Saturday, 7th December 2013
Almost every year since Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters scored to secure a 2-1 win way back in September 1963, Hammers fans have left Merseyside disappointed with just the odd draw to take comfort from.
And so it was the case again today as Sam Allardyce's side - who managed to secure a 0-0 draw here just eight months ago - were beaten 4-1 by a far stronger and more committed team.
Although the Hammers held out until the 42nd minute, the Reds had fired warnings shots on a number of occasions prior to opening the scoring - ironically perhaps through a Guy Demel own goal. Jussi Jaaskelainen's smart stop from Luis Suarez's shot cannoned off the Ivorian defender after Kevin Nolan had given the ball away carelessly 30 yards from goal.
Liverpool doubled their advantage just two minutes after the restart - and once again, West Ham 's defending was questionable. James Tomkins' lunge at Luis Suarez earned the home side a free kick which was delivered to the back post by Steve Gerrard. Guy Demel lost his man, Mamadou Sakho, who hooked the ball back across goal despite James Collins' best efforts to hook away.
After suffering a couple of scares the Hammers got a deserved consolation with 66 minutes on the clock. Guy Demel's deep cross was nodded back across goal by Matt Jarvis and turned into his own net by Martin Skrtel, whose interception was necessitated by the presence of a lurking Modibo Maiga.
Spurred on by the own goal, West Ham enjoyed their best period of the game for the next ten minutes but couldn't fashion an equaliser. That was to prove costly when Luis Suarez, who had threatened all afternoon finally got on the scoresheet with nine minutes left to play.
Glen Johnson - unusually not on the scoresheet against his former employers - pierced the right flank before sending over another deep cross for the Uruguayan, who outfoxed marker Collins before finding the net with a bullet header. Little more than 60 seconds later the Hammers were reduced to ten men when Nolan received a straight red for a filthy - and quite deliberate - stamp on Henderson.
West Ham's misery was compounded three minutes later when Joey O'Brien became the third unfortunate player to register an own goal. Suarez teased Mark Noble, who appeared loathe to make a challenge in such a dangerous area, before firing low and hard; his effort cannoned off the back off the Irishman to make it 4-1.
Although few would have expected anything from a fixture in which the Hammers have failed to register a win since the Beatles were topping the charts, the manner of defeat today - and the number of yet more costly, individual errors - raises further concerns about the squad's ability to fight the ensuing relegation battle.
All of which makes next weekend's match against Sunderland at the Boleyn Ground a huge game - for all parties concerned.
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Little he could do about any of the goals.
An own goal and responsible (partly) for another. Not his greatest day.
Struggled to keep up with the game in only his second start since his recent return.
Lost Suarez for the third goal to maintain his regular tally of errors. Put in some good challenges and blocks too though.
Destroyed for pace by Stirling once and lucky to escape scot-free. Doesn't look half as assured without Winston Reid alongside him. Injured early on in the second half.
Once again lots of nice passes in the middle of the pitch, too few incisive ones in the final third.
Hustled and bustled but still not at his best.
Will get an assist for Skrtel's oggie and put in one great cross that Maiga was unlucky not to register with. Liitle else to sing about though.
Had a great half against his former employers until he was substituted at the break and sent to hospital to receive treatment on an Achilles/calf would that wa inflicted in the opening minute of the game.
Fairly dreadful again - and there's no place at West Ham for the snidey foul that earned him a nice little break just ahead of Christmas.
He's hustling and bustling, credit where credit's due - but you sometimes wonder if he wouldn't be more effective in a performance of Swan Lake by the Royal Ballet Company. Unlucky not to register with a great header from a Jarvis centre.
Another up against his former employers. Did little to suggest they'd made a mistake by selling him.
Joey P Brien
Filled in in unfamiliar territory and was rewarded for his efforts by grabbing on own goal.
Ran around a bit, waved his arms a lot. Little time to do owt else.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Man of the Match: Stewart Downing.
West Ham United
Jussi Jaaskelainen, Guy Demel, George McCartney, James Collins, James Tomkins, Mark Noble, Mo Diame, Matt Jarvis, Stewart Downing, Kevin Nolan, Modibo Maiga.
Goals: Martin Skrtel og 66 .
Booked: None booked. .
Sent Off: None sent off. .
Subs not used: .
Booked: None booked..
Sent Off: None sent off..