Liverpool v West Ham United
Barclays Premier League
Monday 19 April 2010
Referee: Peter Walton
Full-time score - Liverpool 3-0 West Ham United
93 mins - Kovac is caught in possession by Mascherano, who finds Babel. The winger runs at Upson before cutting inside and shooting, only for Daprela to deflect it behind for a corner. It is taken short and referee Walton blows for full-time.
92 mins - Mascherano fouls Ilan, Noble crosses and the ball appears to hit Da Costa in the face. Liverpool clear with ease. That just about sums up West Ham's night.
91 mins - We go into the first of three added minutes and McCarthy is crowded out inside the area. The ball is cleared to Kovac, who shoots low from about 30 yards, but it flies wide.
90 mins - Bad news for 'Gala and the Pilgrims. Plymouth are now all but relegated following their 2-0 home loss to Newcastle. They now need to win both of their remaining matches about 10-0 and also hope for Crystal Palace to lose twice. Unlikely, I reckon. Liverpool have a corner, but it is cleared following a short scramble.
88 mins - The child with the rattle is still rattling away down the front. The long-suffering steward does not look impressed.
87 mins - Roberto Martinez is here, or at least he was as he has just nipped off home, ahead of Wigan's trip to London on Saturday. Not sure what he will have made of the Hammers' performance this evening, to be honest.
85 mins - OK, so the good news tonight is that West Ham's fate is still in their own hands, so long as they win their final three matches. You have to be optimistic.
83 mins - Upson and Kuyt go up for a header. The ball flies high into the air and the forward tries a spectacular overhead kick that flies into the stand.
81 mins - Faubert is booked for a lunge on Maxi. A third change for Liverpool, as Babel is on for Ngog. Maxi smashes the free-kick miles over the top.
80 mins - Fabio Daprela becomes the second Swiss substitute in the space of three minutes, replacing Spector. Three Swiss players on the pitch at the same time in a Premier League game isn't something you see every day.
79 mins - I think it's safe to say that the winless run at Anfield is going to be stretched to 48 years. Green keeps the score at 3-0 by grabbing Maxi's low drive at the base of his near post.
77 mins - Benayoun is replaced by Switzerland international Philipp Degen. He doesn't play very often, does Degen. This is only his seventh Premier League appearance of the season.
76 mins - I really, really hope the M6 is not snarled up tonight, both for my sake and those of the fans who have travelled all the way up here and sung their hearts out all night long. A credit to the club, they are.
75 mins - Faubert gets forward down the right and wins a corner. Noble will take it... Kovac heads it away from goal and it goes out for a goal kick.
73 mins - Upson slices the ball behind and Maxi takes the corner. The Argentinean receives the ball and crosses with the outside of his right foot. The ball drops to Agger, but he can only volley into the Kop with his weaker right foot.
72 mins - Mascherano replaces local hero Gerrard to a standing ovation, while Benni McCarthy is on for Cole.
70 mins - A bit of quick one-touch stuff from Liverpool sees Gerrard released down the right. He crosses and Da Costa cranes his neck to head clear. The ball lands at Kuyt's feet. He crosses from the left and Da Costa heads clear again. Changes for both teams coming up...
69 mins - Well, you've got to admire their optimism - the visiting fans are singing 'We're going to win 4-3'.
67 mins - That was actually a decent attack from West Ham. Da Costa's header finds Kovac, who feeds Ilan. The South American makes 30 yards before passing to Franco, whose neat pass eludes the Liverpool defence and finds Cole, but his finish is blocked by the advancing Reina, who then collects the loose ball.
65 mins - Kovac talks himself into a booking. That can only be the result of immense frustration. I know how you feel, Radoslav...
64 mins - Benayoun nearly nets his second, but Green is out quickly to collect as the former Hammer runs on to Gerrard's pass. West Ham go up the other end, but Cole's lofted through ball to Franco is too strong for the Mexican and Reina is there.
63 mins - With all the empty seats, we are some way below capacity here. The crowd has just been announced as 37,697.
