Liverpool Match Report

That will teach me to leave two minutes before the end! Apologies this is a bit delayed. Am at Heathrow Airport on my way to Washington for ten days. In my innocence I assumed there would be computers available but every single one is out of order. Typical BAA. Anyway, I digress.

The first half yesterday was dominated by a West Ham team who were clearly up for it. Three times the ball failed to drop for us in the penalty area and I don’t think we had a shot, but more importantly neither did they. Defensively we were again awesome. Some of Upson’s play was spellbindingan although one wayward backpass which went for a corner had my heart in my mouth.

Anton and George were, as usual, also on form and I thought Lucas Neill had his best game for a long time. He got caught out of position a couple of times but Gerrard didn’t take advantage.

Talking of Gerrard, it comes to something when he is eclipsed but Mark Noble owned him last night. I know some people on this blog reckon I overrate him but after that performance surely even they can see his quality. He was absolutely everywhere. Indeed the middle three all performed well. Hayden Mullins looks so confident now. Our first half performance was in large part down to the success of Noble, Mullins and Bowyer dominating the central areas.

When I saw we were going to play 4-5-1 at home my heart sank. It’s not the West Ham way. However, it seems to bring out the best in these players, especially Carlton Cole, who, again, was a revelation. He held the ball up superbly and seemed to win everything in the air.

There are three contenders for Man of the Match – Nobes, Upson and Cole. I’ll go (surprise, surprise!) for Mark Noble.

I’m afraid the broken record is about to be played again, but I do have to mention the perforamnce of Luis Boa Morte, who was appalling. After missing two chances he just seemed to give up. He persistently lost the ball and was, well, just crap. And the way he loped off the pitch, wasting valuable time was a disgrace. There are still 12 hours left in the transfer window to flog him, but let’s face it, who would want him in this form.

It has to be said that when he went off and was replaced by Matty, not a lot changed. Ashton came on too and we reverted to 4-4-2.

A final word about Freddie Ljungberg. Another great performance. I may have to eat my words on him…

All in all, just what I needed before an eight hour flight.

And don’t worry, I’ll still be posting every day while I am away.

Green 8
Upson 9
McCartney 8
Ferdinand 8
Neill 7
Bowyer 7
Noble 9
Mullins 8
Boa Morte 4
Ljungberg 8
Cole 9
Etherington 6
Ashton 6

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28 Responses to Liverpool Match Report

  1. Upton Spark says:

    Tatally agree with everything you say Ian(makes a change!)and felt that we played a tired looking Liverpool side who were not at the races.
    When I came out of the ground I spoke to a couple of Liverpool supporters who said that Liverpool just sent the shirts out.
    Well deserved and taken penalty from Noble.
    Upson was clear man of the match for me.
    UP THE HAMMERS

  2. crazyhorse says:

    Noble was again in great form and i dont know what it will take for the doubters to change their mind.He’s a young lad and took a pressure penalty with nerves of steel,and a great performance on the pitch aswell

  3. jon.london colney says:

    mullins 4 engalnd !

    He has to be the most under rated player we have. his never give up attitude and the simple lay off are just so sublime and as for tackling just ask the souce midfield how much time they had last night?

    this result will never make up for the final but sweet as candy it soooo was.

    4 points (if we win the game in hand) of the top 4.

    ave it !!!!

  4. Dax says:

    It was a deserved victory, I feel we definitely were the better team. I think Upson and Ferdinand have to be our preferred central defender paring. They’re working extremely well together. Cole had a great game, his hold up play and ability to keep possession is excellent, he has really come along, I just wish he had a killer pass in his game. Ian, I have to agree with you with regards to LBM. I hate to slate any of our players but he was a liability last night. Curbs says we’ve only lost 3 in our last 16 in the prem, against Arsenal, Chelsea and Everton. Realistically, I’m really satisfied with how things are going.

  5. DevoDevo says:

    Green 7
    Upson 8
    McCartney 7
    Ferdinand 8
    Neill 7
    Bowyer 7
    Noble 9
    Mullins 8
    Boa Morte 4
    Ljungberg 7
    Cole 8
    Etherington 6
    Ashton 6

    I think 451 suits our squad. I know it means deano starts on the bench but so be it. In fact, when bellamy is back I would like to see him play up on his own.

