David Moyes felt his West Ham United side did not produce their best in Sunday’s 3-1 Premier League defeat by Liverpool at London Stadium.
The Hammers went into the game on a six-match winning run and unbeaten in eight in all competitions, but did not hit the same level of performance against the champions.
After a closely contested opening 57 minutes, the Irons fell behind when Mohamed Salah scored just moments after Michail Antonio had shot wide for the hosts.
As West Ham chased a quick equaliser, Salah doubled Liverpool’s lead eleven minutes later, finishing Xherdan Shaqiri’s inch-perfect pass expertly at the end of a pitch-length counter attack, and the game was over when Georginio Wijnaldum converted substitute Roberto Firmino’s square ball with seven minutes remaining.
To the hosts’ credit, Craig Dawson pulled one back from Aaron Cresswell’s late corner, but overall Moyes admitted the better team had won.
However, with six wins in January, the manager was happy with the month as a whole and is expecting a reaction when the Irons travel to Aston Villa on Wednesday evening.
I’m disappointed with the overall result and performance because I didn’t feel we played as well as we have done but let’s not underestimate the team we were playing against and the challenge we had.
I believe we probably played better at Anfield at the start of the season than we did today. We’re growing in confidence and attack them a bit more, but the more we tried to open up the harder it became for us, so it’s a big lesson.
It’s still the start for us and we’ve got a long way to go to get to the level of Liverpool.
We have had a couple of games like this – the Chelsea game was very similar – where we played well and were right in it and had chances, then ended up conceding a couple of goals.
It was 1-0, we had a corner kick and we didn’t deliver a particularly good ball and they made it 2-0 from our corner kick when we’re trying to get back into the game at one-each.
We just didn’t play, we didn’t have good enough control, they put us under a lot of pressure and pressed us hard and we found it very difficult to get the ball down and move it around as well as we have done at Crystal Palace.
We have to move onto the next game now and there isn’t long before we go to Aston Villa on Wednesday night.
We saw this group of matches, going to Crystal Palace, Liverpool at home and Aston Villa away, as three really difficult games.
I was thrilled we took three points at Crystal Palace and tonight we wanted to try and add to that but it was just a step too far for us.
Overall, we can be very proud of our January as we’ve played well and had a really good run.
I think if anybody had offered me this before the month started I’d have said ‘great’, but you get greedy and you want more and we want more and to push on.
We’re disappointed in the dressing room because we all expected our levels to be better and we’re disappointed we didn’t manage that tonight.
Jesse Lingard has joined us and he gives us another player in what is a really busy period.
Hopefully Jesse is fine for midweek at Aston Villa and we can add him to the group because we just can’t afford to pick up any injuries.
Hopefully we’re OK at the moment but we’ll have to wait and see.