62 mins - The home fans are baying for a few more goals here. Benayoun teases Faubert before sliding the ball across the face of goal, but there is nobody there to knock it home. A few moments later, Liverpool threaten again down the right, Kuyt knocks it back to Gerrard, and the captain is only denied by the sliding Da Costa.
60 mins - GOAL! Another goal of West Ham's own making, this time literally. Gerrard curls the ball in and Kyrgiakos pokes it against the base of the post. It hits Green and rolls over the line. Goodnight, or not, as the case may be.
59 mins - Possession is gifted to Liverpool twice in the space of a few seconds, allowing the Reds to attack once more. Noble concedes a free-kick.
57 mins - Diamanti is still jogging up and down the touchline. The Italian has that little bit of magic in his boots that could change this game. Meanwhile, Upson's loose clearance falls to Benayoun, who cuts inside and lays it off to Lucas, but the Brazilian's thunderous drive thunders over the top.
56 mins - On-loan Bondz 'Gala isn't having much of a Monday night either. His Plymouth Argyle side are 2-0 down at home to champions-elect Newcastle United and will be relegated if they don't get at least a draw.
54 mins - Behrami is fouled. Noble lofts the free-kick in and Da Costa wins the header, but there are no Hammers there to latch on to it and Reina collects.
53 mins - Comedy of errors there as both Behrami and Spector tumble to the turf, allowing Kuyt to race on to Maxi's pass and get to the by-line. He cuts the ball back towards Ngog, but Green is there to fall on the ball at his near post.
52 mins - Franco's pass is blocked and spins up in the air. Behrami heads it on for Spector, but his left-footed pass towards Cole is sliced and through to Reina.
50 mins - Franco is playing up front with Cole, with Ilan behind them. Gerrard's corner is headed back to him by Kovac, before his follow-up cross is blocked by Faubert.
49 mins - Behrami wins the ball and then gives it away, allowing Liverpool to keep the pressure on. Lucas plays a neat reverse pass for Johnson, who is initially tackled by Noble, who then fouls the right-back. Gerrard's free-kick hits Ilan and goes behind for a corner at the Kop end.
48 mins - Cole holds the ball up for Kovac, who stabs it over the top. Franco races forward, but Reina is there first to punch the ball to safety.
47 mins - Kuyt skips around two challenges before appearing to be fouled by Da Costa just outside the West Ham box. The referee gives nothing, much to the Dutchman's surprise. West Ham clear.
46 mins - Cole and Franco get the second 45 minutes underway...
A half-time change for West Ham. Guille Franco is the man coming on, with Stanislas the man to make way. I'm not sure what that will mean for the Hammers' formation just yet, but I'll let you know.
Half-time score - Liverpool 2-0 West Ham United
47 mins - After 70 seconds of added-time, the whistle is blown. Uphill task for the Hammers after the break, to say the least...
46 mins - We're going to have at least one more minute...
44 mins - Diamanti, Mido and Franco have been for a warm-up on the touchline. I wonder if the manger will be tempted to make a half-time change? Ilan has a chance to slip Cole through, but he delays and the England man is caught offside.
43 mins - Gerrard's corner is headed clear by Da Costa.
42 mins - You have to give Cole credit, he is a real trier. He chases Stanislas's long punt forward for about 50 yards before forcing Reina to hoof it clear. Liverpool break and Ngog knocks the ball down for Kuyt, who hits it first-time from about 35 yards, forcing Green into a low save.
40 mins - Another chance for Liverpool. Johnson crosses left-footed and Kuyt loses Faubert at the back post. He heads it back into the mixer, but Ngog cannot direct it goalwards and Green catches.
39 mins - Cole does well twice, first to win a header and then to hold the ball up. He plays it back to Kovac, but the Czech's cross is too high and an easy catch for Reina.
38 mins - Penalty shout against Stanislas for a foul on Benayoun, but the referee gives nothing. Seconds later, Gerrard turns on the edge of the box and is tripped by Da Costa. Danger. Thankfully, the England midfielder curls his effort over the top.