    For once, I can’t argue with too much of what you say Iain, fortunately, I don’t think we’ll see LBM again this season but for more injuries.

    I think Upson will desevedly be in capello’s squad this afternoon, but no-one should under estimate the current form of Anton who, as I have said before, can be a great player if he gets his mind right.

    COYI.

  6. nr2iron says:

    I have been telling anyone who would listen that we are certanties to finish in the top6 and qualify for europe with major players coming back and the best defence we have had at the boleyn for years so 3 points at anfield as well please.

  7. ironsmith says:

    A great result and performance for 3 points well deserved and I beg to differ from the doubting press! Iain, I agree with you about noble who increasingly impresses me with his maturity, composure and will to win! He and freddie were excellent and a vital part of the team but then again they were all great apart from LBM and I think anton is developing nicely and looked comfortable against torres which speaks bundles for him. I can not wait for the speed merchants to return and hopefully bellamy and faubert will make it for the wigan and birmingham games giving AC a selection problem which he won’t mind at all. We are just knocking on europes’ door now!

  8. Rich says:

    Agree with the sentiments Ian, makes a change from the absolute piffle I had to read from Mr Ley in the Telegraph – now that’s an art form, turning a good West Ham performance into a ‘Liverpool were the only team in the game and but for some pedestrian defending from the Hammers…’ Oh dear.

  9. chris says:

    Agree with most of your points Iain,except lungberg was my man of match,dont no what curbs is going to do when everyones fit,faubert solano parker etc,i would drop bowyer ,but for who I dont no all were playing well,maybe put lungberg left parker mullins noble faubert/solano,5 man midfield,Like us when we play that system,and I’m gonna stick my neck out here and say that when everyones back I think we will finish 6.

  10. Mac says:

    Great report Iain, totally encapsulates the match.

    Now THAT”S a home performance to be proud of. I was afraid we’d be letting them off the hook and settling for one of Curbs after-match specials, (‘we’re disappointed to be honest etc etc’), but Noble’s pen was a cracker and 1-0 against the Reds sounds awesome. We scored, kept a clean sheet and beat ’em. We beat Liverpool. Don’t often get the chance to say that.

  11. JimmyDisco says:

    Ian,

    Although impressed with numerous performances by Matthew Upson this season one thing concerns me about him still. When we are playing a 4-5-1 formation and the opposition are running AT him he’s the rock that you mention. However if we switch to a more traditional 4-4-2 and there are gaps for the opposition to play balls into he seems highly vulnerable to me. Ever since Elano just walked past him to set up a goal in the City game at the start of the season I have been watching him and his lack of pace over any sort of distance is quite shocking.

    I’m always glad to see a Hammer make the England squad. But i worry that the system may be different to our own and that Matty could be exposed and his confidence battered.

    Obviously I hope that I am very wrong of course

  12. Glenn Roeder says:

    Laughed out loud when I saw Greeno was not in the England team. He should of joined a big club.

    OTBC.

  13. west ham johnny says:

    yes that was nobles best game in a while but u cant for get bowyer and especially mullins who mopped up everything last night. but for man of the match has to be upson who had the great tores in his pocket.
    well done curbs again i thought it was a mistake playing 4-5-1 against them but it kept it close all game and us the better side until we went 4-4-2 then liverpool started toget back into it which then he went back to 4-5-1 for the final 10 mins which shocked me and alot of people but it paid off so well done curbs.

    as for boa-morte, i did give him some stick but i still dont think he deserved what he got when he was substituted, it aint gonna make him play any better. all season certain players have been gettin abuse and then started playing well and we soon shut up and cheer em on. i remember at the start of the season upson was getting a little stick, carlton cole got alot, freddie was gettin it and so was ashton but soon as they do something good we cheer em on again. with that win last night we can really look to push for a place in europe so lets get behind the hole team and management and make it a great 2nd half to the season

    we all follow the west ham

  14. HammerMalta says:

    It would be unfair to pick one man of the match as for me they were all men of the match ,they were simple fantastic they worked so hard as they should do,well it’s a treat to our fans as we’re playing our best football away from home.Well done lads.COME ON YOU IRONS!!! Keep it going.

