5 things: West Ham 2-3 Liverpool

Liverpool came from behind to defeat West Ham at Upton Park on Sunday afternoon, here are five talking points from the victory and performance.

The Europa Effect

This was the first time that Liverpool have recored a victory following a midweek Europa League match – the eighth attempt. Let’s be honest, this was not a vintage performance and we looked tired for long periods of the game. Having said that, we coped well with West Ham’s physical style and the victory is sweeter for that. It is nice to finally win a game having not played particularly well.

With no Europa League now until February, Liverpool can hopefully profit from having domestic focus and the distraction of European matches removed.

Jose Enrique appeared to have picked up a muscle injury, a common problem for teams playing with only 48 hours rest after a game. There are definitely some players, such as Raheem Sterling, who could benefit from a rest.

Mental Toughness

The fact we did win though, and in doing so recorded our first come-from-behind away victory since 2009 perhaps shows the work of recently appointed sports psychologist Steve Peters at Liverpool. Recent games have seen Liverpool displaying good mental toughness and positive belief in their methods.

After the game Jonjo Shelvey said “The longer the season goes on, the stronger we’ll become.” And so far the results are proving similar. Liverpool are on an upward curve.

Rodgers not afraid to change the game

Just as against Everton and Chelsea earlier in the season, Rodgers again showed he isn’t afraid to make changes to the team and shape. His decision to bring on Jordan Henderson was rewarded with Henderson again impressing and setting up the winner. And then to bring on Coates to see out the game with three at the back and to counter West Ham’s aerial bombardment.

Premier League is weak

For all that Sky Sports will try to tell you how the Premier League is the best League in the World (TM). It clearly isn’t. Liverpool have won 5 games this season – and are incredibly just four points off a Champions League spot. With favourable fixtures over the festive season (Villa (h), Fulham (h), Stoke (a), QPR (a), Sunderland (h)) the new year could see the table looking much more pleasant.

Steven Gerrard

It has to be said. Our captain has not been effective for quite some time now. With Suarez out today it was pondered that Gerrard may be moved into a more advanced role, as Rodgers hinted at in pre-season, but he again was used in midfield. His own goal was due to him being the wrong side of the West Ham player. 15 minutes earlier he allowed exactly the same to happen on a free-kick into the box – but started berating somebody else when it was him who had lost his man. Will Rodgers have the cojones to drop/rest the most influential Liverpool player of the last two decades? With Lucas now back, and Henderson performing, the option is there.

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  • Aylen

    Agree that Gerrard looks a pale imitation of the player he once was. Having to adjust to a different role because of his age and simultanously deal with BRs system looks all too much for him.

  • Pata

    I agree about Gerrard a bit pale. Last homegame he showed that in right position and, in fresh condition he still can perform really well. But the thing thats bothering me is that the fighting spirit are not what i used to be… He often look a bit lazy and doesnt seem to hate loosing as much as when he was younger. We need more winning mentality! And he is the most important player on the field in that aspect.

  • lfc

    I think Rodgers is make a big mistake, playing Gerrard in Xabi Alonso role. The best position for Steve G, is in the back of Suarez.

  • lfc

    Sorry for my english. :)

  • Erik

    Decent performance first 20, especially Johnson. Then tired, uneven. Sterling a bit brittle. Too few irrational movements. Gerrard still complete many good passes, but he’s unreliable. Ought to try him more attacking. Maybe as a sub. I agree with Pata – something’s missing in the attitude. And he never shoots nowadays, why? Another thing: the penalty, the one that wasn’t given to us. What’s going on?

  • josek

    Sorry but i firmly believe that referees are conspiring to cheat liverpool, there can be no other explanation for it after today

    • sandbay

      its seems legit.

    • Stu

      I have a mate who has a mate who is a Prem ref, and he says that apparently at a pre-season ref’s meeting it was decided by a majority vote that if there was a marginal decision in a Liverpool game, then the ref will always side with whoever is playing Liverpool. I couldn’t get to the bottom of why this decision was made, or even why the ref’s would risk there careers siding against Liverpool and how they would benefit, but there you go, facts are facts.

      • eskimo

        Wow if you heard it from a mate who has a mate who is a prem ref then It must be true!

        • Stu

          You’re a sharp one eskimo, that’s for sure…

  • stephen martin

    Joe Allen had a poor game again today
    and I’m not talking about the ‘non’ hand ball. Sterling wasted
    possession every time he had the ball. Luckily he had one good pass
    which led to Cole’s goal. Maybe he needs a rest? Rodgers was naïve in bringing on Coates. We know why he did so, but in doing so
    we effectively gave up possession and invited west ham onto us. I
    hope he doesn’t do that again because a decent team would kill us.
    As a final thought I still don’t see why Gerrard was played out of
    position again when we needed someone who knows where the goal is.
    Shelvey is not that person. He missed every shot he had – even the
    goal. We were very frustrating to watch today, but still it was a
    well earned win. The best team won. Well done Reds.

  • eskimo

    agreed with everything except point 4. in my opinion the fact that all the top teams are so close shows that EPL actually is a good league. it shows that even the so called ‘smaller’ teams have the players to give any team a hard time as opposed to spain where 2 teams are winning everything, is that a strong league or just 2 strong teams?