35 mins - Things could be worse. A steward is sitting down the front of the stand, watching the crowd instead of the game. The lucky man has a child with an old-fashioned rattle sat right in front of him.
33 mins - Cole picks up the ball about 45 yards out before turning and running at the Liverpool defence. He has Stanislas to his right and Ilan to his left, but he instead chooses to shoot left-footed, but drags his effort low and wide of the post.
32 mins - Hmmm... Liverpool are controlling this game now, as you'd expect. I'm not sure where they get their energy from, but the away fans are still making plenty of racket.
29 mins - GOAL! Stanislas picks up the ball just inside his own half and makes 30 yards before curling in a cross that is easily cut out. Liverpool go straight up the other end and work the ball out to Maxi on the right corner of the penalty area. He takes a touch and finds Ngog, who tucks the ball past Green.
26 mins - He's good going forward is Glen Johnson. Must have been his upbringing... The right-back forces Behrami into conceding a corner. Gerrard crosses and Kyrgiakos somehow heads the ball down and it bounces over the crossbar. Again, there was no West Ham defender near him. Worrying.
24 mins - Stanislas curls a decent ball into the box from a free-kick. It is headed clear to Noble, who finds Behrami, who is also fouled about 25 yards out. Stanislas tries again, but his effort flies way over the top.
23 mins - To be fair to West Ham, they have had the better of it since they went behind, but that goal was a bit of a nightmare. I'm not sure who was meant to be marking Benayoun.
21 mins - Cole controls well on his chest before trying to turn Carragher. The ball gets caught under the Liverpool player's legs and falls back to Cole, whose left-foot shot is grabbed by Reina diving to his left.
20 mins - Stanislas wins a corner straight away. The same player takes the set piece but it is easily cleared at the near post.
19 mins - GOAL! Another chance for Gerrard to deliver from wide on the right as Spector slides through Ngog. A needless foul, that. Gerrard curls the ball in and Benayoun directs it past Green with his chest.
17 mins - Half-chance there. Stanislas is found by Ilan and he has a couple of players in blue shirts running through the middle, only to side-foot his cross behind all of them and Liverpool clear.
16 mins - It is the West Ham fans who I can hear to my left as the home supporters seem a bit subdued by the low-profile nature of the opening quarter-of-an-hour.
14 mins - The home crowd are already showing a few signs of frustration as the ball goes out courtesy of a couple of mis-placed passes. That could all change as Da Costa knocks the ball behind for a corner. Gerrard takes and Faubert flicks it on inadvertantly, but Ngog can only head behind at the back post.
11 mins - West Ham are having a decent spell here without creating a chance. Once or twice, Stanislas has threatened to get in behind Agger, but he's not managed to do so just yet. Ilan and Behrami both have a run at the back-four, but are crowded out.
8 mins - West Ham counter as Ilan gets on to Cole's flick and finds Stanislas. Both he and Faubert attempt crosses from the right, but they are blocked and Liverpool clear.
7 mins - Behrami brings down Maxi wide on the right, Gerrard curls the free-kick in and West Ham escape as it is too high for Kuyt and just in front of the sliding Kyrgiakos.
6 mins - A chance for Ngog, but his touch lets him down as he attempts to latch on to Carragher's long through ball. Green collects. West Ham retain possession from a throw and Da Costa tries to find Cole, but his pass is too long and Reina is there.
4 mins - Finally a bit of possession for the visitors and Cole wins a throw wide on the West Ham left near the halfway line. It is important that they do not allow Liverpool to dominate the game here. Faubert skips around Benayoun, but his attempted cross towards Cole is sliced and through to Reina. Faubert skips in frustration.
3 mins - Ilan and Behrami get in each other's way and the ball breaks to Benayoun. He plays it to Maxi, whose first-time shot is well held by Green diving low to his left.
2 mins - We're into the second minute and only Jonathan Spector has touched the ball in a West Ham shirt. I actually think every outfield Liverpool player had a touch before the Hammers forced a throw-in deep inside their own half.