  15. brooking is still the best says:

    I could not make it last night, but i saw the extended highlights on Sky. It didnt look to be a great game but I got the impression we had the better of the game. Noble looked great as did Upson.

    I can not believe Green didnt make the England squad. What has he got to do?
    Well done to Upson, he deserves the call. There must be a few Hammers who are a tad disapointed though for not making a squad of 30

  16. claire says:

    Thanks as always, Iain. Glad you mentioned Ljungberg. Thought he improves every game. Upson MOTM for me, though, but take nothing away from Noble for a well-struck, very strong penalty shot. Goalie went the right way, but couldn’t get it.

    Finally – why boo Benayoun? As the bloke in front of me said, it’s not as if he was the only player ever to have left us for better prospects….

  17. Doc H Ball says:

    Wasn’t it great? ‘Bout time we got a late goal against the scousers to make up (a bit) for the FA cup final heartbreak. Since I was born (’63) we’ve never won at Anfield despite a few near misses (anyone else remeber Ward hitting the bar in the last minute about 15 years back?) and I can’t wait to go there in March and see if we can finally lay that ghost to rest.

    Couldn’t agree more about Noble, what a palyer! I also think Anton deserves far more credit than the normal posters give him – I thought he and Upson were outstanding again.

    One low point – why are some sections of the crowd giving Ashton the bird? He’s clearly unfit and had Curbs bought a proper reserve striker at the start of the season, then he might have been rested better. Lay off the bloke, I still think he’s the best outright striker we’ve had for yonks.

    Now let’s stick one up Whelan and Wigan and send them where they belong – with Sheffield Utd.

  18. Hammers & Zvezda says:

    What I wouldn’t give for the last 3 seconds of this match to replace the last seconds on the 2006 Cup Final! And stop whinging about an 8 hour flight (luxury!), try 22 hour flights to Europe!!!

  19. plaistow54 says:

    I’m in the right thread this time, let me look, yep. What an exciting game. All the fun of the fair. I thought oh’ well, a point, fair enough, then Freddie has a run & Carragher takes out his leg. Up steps Noble, the coolest man on the planet. That’s the stuff dreams are made of. You couldn’t write the script any better if you tried. He was the front man for a team performance though. Great all round except for a couple of missed chances. Lucas Neill said he wanted to chase fourth spot. Sounded a bit eager at first but when you look at it we are not that far behind Everton. You are right Iain. Who’d a thunk it at the start of the season. Curbs for all his serious, traditional type managerial nature is certainly getting the best out of the players. Still a ways to go but. Curbs In.

  20. West_Ham says:

    I feel a bit sorry for Boa and think he gets a bit of unfair criticism off our fans. We should not forget that he is never short of effort and always makes his physical presence known.

    The problem with him is that he lacks that extra bit of quality and unfortunately for him that’s the first thing that Hammers fans look for. We have seen that he can produce quality at Fulham, even if he did stand out more there, so I think it’s only a matter of time and given the effort he puts in I think we should stick by him and work on nurturing that quality out of him again.

    Perhaps it’s the pressure of competing for places at West Ham which has caused him to try a little too hard to impress at times. He probably never had that pressure at Fulham. He seemed to start every game there.

    Whatever it is he has good points and bad points just like Ethers so whilst he is happy to stay we can’t afford to drop him IMV.

  21. ryansmith says:

    i agree with Ian.
    i also thought it was a joke that greeno got left out of the england squad as he is easily the best keeper in england.
    I was there at the game and noticed that LBM onli started to get booed when he took ages to walk off the pitch, to be fair to him he was disapointed to be subbed, but i flt this was not right attitude,
    mullins was my man of the match.

  22. crazyhorse says:

    For a young lad like noble to take that penalty and calmly put it in the back of net shows quality and calm nerves of steel,great play on the pitch and a great penalty to round it off

  23. Upton Spark says:

    Dear Claire; The paying public bood Yossi because he said he would sign a 5 year deal with us then 2 weeks later went and signed for Liverpool.
    I do not agree with booing ex players as it usually spurs them on,not in Yossi’s case though!
    I wish Yossi had stayed with us as I think he could have done well for us this year and then got into Europe anyway,which is why he left us. He wanted European football and Liverpool can give it to him.
    Great player on his day. Miss him loads.

