Text  Larger | Smaller | Default

West Ham Utd v Liverpool: match preview

Filed: Saturday, 26th February 2011
By: Preview Percy

Preview Percy's taken time out from giving the staff at his old folk's home a hard time over the lack of Werther's Originals to pen a few words about this weekend's fixture against Liverpool....

Next up we play host to Liverpool in a 1.30pm kick off which is live on Sky. Bits of the District Line are closed so, if your journey includes bits of the District Line you’ll need to leave about five minutes ago.

I’ll declare an interest at this point. I dislike this week’s opponents. Partly because pound for pound, historically they’re probably one of the most corrupt clubs in football – easily giving Arsenal a run for their money – but mostly for the fact that the British Broadcasting Corporation seems to consider itself to be their in-house tv and radio station. Right back to the 1970’s when the chances of seeing your club on MOTD depended largely upon whether you were playing Liverpool, right through to the current day, when their half time coverage of our League Cup semi-final consisted of ten minutes of talking about, er, Liverpool. I have written to the management committee of my nursing home suggesting that they don’t pay the home’s tv licence fee in protest but I’m not holding out much hope – the warden is a scouser which means that a) probably approves of the BBC’s fascination with his rotten club, and b) he almost certainly hasn’t paid it anyway.

The visitors come on the back of some improved form following the appointment of Kenny Dalglish after Roy Hodgson was sacked. They’ve won four and drawn two of their last six which leaves them in 6th place which would see them back in the Europa League. They qualified for last 200 or so the other night, with a 1-0 win over Sparta Prague that was as dull as it sounds. At this rate if they make the final it’s due to be held in 2014. The whole Europa League thing is a bit bloated – it seems to have taken Cricket’s World Cup format as a template where every team plays each other 200 times just so that Kenya and Canada can be eliminated.

They had an interesting transfer window. The hand-wringing that accompanied the departure of Fernando Torres was hilarious. John Aldridge’s comments that Torres had “spat in the face” of the club’s supporters was a gift from heaven to hypocrisy spotters worldwide. Let’s face it Torres was going nowhere fast at Anfield and, given the option to go to a better team he was going to take it, especially since his spell at Anfield had seen him drop down the pecking order at international level.

If anyone’s supporters had had their faces spat in it might well have been Newcastle’s having seen Andy Carroll go for a ridiculous fee. Carroll moved to Merseyside and immediately immersed himself in the local culture by going straight “on the sick”. Presumably he will be looking at some stage to take advantage of the legal loophole that applies to Liverpool players when out for a drink. Apparently you can go out mob handed up there and beat up a DJ and claim self defence – a defence sadly not available to the other five people in your party. Given Carroll’s regular visits to the beak in the past, the “get out of jail free” card may well come in useful. There were rumblings that Carroll may be fit to make his debut for this one earlier this week. Dalglish played those rumours down without actually denying that the player would be available for selection which probably means that his claim for Incapacity Benefit (or whatever it’s called this week) is about to run out. Either way it would not be the biggest of surprise if he played. Look out for a no.9 shirt with the word “Roll” on the back (they won’t want to risk the Car being nicked).

It looked like defender Daniel Agger might be on his way to Italy during the window when his agent was alleged to have been in negotiations with Milan. However, nothing came of the move. Those aren’t the only rumours about the Danish defender that have been doing the rounds but I’m sure that those are merely scurrilous and that all his injuries over the past few years have been genuine.

Another possibly coming back from injury is old foe Steve Gerrard. The home support claim that he is the one player that epitomises Liverpool and over the years that’s a fair comment given that he’s a diving cheat with a nasty line in two-footed tackles and elbows to the face. I’ve lost count of the times that he’s scored from dubiously-won free-kicks. Curiously MOTD always elect to show the free-kick rather than the dive that preceded it. He’s been suffering from a groin strain, a perennial problem that he might alleviate by staying on his feet a bit more. Perhaps our wonderful officials might assist in that regard.

If the oh so witty visiting supporters start up the “let your country down” chant at Rob Green you could do worse than point out the sight of Jamie Carragher amongst the opposition ranks. Having ruled himself out of all those tedious qualifying and friendly matches, he bravely and selflessly made himself available for the World Cup in South Africa whereupon he went on to prove why he should never have been selected in the first place.

The other big arrival during the window was Uruguayan World Cup star Luis Suarez. Suarez gained notoriety in South Africa with his handball on the line that denied Ghana a semi-final place. His history also includes a seven-match suspension last year gained as a result of biting an opponent, his defence that his actions were a tribute to his fellow countrymen as featured in the book and film “Alive” was not accepted.

There are a number of ex-Hammers on the books. Paul Konchesky seems to have played his last game for the club after his Mum apparently upset the Liverpool support by pointing out a few home truths about their loyalty. He’s been shipped out to Notts County and is probably regretting moving from Fulham. Still in the current squad are Glen Johnson and Joe Cole. Cole featured in the win over Sparta Prague (who featured T Repka esq) and it’s good to see the player fit again after injury, though you can’t help but feel that his undoubted talents deserve a better stage than his current club. Johnson has made the England right back berth his own though Dalglish has used him on the left hand side. Johnson has been involved in a bit of unseemly contretemps with tv pundit Paul Merson. Merson suggested that Johnson had been responsible for costing former boss Hodgson his job. Johnson’s commented on twitter that he wasn’t going to worry about comments from “alcoholic drug abusers” Which begs the question: what on earth is twitter?

