Read a full match report of the Premier League game between Liverpool and West Ham United at Upton Park on Saturday Dec 7, 2013.
Roy Hodgson would be well advised to keep away from Anfield for the next six months.
For the sake of his mental health when assessing England’s World Cup rivals, he should also ignore any scout reports from his ex-club, and master the art of the quick channel hop whenever Liverpool are playing on TV at home.
Luis Suárez was at it again, not quite reaching the heights of his midweek quadruple as he helped his side to a 4-1 victory over West Ham, but nevertheless as enterprising and dynamic as ever. He scored two – although one may have been an own goal – and can claim an assist for another.
There must be a temptation for Liverpool to start printing 'starring Luis Suárez’ on the match ticket, such is the guarantee of entertainment from Anfield’s headline act. In an age when footballers are often begrudged their wealth, few will argue if Liverpool’s owners offer silly money to ensure Suárez stays top of the bill on Merseyside for the foreseeable future.
Brendan Rodgers’ Anfield press conferences now tend to be 10 minutes of purring about the striker. How much is he worth? How good is he? How can Liverpool keep him? “I don’t think you can put a price on him and I would not want to,” said Rodgers. “I would not swap him for any player in the world. I get the chance to work with him every day and when you have that in a player you never want to let it go. It’s a privilege to work with him.”
The dubious goals panel may yet decide that Suárez scored only once in a game which ended more comfortably than it had been for a long period, as his second on 84 minutes was heavily deflected off Joey O’Brien.
Indeed, it needed Suárez’s header four minutes earlier to ease the nerves after a trio of own goals, two for the visitors, gave the scoreline more balance than the attacking statistics. Liverpool had 29 shots on goal and as an offensive power they are mesmerising on their own soil, Suárez and the dancing feet of Philippe Coutinho able to conjure passes, shots and goals from the most improbable of angles.
Sam Allardyce could bemoan a degree of bad luck as Guy Demel struck past his own keeper and James Collins was unable to keep out Mamadou Sakho’s shot either side of half-time. When Martin Skrtel directed Matt Jarvis’s header past his own keeper, Simon Mignolet, there was a temporary momentum shift.
Modiga Maiba, the definition of an emergency striker, could have had a hat-trick, but he miscued two close range chances and was unlucky when Mignolet made an acrobatic early save.
Allardyce attributed the scoreline to the gulf in class in opposing areas. “Liverpool are where they are and we’re where we are because they take their chances and we don’t,” said the West Ham manager. “What was sickening for us was how they got the first goal, Jussi made a good save but it hits Demel and goes in. We should have been coming in at 0-0.”
Allardyce did not contest an 'irresponsible’ red card for Kevin Nolan on 83 minutes, his captain disciplined for an ugly challenge on Jordan Henderson. By then, the game was over.
The home team’s afternoon was soured only by an injury to Steven Gerrard, who pulled up on 55 minutes with a hamstring strain.
Liverpool (4-1-4-1): Mignolet 7; Johnson 6, Skrtel 6, Sakho 7, Flanagan 6 (Kelly 79); Allen 8; Coutinho 8, Gerrard 7 (Lucas 54), Henderson 6, Sterling 6 (Moses); Suárez 9.
Subs: Jones, Alberto, Aspas, Cissokho.
West Ham United (4-4-1-1): Jaaskelainen 6, McCartney 6, Tomkins 5 (O’Brien 56), Collins 5, Demel 5; Jarvis 6 (Taylor 84), Noble 6, Diame 6, Downing 6 (J Cole 45); Nolan 5; Maiga 5.
Subs: Collison, Adrian, Diarra, C Cole.
Booked: J Cole
Referee: M Oliver (Northumberland).