    • http://www.thisisanfield.com This Is Anfield

      Only Barca or Real win La Liga. Hard to see anyone but City or United winning PL. Fourth place is between Spurs, Arsenal, Everton and LFC but even despite our terrible start we are only 4 points behind. The top 2 / 3 are miles ahead of the rest now.

      • eskimo

        on a sidenote chelsea looked like genuine contenders until di matteo’s sacking but i thought the point you were making in the article was that the fact that anyone can beat anyone shows what a poor league the premierleague is, i’m just saying that’s not my defenition of a poor league because although nobody could beat them over a season both city and united have dropped points in the so called ‘easy’ games

  • David

    Lets not get overly confident ay. Lets be honest, we arent in the same league as Man Utd, City n Chelsea anymore. At the moment i think we will all be happy with a top half table finish this season. But obviously a Champions spot would be amazing. But id give us 2 more seasons if we stay with Rodgers n keep Sterling, Suso, Henderson, Coates n Shelvey to once again become a title threat. But we musnt start becoming overly confident against teams like Sunderland n Stoke, because at the moment we are in their league. So my wish for this season is a 4th place finish with an Europa title. But realisticly ill be happy with 6th place n a Europa Final unless we buy another threatening striker with Suarez in January. So ya theres my 10 cents. YNWA!!!

    • Eoin

      To be fair, we drew with City and Chelsea before their downwards spiral, and the United game was unlucky with Shelvey being sent off. But I agree that we won’t get into the top 4 unless we sign another striker

    • Juss

      This season is completely unpredictable. You can’t count on Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United or Manchester City winning like you normally can. Every single weekend there are multiple upsets. Basically what I am saying, I fully and unbiasedly believe that Liverpool are 100% in the same league as Man Utd, Chelsea and City.

    • Joseph Collins

      I remember playing against those teams you say are in a different league. I remember seeing them again on the schedule this year. We are in the same league as them, and any given day can beat the snot out of them. I firmly believe this to be a fantastic year in the development of a familiar power in the Premier league. We can be champions. We will. Just be patient.

      • Rob

        Hey Joe, wake up! It’s well past noon time.

    • bootle / mick

      the european champions were soundly beaten 3-1 at upton park the orevious week old son ??? as for not bein in the same league as the 2 manc clubs , both were extremely fortunate to leave anfield with any points at all let alone 4 between them .. and how did we fare at stamford bridge ??? oh yer we got a point that was nearly 3 had enrique had his shooting boots on near the end . stop bein negative ….we are not as far behind as mr rodgers would have us believe ….YNWA

  • Lion Heart

    Quality of top teams has declined in the premier league as a result competitiveness has improved.

    I think Gerrard is doing alright but i think Allen has dropped performance levels.

    I thought it was obvious to bring on Henderson as Lucas was looking tired and physically Liverpool were being overpowered in midfield, which all changed after Diame went off injured.

  • A

    Joe cole upfront instead of shelvy, & Sahin for henderson, game would’ve been much simpler.

    • LittlePool

      simpler for West Ham?

    • eskimo

      just watch the game before commenting on it, proves you completely wrong

  • Jack

    Here we go again with the “5 Things” headline. Can’t you be a wee bit more creative with your writing?

  • http://www.facebook.com/imaginationcp.imaginationcp Imaginationcp Imaginationcp


  • Tony P

    why is Downing getting on the pitch he is soooo poor! Gerrard’s best days are definately behind him. Sahin gets paid playing or not. He should be on the pitch where he will do something, Suso needs more playing time, Sterling needs a rest, ineffective today bar the pass for Cole. Apart from the goal Cole looks way past the player he was not even able to dribble or pass continuously and Henderson done well but still not the future england captain. Shouldn’t be at Liverpool. Where has Wisdom gone to! Assaidi needs more game time too! Sturridge, Walcott, Huntlelaar, Llorente & Jackson are the type of players needed to make us great again!

  • Saweahe

    I am so happy that LFC can performed in such a manner at West Ham with that type of physical strength of the West Ham team. We hope we can get good result before the Transfer opens in January.

  • xna Maldives

    Winning against a physical team who beat Chelski a week ago and that we played Europa League 2 days ago, is a Real Bonus and shows real strength of character and will to WIN!

    yeah Stevie has been bit pale, but if u guys see the stats, hes been doing great, passes and crossing… but his mistakes always punishes, btw i think it will be great idea to push him to either flank (remember he scored 23 goals when Rafa put him in LW position)…
    dont let him play in the middle as in rodgers team midfield 3 needs to press a lot and go forward except Lucas… i would rather have Lucas+Hendo+Allen completing the combo than Stevie in there,

    and also, i think Asaidi need to get some games, to boost his confidence, we can see how low he is on confidence last time he played, get the guy some games and he has pace to hurt the opposition and give Yesil and Morgan 1st team chance…

    anyways LFC is on the up YNWA guys

  • Stu

    Nice one mitch, you sharp-witted keyboard warrior you…