Well what of us? Our last league outing saw the ultimate in games of two halves when Scott Parker’s half time team talk inspired Carlton Cole so much that 45 minutes later he’d forgotten what it was. Cole of course picked up a brace in the 5-1 win over Burnley on Monday, his first adding another to the collection of comedy clips in which the player has been involved. The second was a decent finish though. We’re currently going through yet another injury crisis – of course. Upson apparently risked training yesterday though there’s no sign of a return as yet. Tomkins is doubtful, which will probably see some involvement for the unconvincing Reid. Gabbidon is another who may come into contention having apparently recovered from his latest hamstring problem.

Keane will be absent for a week or two more and I can only assume that Dyer was sent to Libya for his last spot of treatment. Obinna may be available which would give us a full attacking set to pick from. The best news is that Hitzlsperger is likely to make his first league appearance of the season having come through a large chunk of the cup win without further damage. Der Hammer (which is German for “The Hammer”) scored a fine opener. Just as impressive was his command of the English language in the post-match interview one heard on the wireless, something that put his English colleagues to shame.

We need to show the sort of fight we did in the second half at the Hawthorns to get something out of this one. That said there’s always the danger of giving the opponents too much respect. Despite all the hype from their pals at Broadcasting House they are just another club and should be treated as such. We were certainly guilty of giving them far too much leeway up at Anfield in the reverse fixture in which we all but invited them to take the points.

This match requires a no nonsense sleeves rolled up out and out battle. I’m sure that Parker and “Der Hammer” will be keen to stop Gerrard taking liberties and, assuming the gangster’s apologist, plays, that‘ll be the key area. A clean sheet is highly unlikely of course but I’m hopeful that Grant will concentrate on scarf-wearing and leave the pre-match gee-up to Parker and, assuming Cole can remember it, I’ll go for a 1-1 (though a possibly cheeky 2-1 win should not entirely be ruled out!)

Enjoy the game!

Last season: Lost 2-3 The cynical treatment of Zavon Hines went unpunished as defensive lapses cost us the points.

Danger man: Steve Gerrard – con man extraordinaire is always worth a few free kicks in dangerous positions.

Referee: Mark Halsey second visit to the Boleyn of the season for the official who took charge of the 3-1 win against Wigan. He was also in the middle for the 3-1 away trip to Fulham. One of the more honest refs in the game, he’ll need to be able to cop a deaf one at the constant whingeing he’s likely to face.

Daft fact of the week: Former Liverpool hard man Tommy Smith once ended up before a DSS tribunal having taken a penalty in a charity shoot out at Wembley. Smith, who, unusually for someone from that part of the world, was on some sort of incapacity benefits, joked that he’d been shopped by an Evertonian, something that has gone down into local folklore despite the fact that the DSS employee concerned was actually a Rugby League fan with no football allegiance whatsoever.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

Your Comments

by easykill2517
06:51AM 27th Feb 2011
''Fantastic write up mate. Lets hope the referees don't muck it up too much :)

Unfortunate that Upson is still out, but our defence is still strong enough to take care of Gerrard. I'm a bit young to have remembered that BBC bit, but knowing that now I'll have to pay more attention to it.

Overall I can't wait for the match, and hope for three points. I was on a LFC
forum and they're predicting a massacre. I'm sure those Sousers will be in for a shock at the end of 90 minutes.''

by West_ham4Lyfe
05:55AM 27th Feb 2011
''Really says all there is to say about the red filth. I remember the bullsh*t we used to endure from the media in the 1970s just because every ref was too shit-scared to let them lose a match. Never mind though, we're on a level playing field now.

I always wanted to see them knocked off their perch by Sir Alex and if we win we'll be helping us and them. I've
always had a soft spot for Man U, compared to those bellends at least. We've been in the shadow of them for
years and a win tomorrow will set us on our way to survival, and eventually overtaking them, and if we can manage survival we'll be in a strong position next year.''

by LFC fan
03:10AM 27th Feb 2011
''You put a smile on my face after reading that... Thanks a lot!''

by Mark (LFC)
10:18PM 26th Feb 2011
''Why assume fans are going to pay into your ground just to have a go at Green? We really don't care how bad your keeper is but it will be blatantly obvious when we put four by him tomorrow. All your hating has provided with us laughs! Keep up the work!''

by Harry (LFC)
10:11PM 26th Feb 2011
''Your article comes across as very, very bitter. Not sure why.''

by Steve (LFC)
06:11PM 26th Feb 2011
''Dont forget saying these things tomorrow when we beat you. Come on, you aint got any players! Upson is injured, Robbie Keane is injured, Obinna is injured!! Parker may be injured tomorrow(as he is TOO injury prone...) Liverpool to win 2-0 with Suarez and Meireles the goalscorers.''

by Anuj (LFC)
06:10PM 26th Feb 2011
''So bitter... most of the article is anti-Liverpool rather than pro-West Ham.

comments powered by Disqus