  24. Carlos Tabrez says:

    I feel sorry for BOA MORTE. He just needs something to go for him and it’ll bring him confidence. COLE experienced the same thing early in his west ham career but CURBISHLEY stuck with him and now he’s keeping ASHTON out of the team. May be if CURBISHLEY goes 4-4-2, BOA MORTE will have less pressure to score and can concentrate on providing from the left.

    Many moons ago, I did mention on Iains blog that NOBBY and BOA MORTE should practice more in training in putting the ball away. Maybe this can help his confidence as everytime he now gets in front of goal he will do things by thinking instead if on instinct which is always the best.

    I know he missed two chances but you should back him like you back NOBLE Iain who also missed two chances against city if you remember. It’s football, it happens. Let’s not highlight his every mistake. It’s the “negativity bias” leading to “confirmation bias” (psychology). In affect every footballer makes many mistakes during a game but with BOA MORTE, some of us are getting to the point where we will not see any good he does for love nor money because we have this “negativity bias”. When he does make a mistake we say, see, told you so “confirmation bias”.

    I think it’s affecting him so much so that our captain LUCAS NEIL felt the need to write the following in his column:

    “The only low point of the game came when Luis Boa Morte was substituted. I was a little bit stunned as to why he received a negative reaction from a minority of the crowd. Luis is suffering with his confidence at the moment but the one thing he will always give you is commitment and an unselfish workrate for the team. I use Coley’s situation as an example that once he gets his confidence back he will be an integral part of the squad. So please keep the faith that the rest of the team have in him and get behind him.” LUCAS NEIL

    I suppose one benefit of BOA MORTE walking off the pitch slowly was that after NOBLE had slotted away the pen, LIVERPOOL had no time to reply. Let’s look at it that way.

    UPSON was good Iain but ANTON was outstanding… as was LJUNDBERG and MULLINS who had GERRARD in his pocket allowing BOWYER and NOBLE to get forward.

    Credit to NOBLE for showing big balls in converting the penalty especially against a keeper who has a good penalty saving record which can have a adverse affect on whoever was going to take the penalty. I still think he needs to put his crosses a bit deeper though with a bit of dip and hit the first man less often…..like SOLANO.

    Most impressive was the work rate of everyone.

  25. Carlos Tabrez says:

    The manager had a final word for Luis Boa Morte, himself not long back from injury, who received some criticism on Wednesday night from a small section of the crowd. “I was very disappointed with that and the rest of the players were,” he said. “You don’t like to hear that and let’s hope it is a one-off. I would ask the fans to get behind the players because they can all surely see that everybody is committed at the moment here at the club. They are giving everything.” whufc.com

  26. crazyhorse says:

    Cant and wont fault noble,nerves of steel taking a penalty and lets not forget hes only a young lad with a great future

  27. WHU Kim says:

    Agree with your report Iain and particularly about Boa Morte, it’s not nice getting stick from your own fans but if he’s going to behave like that when he’s subbed he is asking for trouble. I also saw him arguing heatedly with Curbishley first half. For a player of his age and experience he needs to show more maturity as when he’s throwing tantrums it affects his play.

    Another top class display by Noble, indeed the whole team apart from Boa Morte. I don’t get this, he works hard stuff, isn’t that what a highly paid professional footballer should be doing anyway? Ljungberg has really shown some good form of late so fingers crossed he’s not the has been lemon I thought he was!

  28. West_Ham says:

    I really think the whole subbing of LBM issue is a storm in a teacup. All I saw him do was walk off the pitch. What’s wrong with that? I saw no tantrum or ill feeling from LBM. Just disappointment if anything.

    I think it’s wrong to make more of these things than what actually happened. We weren’t losing the game so there was no real need to hurry up. Plus we went on to win it so let’s just put LBM’s performance down to a bad day at the office and start getting behind the players. If for no other reason than to help him restore some lost confidence.

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