“FA Cup football with the Premier League handbrake on” – How the media reacted to Liverpool 0-0 West Ham

on 31.01.2016


Following Liverpool’s goalless draw against West Ham in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday, we round up the best media reaction from the Anfield showdown.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 30, 2016: Liverpool's angry manager Jürgen Klopp during dismal goal-less draw against West Ham United during the FA Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This was not a classic encounter on Merseyside, and a far cry from the unforgettable FA Cup final clash between the Reds and the Hammers a decade ago.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side were the better of the two teams on the night, but once again a lack of composure in front of goal proved to be their downfall.

The youngsters that Klopp fielded should feel proud of their efforts, however, in particular the midfield duo of Cameron Brannagan and Kevin Stewart.

The draw means that a replay is now required at Upton Park in February, which will add further congestion to the Reds’ continued fixture pile-up this season. At least they’re still in the hat, though.

Here is how the media reacted to the game:

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 30, 2016: Liverpool's Kevin Stewart in action against West Ham United during the FA Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 30, 2016: Liverpool's Kevin Stewart in action against West Ham United during the FA Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Article continues below

The Liverpool Echo‘s Kristian Walsh heaped praise on Liverpool’s young players, and feels they deserve another crack of the whip in the replay:

Exeter was just child’s play compared to this. This was not just a Premier League side, but one that sits one place and two points above the Reds; one that took six points from their two meetings this season, scoring five without reply.

It was always going to be a difficult evening for Klopp’s kids. Granted, they had a more senior centre-back partnership to combat the threat of West Ham, but Slaven Bilic was not in a charitable mood. The Croatian selected his strongest side possible; this would be a character-building night, if nothing else, for the Reds.

Consider it built. A gritty goalless draw is just reward for their endeavour.

In terms of development of the younger players, these 90 minutes were far more useful than the show against Exeter. Though the team excited against the League Two side at Anfield, this is where players truly learn their craft.

[…]

Klopp’s annoyance at the fixture pile-up is understandable, but it is the best possible thing for some of these younger players. Another chance to shine, another lesson to be learnt. They deserve it.


David Maddock of the Mirror admitted that it was far from the most eye-catching of spectacles:

As much as this was an interesting contrast between the contrasting demands on each manager, we shouldn’t get too carried away with the idea that made for a quality game.

It didn’t. It was too sterile, with running and passing in midfield the go-to for both teams, and little imagination over the course of the 90 minutes.

Not even Dimitri Payet found any space to perform his magic for long stretches of the game, and that was a shame, because he was the one player here football crowds would pay good money to see.

Article continues below

This modern trend towards pressing is all well and good, but when side cover more than 150km per game – as Liverpool did in midweek – then it leaves little room or time for expression.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 30, 2016: Liverpool's Steven Caulker applauds the supporters after a dismal goal-less draw against West Ham United during the FA Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Telegraph‘s Sam Wallace was another who admitted it was a half-hearted affair, and believes Klopp will be frustrated at the thought of yet another fixture for his side:

This was FA Cup football with the Premier League handbrake on: two teams anticipating midweek league fixtures and assigning only as much resources to a fourth-round tie as their respective managers might dare, given the challenges that lie ahead.

Both clubs play in the league on Tuesday night and having failed to decide this tie on the night they will have to reconvene at the Boleyn Ground in the week after next.

There were too few chances to decide it, although a much less experienced Liverpool team than their West Ham opponents shaded it in terms of performance – the question will be whether Jurgen Klopp commits more first-team players to the replay.

[…]

Klopp sent on Sheyi Ojo and Jerome Sinclair to try to force the issue but this never felt like an urgent, important cup tie despite the fact that both these clubs could really do with a trophy of this magnitude.

The replay will be unwelcome for them both although before that there is Leicester City on Tuesday for Klopp’s side. It took them two games to get past Exeter too in the previous round and the Liverpool manager will hardly be delighted to get another double-header against challenging opposition.

Article continues below

James Pearce of the Echo felt Klopp’s team selection paid off in general, but was highly critical of yet another insipid showing from Christian Benteke:

Klopp will feel that his selection was vindicated. Liverpool remain in the FA Cup and his first choice line up will be refreshed and ready for Tuesday night’s trip to Premier League leaders Leicester City.

