Hammers must wait to end Anfield Hoodoo
By Tom Dowsett
Tuesday 20 Apr 2010 15:04:00
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After four points from the last two games, West Ham United must have thought their recent unbeaten run could continue on Monday night. However, they were unable to prevent Liverpool from securing a vital three points in their race for fourth position and end their own 47 year hoodoo at Anfield.

Gianfranco Zola named an unchanged side after last Saturday's home win against Sunderland, which meant that Mark Noble, again deputising for the suspended Scott Parker, earned his 100th appearance for the club while ex-Hammers Yossi Benayoun, Glen Johnson and Javier Mascherano were all named in the Liverpool 16.

Liverpool got off to the better start as it took West Ham at least two minutes to even touch the ball, eventually when they did, Jonathan Spector forced a throw-in deep inside their own half.

Confusion between Ilan and Valon Behrami allowed Benayoun to link up with Maxi Rodriguez, whose first-time shot was held by Robert Green diving low to his left.

Two minutes later David Ngog attempts to latch on to Jamie Carragher's through ball but his first touch was a poor one and Green gathered the ball comfortably.

The first goal arrived on 19 minutes when a free kick was needlessly given away by Spector. Steven Gerrard whipped the ball in to the box and Benayoun was there to guide the ball past Green with his chest.

Minutes later, Sotirios Kyrgiakos goes close from a Gerrard corner but could only head the ball over the bar. Worryingly, he was left unmarked.The goal briefly sparked the Hammers into action as Carlton Cole slipped past Carragher with ease and forced goalkeeper Jose Reina's first save of the night.

Liverpool domination for the rest of the first Half resulted in a second goal, this time for David Ngog whose finish put the game seemingly beyond The London side. There were more Liverpool chances before the end of the half, but thankfully for the Hammers, none were to end up in the back of Green's net.

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Hoping to get something out of the game, Zola introduced Guillermo Franco for the innefectual Stanislas at half time, but this did not represent a change in the Hammers' fortunes although it took Liverpool some time to come out of the blocks in the second half.

Although having not much to shout about from their teams performance, the Hammers' fans never wavered in their support and were relentless in their singing, in an effort to spur their team on. However, even this did not work. As the hour mark approached Gerrard was given another free-kick opportunity. This was to set up the third goal, as he swung the ball in and Kyrgiakos crashed a shot against the post and then in off the Unlucky Green's heel.

With the Reds hungry for more goals, only a last ditch block from Manuel Da Costa denied Gerrard from inside the area. Franco and Ilan then combined to give Cole the opportunity for a consolation, but it was to no avail as Reina was alert to the danger.

On 72 minutes, Zola made his second change, taking off Cole to rest him, with Saturday's huge game with wigan in mind and Benni McCarthy came on to replace him. At the same time Reds' boss Rafael Benitez replaced Gerrard with Mascherano, before Rodriguez was denied a fourth by Green who did well to save.

The final Hammers' change saw Fabio Daprela introduced for Spector. Fortunately there were no more goals conceded and a 3-0 defeat saw the Hammers looking towards Saturday's game with Wigan for a better result.

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