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Liverpool 0-0 West Ham Utd


Filed: Sunday, 7th April 2013
By: Staff Writer


West Ham came within the width of a goal line from recording their first victory at Anfield since 1963.

Jack Collison's 86th-minute header had beaten Liverpool 'keeper Pepe Reina and was about to end one of football's most unwanted records, until a desperate swing by Liverpool defender Lucas cleared the ball from underneath the crossbar.

With that went United's hopes of cementing their first win on the red side of Stanley Park in 50 years - although Sam Allardyce and his team were at least able to enjoy a share of the spoils at a ground where both points and goals have been hard to come by over the years.

Allardyce, whose team held a high line defensively for much of the match and showed a modicum of attacking intent - unlike in some away games this season - more than matched a Liverpool team who were a mere shadow of some of the wonderful sides to have graced Anfield over the years.

Only Player of the Year-contender Luis Suarez and recent arrival Coutinho proved any real threat to West Ham, who have now played 40 times at Anfield since last tasting success.

But the Liverpool duo were more than matched by United's central defender James Collins, who was once again imperious in defence and limited the dangerous Uruguayan to a couple of half chances.

West Ham, playing with a freedom afforded them by last week's win against West Brom which all but killed off the spectre of relegation - but missing key players like Winston Reid, Joe Cole and Andy Carroll - started today's game positively and continued in a similar frame of mind throughout.

It was Allardyce's side who created the best opportunity of the opening half when Mo Diame - playing with the same verve and tenacity that won him the Man of the Match award in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season - weaved his way through four Liverpool players before firing wildly over from just eight yards, with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Liverpool's response was a well-crafted move on the right between Coutinho and Suarez which left the latter odds-on to score but Jussi Jaaskelainen, continuing his recent good form, saved smartly at his near post.

After the break, clear goalscoring opportunities continued to be a rarity although Liverpool will perhaps feel they had the upper edge. Steven Gerrard, the bane of West Ham for many a year burst into the box minutes after the restart but his low cross was thumped clear.

James Tomkins, stationed underneath the crossbar was called into action on 55 minutes when he was on hand to avert Gerrard's goalbound effort. And on the hour mark, Suarez's low delivery was just asking for the finishing touch to be applied but agonisingly - for the home fans, anyway - it trickled away to safety.

West Ham were then denied what appeared to be a fairly obvious penalty on 63 minutes when James Tomkins was kicked in the thigh from behind. Referee Anthony Taylor - who was responsible for Carlton Cole's ludicrous red card against Everton in December - was well positioned and waved play on, but it was one of those that would have almost certainly been given anywhere else on the pitch.

The home side did eventually find the back of the net on 66 minutes but substitute Daniel Sturridge - who was otherwise anonymous - saw his effort (rightly) chalked off, as he was standing in an offside position when receiving the ball.

Four minutes later Steven Gerrard reverted to type by going down inside the box following a challenge from Tomkins, but referee Taylor was having none of it. He may also have noticed that Tomkins touched the ball before connecting with Gerrard.

That was about it as far as the home side were concerned as an attacking force, but West Ham were not content to sit back and take a point. Sub Matt Taylor saw a shot blocked following an excellent move - before being booked for time-wasting - but the final chance of glory, the opportunity to finally end 50 years of hurt was left to fellow sub, Jack Collison.

With just four minutes of normal time remaining, Matt Jarvis' corner was floated towards the far post. Collison emerged from amongst a group of players to connect firmly with Jarvis' cross and send it goalbound. Reina was well beaten - but Brazilian defender Lucas wasn't, and he hooked the ball away from danger.

The Welsh midfielder now joins an exclusive club of Hammers who have spurned glorious chances to end West Ham's miserable run at Anfield. Gavin Holligan, Craig Bellamy and Luis Boa Morte have all been there before - but 50 years since Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst set up a 2-1 win, West Ham still remain winless at Anfield.

The points keeps West Ham in 12th spot in the Premier League, level on points with 11th-placed Southampton but with a game in hand.


Liverpool 0-0 West Ham United: match facts

West Ham Utd: Jaaskelainen, Demel, O'Brien, Tomkins (Pogatetz 83), Collins, Diame, O'Neil, Nolan (Taylor 62), Jarvis, Vaz Te (Collison 63), C.Cole.

Subs not Used: S Henderson, Potts, Maiga, Chamakh.

Booked: Taylor (85).

Shots On/Off Target: 4/6.

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Enrique, Carragher, Agger, J Henderson (Assaidi 75), Lucas, Gerrard (c), Coutinho, Downing (Sturridge 25), Suarez.

Subs not Used: Jones, Coates, Shelvey, Skrtel, Suso

Shots On/Off Target: 12/7.

Possession (%): Liverpool 57-43 West Ham Utd

Corners: Liverpool 12-2 West Ham Utd

Fouls: Liverpool 8-4 West Ham Utd

Referee: Anthony Taylor.

Attendance: 45,007.





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