Big Sam on Reds reverse

Injury added to the insult of two own-goals as West Ham United crashed to a 4-1 Barclays Premier League defeat at Liverpool.

The Hammers defended resolutely for 40 minutes before falling behind in unfortunate circumstances - Guy Demel putting the ball into his own net after Jussi Jaaskelainen had parried Luis Suarez's shot.

Liverpool went 2-0 ahead just after half-time when Mamadou Sakho's mis-hit shot bounced high into the net via James Collins' boot.

West Ham rallied and halved their deficit when Martin Skrtel put Matt Jarvis' header past Simon Mignolet, but a Suarez header made it 3-1 before the Uruguayan's late shot flew in off the unlucky Joey O'Brien.

In between Liverpool's third and fourth goals, Kevin Nolan's frustration boiled over as he was sent-off for a challenge from behind on Jordan Henderson.

Speaking to West Ham TV, manager Sam Allardyce gave a typically honest assessment of proceedings.

"There was an element of luck that got Liverpool on their way," he said. "They weren't looking like they were going to score before half-time and, if anybody had the better chances before they scored, it was probably us.

"Unfortunately their keeper has made a couple of good saves and there were a couple of good blocks, then there was a ball through from Mo Diame to Modibo Maiga which just the slightest touch [may have put it in the net] - he just cannot seem to pull it off at the moment, the lad.

"Then he had a chance off this head which was a great header across the defender and their keeper has pulled off a wonderful save. To top it off, they took the lead from an own-goal after Jussi had saved it when there was no Liverpool player there to tap it in.

"That was unlucky, but what was really disappointing for me was conceding the second goal so soon after half-time like we did. The lads came back with a goal when Liverpool were dominant and we didn't look like we'd get it, and had we had a little more composure with our final pass, we might have made it 2-2.

"Then, the ball flashed across their goal and Modibo needed to tap it in, but he didn't. We needed to score at that time because, going into the last ten minutes, we threw more men forward and then fell asleep in the box when it could have been dealt with. Suarez put it in the back of the net and that's us dealt with.

"The fourth goal took a massive deflection off Joey O'Brien, so that was unfortunate and it makes the scoreline a bit hard to take. The fact is, though, that we're losing football matches and we've got to stop doing that. That's the key element that the players have to focus on."

When asked about Nolan's red card, the manager did not dispute referee Michael Oliver's decision, but claimed Liverpool full-back Jon Flanagan should also have been sent-off for an early foul on Stewart Downing.

Flanagan's challenge caused a nasty cut to Downing's lower leg which required the England winger to be treated in hospital.

"I wouldn't disagree with it, but I would say that there was a very similar if not worse challenge from Flanagan in the first half on Stewart Downing.

"Henderson has not ended up in hospital but Stewart has and he needs 16 or 20 stitches in a massive gash across his calf and Achilles tendon.

"There is more danger in Flanagan's challenge than there was in Kevin's but you couldn't argue that he sent him off. What you do argue is that Kevin has been sent-off and he hasn't."

Nolan's suspension and Downing's injury added to an already extensive list of absentees that also includes Andy Carroll, Winston Reid, Ricardo Vaz Te, Razvan Rat and James Tomkins, who was forced off with a hamstring injury late on.

"We had to take James off because he felt his groin. It's getting massively concerning with the players losing their fitness.

"There is nothing we could do about Stewart's injury, but Kevin certainly could have done something about keeping himself on the field.

"It was a very irresponsible action. No matter how frustrated you get, you shouldn't be doing that sort of thing, especially when you're a man of his experience.

"We're all struggling at the minute, but what we can't afford to is lose our confidence and our determination to do the right things.

"It's not so long ago - a week - that we a magnificent performance together to beat Fulham. This time of year, the chances to put things right and win come thick and fast because the games come around and points are won and lost very quickly.

"My problem now lies with the limited amount of players I have available to me next weekend."