Saturday, August 26, 2006

Liverpool 2 West Ham 1

West Ham started the game with Benayoun back in the side and Paintsil remaining at right back. The first half was a pretty one sided affair with Liverpool on the attack and West Ham defending deep. In the opening 10 minutes the Reds created a number of chances. Their first came on four minutes when Gerrard shot from just outside the area and missed by about two yards. On 5 minutes Crouch headed over the bar, on 8 mins Garcia shot wide left. Thirty seconds later Fabio Aurelio fired in a free kick from the edge of the penalty area which Konchesky managed to head off the line.

Against the run of play however it was West Ham who opened the scoring with an incredible goal from Zamora in the 10th minute. He had the ball on the right wing about 5 yards in from the goal line and his shot come cross beat the goalkeeper inside the right post as he, anticipating the cross, came off his line.

West Ham then defended well as Liverpool had the most of the possession and continued to push forward. After 20 minutes they again managed to create a number of chances. In the 26th minute Bellamy shot across the face of the goal from out wide on the left. Two minutes later Aurelio did the same from almost the same spot. In the 32nd and 34th minute Aurelio and then Garcia both shot from just outside the box, both straight at Carroll.

In the 40th minute Harewood won the ball from Aurelio in the Liverpool area and shot the ball past Reina only for the ref to judge he had fouled the defender. Instead of the game being 2-0 Liverpool immediately attacked and Agger scored a 30 yard shot from the centre of the pitch, with Carroll rooted to the spot. Then just before half time Garcia fed the ball through to Crouch in the box, Crouch took the ball past Carroll and shot under a diving Ferdinand to make it 2-1 to Liverpool.

West Ham had the better of the second half in terms of possession, but Liverpool continued to look good on the break. Both Bellamy and Kuyt were unlucky on a couple of occassions when close offside decisions went against them when they were clean through on goal. At the other end West Ham's best chance came in the 79th minute when Bowyer just poked the ball inches wide of the left post from 4 yards out. Before that, in the 53rd minute, Benayoun shot just wide of the post and in the 56th minute Bowyer just failed to connect with a Paintsil cross.

Overall West Ham were unlucky to lose this game. The foul that Harewood was adjudged to have committed in the first half, when his goal was disallowed, was fairly soft. However the decisions were evened out in the second half when West Ham were favoured by a couple of tight offside decisions against Kuyt and Bellamy.

Liverpool:
J Reina, S Finnan, S Hyypia, D Agger, F Aurelio, J Pennant (82 B Zenden), X Alonso,
S Gerrard, S Luis Garcia (60 M Gonzalez), C Bellamy, P Crouch (52 D Kuyt)
Substitutes
J Dudek, J Kromkamp, M Gonzalez, D Kuyt, B Zenden

West Ham:
R Carroll, J Paintsil, A Ferdinand, D Gabbidon, P Konchesky (81 T Mears), L Bowyer,
H Mullins, Reo-Coker (82 T Sheringham), Y Benayoun, B Zamora, M Harewood (73 C Cole)
Substitutes
J Walker, T Mears, T Sheringham, C Cole, J Collins

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