Sunday, January 3

Carroll's revenge as Klopp kops it at Upton Park

West Ham 2 Liverpool 0

Football really has changed. On the district line there’s a middle-aged West Ham couple in Barbours discussing buy-to-let deals, as you do. Then it’s in to Ken’s Café at the unseasonal time of 12.30pm, where Michael the Whovian is still waiting for his big breakfast before the imminent kick-off. 

DC’s been in dispensing New Year greetings with his three wee men. Nigel arrives late, mourning Lemmy and declaring that, even if he’s too late for Carol’s tea, “that’s the way I like it baby, I don’t wanna live forever!” Sadly, Nigel’s mum’s hairdresser on the south coast hasn’t come up with any tickets for the game at Bournemouth, despite Nigel offering to book us all in for a claret and blue rinse.

Inside Upton Park there’s an expectant atmosphere with Payet on the bench. Ibe shoots just past he post early on but West Ham proceed to have a dominant opening. On ten minutes Antonio makes what looks like a great tackle to deny Moreno (it’s actually a foul the replay on MOTD suggests) just outside WHU’s box. From there West Ham counter swiftly with Kouyate finding Valencia on the right. Enner plays in a sumptuous cross for Antonio, who has rushed the length of the field, to stoop and head powerfully into the net. A great goal. Mikhail’s starting to look like the finest Shakespearian character ever to play for the Hammers. And as the Bard night have pointed out, the quality of Mersey is strained…

Michael the Whovian arrives just after Antonio’s goal having finally eaten his big breakfast, but claims to have seen it on the monitor.

Lanzini then jinks inside to send a swerving shot against the post, leaving Mignolet a bemused bystander. Andy Carroll is having a great game, winning the ball in the air against Lovren and Sakho and leading the line superbly. Noble too is all over the pitch. The only downside is when Lanzini has to go off with what appears to be more ligament trouble.

Liverpool do end the half with a lot of possession though, and after a nice passing move Can leans back to ping a shot on to West Ham’s bar.

At half-time we discuss the gegenpressing issues of the day, such as Nigel’s suggestion that Matt is carrying a man-bag — Nigel prefers a more prosaic plastic bag himself. Michael points out The Lord High President of the Timelords, Donald Sumpter, in the bowels of the East Stand.

The Hammers start the second half well too as Klopp gets wetter in his black anorak. When the ball falls to Noble on the right he swings in a perfect cross. Andy Carroll rises like the Angel of North Essex to shove Clyne and Valencia out of the way and power in an unstoppable header into the corner as Mignolet tries to hail a bus home. AC runs to the East Stand and slides into the corner flag, leaving two great ruts in the pitch. Lovely moment for Big Andy. The Bobby Moore Stand enjoys a rousing chorus of “Andy Carroll — he left ‘cos you’re shit!” aimed at the Scousers.

It gets better when Payet comes on for Valencia after 64 minutes to a rousing ‘We’ve got Payet!” Purist Matt becomes rather agitated that the song speeds up at the end, in violation of the original Billy Ray Cyrus tune. I explain that rather like Elvis Costello, the West Ham fans like to constantly rework old songs and challenge themselves musically.

Dimitri’s first touch is to feint past three Liverpool players and bring gasps of delight from the crowd. It feels like a special season again now Dimitri’s back. Payet then sets up Creswell for a cross. Andy Carroll’s header is pawed away by Mignolet; Antonio shoots from the rebound but the keeper blocks it again. Close.

We cede a lot of possession to Liverpool and they improve a bit when Smith and Lallana come on. Noble has to head off the line and Allen heads a good chance wide. But at the other end Payet plays a fine through ball to the onrushing Kouyate who fires at a good height for Mignolet to save.

Sub Jenkinson fouls his man when he should hold it up in the corner prompting a brief tirade from Matt, until he remembers that he’s being positive and mutters, “unlucky Jenks!”

By added time we’re confident enough to sing,” Can we play you every week?” West Ham’s first league double over Liverpool since 1963 is accompanied by Twist and Shout on the PA.

Recovering from flu, I shun the pub as the Central’s beers might finish me off, but do drop in to the Newham Bookshop to pick up a copy of the excellent book Upton Park Memories. And we’ve just seen another of those memories today. Not sure what there is to moan about now. We go sixth. And it’s after Christmas…

PLAYER RATINGS: Adrian 6; Tomkins 7, Ogbonna 7, Collins 8, Cresswell 7; Antonio 8 (Jenkinson 5), Noble 8, Kouyate 7, Lanzini 7(Obiang 7); Valencia 7 (Payet 7), Carroll 9.


Arniecat57 said...

The last time Liverpool won at the Boleyn, Changes, by Sigma feat. Paloma Faith was no.1 in the charts, Nick Clegg was deputy prime minister, and a pint of beer cost around £3.75. The past is indeed, another country...

mj said...

I notice Defoe is on 8 for this season, wouldn't it be nice if we had a 20 a season striker? Seems a long time ago since er...Morley? Quinn? Maybe AC if he stayed fit, Sakho if he stayed fit? This isn't a moan by the way!

Pete May said...

And David Gold was in short trousers too! Yes MJ, Defoe still knocking 'em in. if we could just get maybe Sakho and Carroll fit and firing together. Notice Slaven says AC has to keep working hard in his post-match comments and not slacken off. If he plays like he did on Saturday then he could finally be that elusive 10 to 15 goals a season strike.