Liverpool slumped to their first defeat of the 2015/16 Premier League season as West Ham bounced back from last weekend’s home loss to Bournemouth by securing their first win at Anfield since 1963.
The Reds were awful from start to finish, their attacking bluntness exposed and compounded by the Hammers taking an early lead, and the early second half red card for star man Philippe Coutinho didn’t help either.
Here is a look at the winners and losers from both sides in yesterday’s shocker of a result.
The stand-in Reds captain was one of the very few Liverpool players to come out of the game with any credit. Milner couldn’t inspire his side to a win, but was all-action in the midfield where he was poorly supported by Emre Can and a sluggish Lucas Leiva.
The England international attempted the most attacking third passes, and created the most chances for his side although they did not translate into goals. He was all action too; he committed the highest number of fouls, although majority of them came in the attacking half as Liverpool searched for routes to goal after falling behind early doors.
Liverpool were blunt in the attacking third owing to West Ham’s blanket defence. The Reds lacked attacking verve throughout, but one man who did not let shoulders drop and ran tirelessly the wide channels was Clyne. Although he lacked the end product to match his work rate, it was a performance to endear him even more to the Anfield faithful.
Clyne was always available on the wide right, and offered a passing avenue from the right half space for Roberto Firmino and although his crossing into the box left a lot to be desired. His attacking influence waned after he was shifted into a wing-back position after the break, and was confounded by his mixed responsibilities of attacking and defending.
West Ham Winners
The 22-year-old Argentine was a live wire on the pitch and scored his first Premier League goal within three minutes of kick-off. He also assisted the Hammers’ second goal for Mark Noble, and was a constant thorn for the Reds throughout. His 100 percent tackle success points to his largely impressive outing in a defensive shift.
Lanzini also carried out his defensive responsibilities well, helping his team keep their shape to thwart the Reds attacking momentum. He tucked in the right side of a five-man Hammers midfield after his early goal, and ensured makeshift right-back cum right-sided centre-back James Tomkins did not have a tough time. He attempted the highest tackles in the game, impressive for an attacking midfielder.
The Italian was taken off after just 30 minutes last weekend against Bournemouth, but bounced back in fine fashion and was instrumental in keeping Liverpool from creating clear-cut goalscoring chances. The 27-year-old along with centre-back partner Winston Reid kept out Liverpool’s main attacking threat Christian Benteke througout the 90 minutes.
Ogbonna made three interceptions and effected two blocks around West Ham’s 18-yard box and his two successful tackles inside the box helped the Hammer’s keep their second successive clean sheet on the road. He also recovered the ball well, latching on to loose balls inside his defensive third and helping West Ham clear immediate dangers.
The German was so awful he was taken off at half-time forcing the Reds to change their shape. The 21-year-old, who was called up by his national team earlier this week, did little to show he is ready to stake a claim in the first team for the world champions. Can’s propensity to be more immediate in possession led him to misplace his attacking passes more often at a time when Liverpool needed to be more penetrative.
Can completed only 73 percent of his passes, a disastrous statistic for a central midfielder, and misplaced more than half his forward passes. He was ordinary, and failed to impose himself against West Ham’s block midfield, and was a waste of a man for Brendan Rodgers’ side in the first half which led to his early substitution.
The Brazilian got himself red-carded at a time when his team needed him the most, which is why Coutinho could be deemed as one of the biggest disappointments for the Reds. Although he was one of the better Liverpool players, his frustration boiled over and his sending off means he will now miss the all important trip to Old Trafford after the international break.
Coutinho has been talked up as one of the key players for Liverpool this season, but did little to justify his tag of responsibility as he let his team down at the most important of times. It seemed as if the playmaker was trying too hard to bring the Reds back into the game, and saw him lose his cool which further hindered his team’s push to get back at West Ham.
West Ham Losers
Noble had an exceptional game at the heart of midfield for the Hammers and completely bossed the likes of Lucas and Can when West Ham went forward. He was tenacious all afternoon, while suffering a match-highest five fouls. However, his rashness led him to a red card, which now sees him being suspended for the next game against Newcastle United.
Noble even scored a goal, and the only reason he features in this section is his unnecessary sending off. In the lead-up to his red card, the Hammers captain was fouled by Milner but he followed it up with a two-footed lunge on Danny Ings. A decision too naive from the captain, at a time when his team were cruising.
Randolph started for the second successive game owing to first-choice goalkeeper Adrian’s suspension, and had a fairly quiet game. While last week’s concession of four goals against Bournemouth wasn’t ideal for the 28-year-old, his inactivity at Anfield didn’t help him either. Not much of his fault though, but a commanding Anfiled performance could have increased his first team chances manifold.
As a back-up in a position which has little room for constant chop and change, Randolph had a big chance to stake a claim for a regular spot between the sticks for the Hammers. But his two indifferent outings mean Adrian will definitely get back into the side after serving his three-game suspension. Randolph will rue his missed opportunity, but it came down to Liverpool’s inability rather than his own shortcomings.