But the manager will surely regret not having a bit more quality on the bench capable of settling this tie at the first attempt. West Ham won’t be this poor in the replay.

The failings were painfully familiar as chances went begging and the Reds’ dominance went unrewarded. West Ham keeper Darren Randolph was exceptional but there were times when he should have been taken out of the equation.

Christian Benteke endured yet another day to forget as his barren run stretched to nine matches. Just as in the previous round against Exeter, the £32.5million frontman was put in the shade by the contribution of the rookies all around him.

Rather than stake a claim for a starting spot at Leicester on Tuesday, Benteke merely showed why he will be relegated to bench duty once again.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 30, 2016: Liverpool's Christian Benteke looks dejected after missing a chance against West Ham United during the FA Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Article continues below

In his ESPN player ratings, Steven Kelly lauded the performances of Brannagan and Joao Teixeira, but bemoaned Benteke’s lack of commitment:

Brannagan (8/10) – Good quality throughout, including a marked improvement in set-piece delivery from that of James Milner‘s. Blasted a fine left foot shot which almost gave Liverpool the lead in the first half. He understandably faded a little but still played his part in the pressing game that has become Klopp’s trademark. Easily his best performance for Liverpool so far.

Teixeira (7/10) – More trickery and lots of hard work, he perhaps could have scored in the second half but wasn’t given the ball when free in the penalty area and on another occasion shot tamely at the goalkeeper. Bizarrely replaced by Jose Enrique at the very end, he was one of the few players who can be proud of their overall contribution.

Benteke (4/10) – This is now taking on the look of a standoff between player and manager. The Belgian simply does not commit himself fully on such occasions, sparking impatience in the crowd. If he really feels he deserves a regular start in the team, he’s going the wrong way about it. Though any debate over the service he receives will continue, Benteke is not meeting his teammates or manager even remotely halfway.


[interaction id=”56ad2125ef54eee31e528221″]

LIVERPOOL 0-0 WEST HAM

Share:

Fans Are Reading

More LFC news, opinion & videos

Fan Comments

Comments are retrospectively moderated. Some could be subject to delays before publication. They must obey the comment policy. Comments load below.

Please only discuss the article above. General chat can be made on our forums at forums.thisisanfield.com


20 COMMENTS

  1. “Jurgen Klopp‘s side were the better of the two teams on the night”

    Klopp’s kids are showing plenty of promise!

  2. Of all the crop of Belgian players in its current golden generation, we got Benteke and Mignolet.

    This is Liverpool.

    • Not the for the first time Joe, when Houllier was in charge there were some superb French players around, and we ended up with the “rest”.

      • rafa got it right with the spanish players lets hope klopp does with the germans and poles Thats what can make or break a manager
        look at rodgers and his championship players

    • ”It is how it is”
      It hurts to see the performance of Benteke and Ibe last night but with injuries etc it ain’t gonna change until next season. Klopp can only make do with what was left to him.

  3. Such a shame that Danny Ings is injured i think that he would flourish with some of the kids around him.

  4. Not much of a spectacle at all, my lads are so glad that they did not waste their money and got tickets for the away game on tuesday instead at least they will get an atmosphere if nothing else

  5. I think we should give the kids another crack at the whip definitely!! Play the same midfield and back four,but bring in ward for mignolet,firmino in for benteke,coutinho in for texeira,and obviously ojo in for ibe!!

  6. Klopps kids. Jurgens jungens. Call them whatever you like but if they keep playing the way the are then he will have no option but to play some of them in front of so called first team players. They are giving everything and leaving nothing at the end of the games they have played. Good luck to them and i hope a few can make enough of an impression to surpass the guys who we paid a lot of money for and have gotten very little in return. Brannagan, stewart, teixeira and smith are knocking on the door very loudly and theres a few in the queue to follow suit. Heres to you lads so keep at it

  7. Slowly Klopp is building the second team to support the first 11. We should be unleashing this team for cup ties where the first 11 can focus on league. Liverpool is playing loads of matches this season and many players will get match time if they show intent.

Leave a Reply