- West Ham vs Liverpool

Sunday 9 December 2012 | Boleyn Ground | Referee: Lee Probert | Attendance 35,005

West Ham
  • Mark Noble (36 Pen)
  • Steven Gerrard (43 OG)
West Ham
2 - 3
Liverpool
  • Glen Johnson (11)
  • Joe Cole (76)
  • Jonjo Shelvey (79)
Liverpool

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Match report

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Liverpool proved they could win without talismanic striker Luis Suarez as they fought from behind to take three points from Upton Park with goalscoring contributions from three former West Ham players.

Uruguay international Suarez was serving a one-match ban but the Reds struck twice late in the game to seal a win that sees them leapfrog West Ham in the table.

Former Hammers' defender Glen Johnson opened the scoring for the visitors with a tremendous effort before a Mark Noble penalty and Steven Gerrard own goal turned the game in West Ham's favour before the break.

It was another ex-West Ham midfielder in substitute Joe Cole who pulled the visitors level in the second half while James Collins diverted an effort by Jonjo Shelvey – yet another Hammers’ graduate – to complete the comeback for Liverpool.

Gerrard, returning to captain the visitors after recovering from illness, saw an early effort deflected behind for a corner following some good work by Shelvey.

West Ham then had a few minutes of dominance and Mohamed Diame, a one-time Liverpool target, saw his shot deflect off the back of team-mate Carlton Cole and drift just wide of Jose Reina's goal.

West Ham's Matt Jarvis was getting a lot of the ball down the left flank but was soon found wanting when he was tested defensively. Gerrard played the ball out to Johnson on the touchline and the England full-back cut inside Jarvis with ease before arrowing a strike past the out-stretched hand of Jussi Jaaskelainen. Johnson did not celebrate out of respect for his former club but the Liverpool bench was up in unison as the visitors grabbed an early lead.

Raheem Sterling had two chances to double Liverpool's advantage, firstly firing wide of Jaaskelainen's near post as Gerrard's shot was cleared straight to his feet.

Moments later Johnson again got the beating of former Wolves winger Jarvis and rolled the ball into Sterling's path, but the 18-year-old's low drive was just off target.

West Ham started to get more into the game after 25 minutes and again began testing the Liverpool defence with a number of high balls into the area, with their equaliser duly coming nine minutes before the interval.

A West Ham set-piece was cleared as far as Guy Demel whose shot hit the arm of Joe Allen as the former Swansea man closed him down. Noble stepped up to coolly convert the resultant penalty.

Matthew Taylor, recalled to the starting lineup by Sam Allardyce after making an impact as a substitute against Chelsea last weekend, then headed high and wide from close range as West Ham started to take control.

The spell of pressure yielded a second goal for Allardyce's side, albeit it in fortunate circumstances. Liverpool switched off after conceding a free-kick which Noble took quickly and found Jarvis in space on the left. The 26-year-old produced yet another fantastic delivery into the area and the ball was sent flying past Reina off the head of Gerrard.

Shelvey then had a good opportunity to level on the stroke of half-time when he was picked out by Stewart Downing but his shot was well wide.

The second half started with both sides looking to be more creative in possession although neither Reina nor Jaaskelainen was tested before the hour-mark.

Sterling came close to levelling as his left-foot effort from the edge of the penalty area forced Jaaskelainen to flick the ball over his bar for a corner.

Shelvey had worked hard in an unfamiliar attacking role all afternoon and flashed a header wide with 20 minutes remaining before Rodgers introduced Jordan Henderson in place of Lucas.

A serious-looking leg injury suffered by Diame made Allardyce's afternoon even worse, with the in-form midfielder replaced by James Tomkins after pulling up hurt.

Joe Cole had been introduced by Liverpool before the game was 30 minutes old and was warmly received by the home fans.

The former Chelsea playmaker had little impact on the game until he struck a venomous equaliser after being played in by Sterling and, like Johnson, refused to celebrate the goal.

The turnaround was completed 12 minutes from time as Henderson swung in a low cross that Shelvey and Collins competed for with the balling looping up off the boot of the West Ham defender and over a helpless Jaaskelainen.

Sterling almost burst through to wrap up the game for the visitors, who saw out the five minutes of stoppage time to creep above the hosts and into the top half of the table.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce: "We were never in control of the game completely especially against a side like Liverpool, we were not going to dominate for the whole game.

"We gave everything we could. We can't continue to play and dominate teams we play, when we did today we got ourselves in the lead. We just got promoted, we are in a good run of form and there are expectations from fans

"The loss of [Mohamed] Diame didn't help. We lost forward momentum but we defended well and overall the goals conceded were a bit unfortunate. There was a wonder goal from [Glenn] Johnson and [Joe] Cole took his well. Unfortunately for us 'Ginger' [James Collins] scored an own goal.

"It does not take a medical expert to know it is a serious hamstring tear when [Diame] falls and stopped the way he did. I would expect, in medical terms, for it to be a grade 3 [injury] and that could be anything up to eight, 10 or 12 weeks."

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers: "You see young Jonjo Shelvey at 20 years of age playing the number nine role in a different way - dropping into midfield and combining with the midfield players to make the fourth man, being a threat when he is in around the box, showing great feet and I thought he was outstanding, the kid.

"It was great credit to him because there was a lot of pressure on him because people have been trying to compare him to Luis Suarez but he has been terrific in my time here, he is only 20 and has a big future ahead of him.

"We are just trying to build our momentum. We had a difficult opening fixture list and coupling that with trying to play a certain way of football was always going to be difficult. "Certainly over the past couple of months we have been progressing and just let's see where we finish.

"This is one of the biggest clubs in world football and everybody knows where it should be but we are making steady progress and climbing the league and it is important for us to do that."

Fan Rating

- rate the player performances for this match

Line-up All Fans BFR
22. Jussi Jääskeläinen - -
20. Guy Demel - -
19. James Collins - -
17. Joey O'Brien - -
2. Winston Reid - -
4. Kevin Nolan - -
14. Matthew Taylor - -
21. Mohamed Diamé - -
7. Matthew Jarvis - -
16. Mark Noble - -
9. Carlton Cole - -
Substitutes All Fans BFR
11. Modibo Maiga - -
42. George Moncur - -
30. Raphael Spiegel - -
27. Jordan Spence - -
32. Gary O'Neil - -
5. James Tomkins - -
3. George McCartney - -
Line-up All Fans BFR
25. José Reina - -
5. Daniel Agger - -
2. Glen Johnson - -
37. Martin Skrtel - -
3. José Enrique - -
8. Steven Gerrard - -
21. Lucas Leiva - -
24. Joe Allen - -
33. Jonjo Shelvey - -
19. Stewart Downing - -
31. Raheem Sterling - -
Substitutes All Fans BFR
10. Joe Cole - -
50. Adam Morgan - -
23. Jamie Carragher - -
1. Bradley Jones - -
30. Suso - -
16. Sebastián Coates - -
14. Jordan Henderson - -

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