8.01pm - We're underway through Ngog and Gerrard...
8pm - In fact, it's a bit of a colourful night in the boot department. Both Manuel da Costa and Julien Faubert are sporting footwear with nice green flashes on them, while Ilan has some white ones on. Very nice. Liverpool will kick-off...
7.58pm - Here come the two teams to loud applause from all corners of the ground. Steven Gerrard and Matthew Upson lead the two lines of players. Pepe Reina is the final player to take his place in the lineup before the Premier League music is played and the handshakes commence. Junior Stanislas has some, er, bright yellow boots on. Here comes a bit of Gerry and the Pacemakers...
7.55pm - I don't know if they like to come in late here, but there are an awful lot of empty red seats to my left. Strange. Maybe some groups of foreign-based fans have been grounded by the infamous Icelandic volcano?
7.53pm - The atmosphere is really warming up here as the PA man runs through the West Ham team. The travelling fans stationed to my left respond with a chorus of 'Bubbles'. To my right, a huge flag is being unfurled over the Kop.
7.50pm - The pitch is now empty aside from the groundstaff using their forks to fill in the divots. The sprinkler is turned on at the mouth of the tunnel, nearly drenching the photographers gathered there. Over the PA system, the anthem 'The fields of Anfield Road' is blaring out as the precursor to 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. No matter how many times you hear that tune, or who you support, the atmosphere and sense of history at Anfield is hard to beat.
7.45pm - It really is a beautiful evening here in Liverpool. It is always such a special place to watch football, as the city literally lives and breathes the two Premier League clubs it is home to. An illustration of just how much Liverpool FC means to its supporters is the poignant sight of the Hillsborough Memorial outside. which is literally covered in scarves and flowers to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the disaster that left 96 fans dead. I have been to Anfield a fair few times, but the sight of the memorial never fails to move me.
7.40pm - There are a couple of familiar faces sitting near me. John Aldridge is a regular visitor to the Anfield Press Box, as he works for local station Radio City. Former Reds goalkeeper and England coach Ray Clemence is also here, no doubt checking up on Robert Green. I'm reliably informed that Steven Gerrard will be operating in a more withdrawn role than normal this evening, with Dirk Kuyt supporting main striker David Ngog in the absence of Torres.
7.35pm - Hello and welcome to a sunny April evening on Merseyside. It is 15 days since we were last in Liverpool for the 2-2 draw with Everton at nearby Goodison Park. An identical result tonight would be just what the doctor ordered. Both sets of players are out warming up on the immaculate-looking Anfield pitch.
Good evening and welcome to Anfield for tonight's Barclays Premier League clash between Liverpool and West Ham United.
The Hammers go into tonight's match in 17th place, three points above the relegation zone but with a vastly superior goal-difference to 18th-placed Hull City, who entertain Aston Villa on Wednesday evening.
West Ham can leapfrog Wolverhampton Wanderers on goal-difference with a win this evening, but will have to score their first victory at Anfield since 14 September 1963 to do so. On that date, Liverpool's own The Beatles were top of the charts with 'She Loves You'.
Liverpool themselves are desperate for a win to keep alive their slim hopes of finishing in the fourth UEFA Champions League spot. The Reds are eight points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with four games to play.
Rafa Benitez's cause has not been assisted by news that Spain striker Fernando Torres will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing knee surgery. Argentinean left-back Emiliano Insua is also sidelined.
Gianfranco Zola, meanwhile, has named an unchanged starting XI from the 1-0 home win over Sunderland nine days ago. Mido replaces Jordan Spence among the substitutes.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Agger, Lucas, Gerrard (Mascherano 72), Maxi, Benayoun (Degen 77), Kuyt, Ngog (Babel 81)
Subs: Cavalieri, Ayala, Aquilani, El Zhar
West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Da Costa, Upson, Spector (Daprela 77), Stanislas (Franco 46), Kovac, Noble, Behrami, Ilan, Cole (McCarthy 72)
Subs: Kurucz, Gabbidon, Diamanti, Mido