Oh yes! This was more like it; almost certainly our best display and result this season against a team that we normally barely compete with. Not only did West Ham deserve all three points, it was also a comprehensive display with Liverpool amazingly being outplayed in areas of the pitch. Major praise must go to the astonishing Scott Parker - can this man get any better? If I came home and found him in bed with my Mrs I'd make them both a cup of tea (Be aware though Scott, she's still holds a torch for Les Fedinand).
The Hammers' midfield was complemented by the excellent Thomas Hitzlsperger - how many points would we have if he'd been fit all season? - and the ever energetic Mark Noble. Frankly, on paper that must be one of the best looking midfield three's outside of the top five. Up front, Demba Ba continued his excellent form and when you can bring Carlton Cole on from the bench to kill a game then you must surely have a chance. And whisper this but, even at the back where the return of Matt Upson came not a monent too soon, the defence seemed more resilient and confident with Tomkins looking to be the player he undoubtably can be. It's amazing what two proper full-backs can do for a side. If I sound a trifle cock-a-hoop then it's because, for the first time this season, I believe West Ham may have an opportunity to get out of this mess if they can continue this form.
The Hammers went ahead after a brisk and confident opening period when Parker delightfully floated a Hitzlsperger short pass past Reina. The build-up was good, featuring as it did a great Hitz - Parker one-two but if the shot looked impressive in the ground it looked even better on TV replays from behind. Ahead after 22 minutes we expected Liverpool to hit back but West Ham pressurised them in the middle of the park, stood firm at the back when threatened - which wasn't often - and looked superb up front with Demba Ba appearing to be a constant threat. And it was the Hammer's transfer window signing who put the home side firmly in control just before half-time, heading home an O'Neill cross when unmarked. It's been a very, very long time since West Ham have given Liverpool a chasing and Upton Park was rocking at half-time.
If the fans were worried that the Hammers would wilt in the second half - and you can't really blame them, can you? - then, for once this season, they were pleasantly surprised. The team of two halves became a team of one match, taking the game to Liverpool and looking good for their lead until the inevitable defensive wobble that allowed Suarez the opportunity to wriggle through the box and put in a cross for ex-Hammer Glen Johnson to tap home. It was 84 minutes and, as everyone geared up for the expected Merseyside onslaught, Grant switched Ba for Carlton Cole to waste a bit of time only for the England striker to superbly out-muscle Skrtel and beat Reina low on his near-post to seal the game and the points.
There were no players who couldn't hold their head high today. Rob Green wasn't tested too often - where did Soccernet get their 18 shots (6 on) stat from? - but he made two excellent saves and was alert throughout. Piquionne was a good foil for Demba Ba, O'Neill linked up the midfield with the front line and..... look it was one of those good days ok? But my memory will be Scott Parker, barely able to move ten minutes from the end because he'd run himself into the ground for the cause. Magnificent! You like Earl Grey, Scott?
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