in 10 games spells yet another brilliant run that has been Rafa's special for the second season running.

Gutted to concede that goal because we sort of let them back into the game and thankfully, nothing happened in the end. It's also important that we shouldn't be complacent again as goal difference MIGHT be the key in later periods of the season.

Reina (7) - Assured performance. Back to performing at his standards.

Agger (7) - Did okay
Hyypia (6) - Slow, sloppy and suicidal. His pass nearly gave them an equaliser
Carragher (7) - Dealt with the big guys well. I mean Harewood and Cole

Finnan (7) - Never really provide the width and crosses.
Gerrard (7) - Industrious and disciplined
Alonso (7) - Passes the ball well as usual. Unlucky to get the yellow card.
Riise (7) - Did well to assist Crouch. Worked hard

Kuyt (8) - Good goal and ran tirelessly as usual
Crouch (8) - MOTM. 1 assist and 1 goal. Happy birthday CROUCH!
Bellamy (7) - Threatened on the flanks on couple of occasion and unlucky not to score.


Chee Sheng said...

lemme guess... was Carra playing left back? im pretty sure Livepool played 4-3-3, and Riise would most likely be on the left wing, considering that he provided the assist for the 2nd goals in a very advanced position (his hair is so not bright blond/bleach)

West Ham's goal was actually offside, i took a look at it, and it was pretty obvious that it's offside...

good scoreline, West Ham is still a tough team to beat despite their poor form right now, i guess their young stars cant take the heat...


Nope, it started as a 3-4-3 I'm damn sure about it. Carra on the right centre and Agger on the left. Then when Hammers start to gain upperhand we switched to 4-4-2 and then later 5-4-1.