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Liverpool v West Ham as it happened

RESULT:

Liverpool 0-0 West Ham (2000 GMT)

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times GMT)

606: DEBATE
To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Chris Whyatt

2215: Been skimming over 606 and the 81111 texts. Interesting reading. Liverpool fans are in mourning after that ghostly performance, despite going top of the league. And you neutrals? Most concur that Manchester United are the big winners after another weekend of genuine surprise in the all-conquering Premier League.

Most memorable moment(s) of the night had to be Ilunga handling the ball at least nine times. Hardly saw him kick it all night. Bye folks.

2206: Fernando Torres-less Liverpool looked painfully devoid of attacking wit tonight, for me. You feel there will be a detailed inquisition into their performance, rather than a celebration of being top of the Premier League. Anfield worked hard to contain boos come the final whistle. West Ham? They did a job - and well done to them.

"We are supposed to be in the "easiest" part of the season against lesser opponents and we look tired and lost of ideas at the start of December. Not exactly title winning credentials. Frustrating." liverpoolLAD_04

"Top but toothless. Liverpool's customary poor November seems to be over long this year. We have to be worried when Hyypia is our biggest goal threat." Adam, in the Wirral, on 81111

2157: Right, get busy with on 606 and the 81111 texts for a communal summation. Two points dropped for Liverpool, or a decent bit of business? I'm guessing many of you may feel it's the former.

Here's BBC Sport's Phil McNulty to paint a picture from Anfield:

"Liverpool fail to break through and are met with jeers from the Anfield crowd at the final whistle. West Ham showed great resilience after a shaky start and it is a second successive goalless draw in the league for Rafael Benitez's side.

"They may be top, but there is a mood of disappointment around Anfield as the crowd head for the exits."

2154: FULL-TIME Liverpool 0-0 West Ham
Liverpool move to the top of the Premier League table, moving one point clear of Chelsea, while West Ham leapfrog Manchester City and Stoke into 13th place.

2153: Felled Gerrard? Penalty area? Last minute? Referee Peter Walton keeps his arms firmly by his side. And then blows his whistle...

2151: Another Hammers counter and Bellamy feeds Cole, but the tall unmarked striker is flagged offside as he tests Pepe Reina. Credit to West Ham here.

2149: Shocking waste from Boa Morte. West Ham counter and Scott Parker finds him in acres of space, but the sub dallies and shanks a lame shot well wide. A better player, or at least one in decent form, would have scored. Three minutes of added time... Babel hits the stanchion behind the goal with a right-foot hammer.

2147: Zola makes his move, bringing Luis Boa Morte on for Julien Faubert. All Liverpool, but it's desperate stuff. Green goes low to save from Dirk Kuyt from just four yards out: another top stop from the England wannabe keeper.

2144: West Ham sneak into Liverpool's penalty area like a thief in the night but Carlton Cole is rumbled. Poor decision-making. Gerrard crashes another long-range shot wide of the post - with Torres in the box he'd be looking for a defence-splitting pass. Clock's ticking now...

2140: The frustrated cries from the crowd remind me of those you hear when a boxing bout is going nowhere. But their support is still positive. Hyypia skims a whipped Gerrard corner off his eyebrows which a flailing Dirk Kuyt just fails to connect with at the far post. "Attack attack attack" sings Anfield in staccato fashion.

2138: "It's almost like Liverpool have just ran out of ideas," says an anonymous 81111 texter. Just my thoughts. Benitez hauls off Albert Riera and on trots Dutch flyer Ryan Babel. Like for like roll of the dice.

2135: You can almost hear the cogs turning in Rafa Benitez's head. He must be thinking of more changes, no? I'd guess that Gianfranco Zola does not want to upset his side's defensive rhythm. What is Italian for "we hold what we have"?

Gerrard skies another wild long-range shot into the Kop...

2130: "Just not happening for Keane. The adjustment to life at Liverpool can be tough - he only needs to look at West Ham's Craig Bellamy for proof of that.

"Growing frustration inside Anfield as time runs out. Still on course to be top of the Premier League but not impressive."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Anfield

2127: Anguish for Liverpool fans. Carlton Cole heads Craig Bellamy's corner just past Pepe Reina's post. Could have done better. Down the other end, Steven Gerrard controls the ball on his thigh and lets it drop just outside the box... Anfield holds its breath... and he executes a perfect AIR-SHOT. Ouch.

2125: David Ngog is coming on for... Robbie Keane. He applauds the Anfield crowd with a knowing look.

"No shortage of effort from Keane, but he looks like a player searching for form and good fortune."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Anfield

2122: Basketball-loving Ilunga has finally been penalised for handball. Gerrard cleverly aims the resultant free-kick to Xabi Alonso but, lurking on the edge of the penalty area, his impeccable connection fails to contain any direction. And the over-worked Kop recycle the ball once again for Rob Green.

2119: Hammers midfielder Hayden Mullins batters the ball low through a crowd of red-clad defenders but Reina stoops to collect without trouble. Riera battles down the left... Gerrard, off-balance, opens up his body and slices a left-foot shot high into the Kop.

"Wingers! When will we ever see some width. It's appalling lack of imagination. West Ham good for a point." JP in St Albans on 81111

2116: Outstanding stop from Robert Green as, after James Collins fails to deal with Gerrard's cross, he flies high to tip Benayoun's spinning volley just over the bar. Close call.

2114: Bellamy is at least trying to be creative. He floats in a challenging free-kick but Liverpool's defence clears, the midfield ships the ball up to Robbie Keane, but he can only drag a left-foot shot high and wide. Frustrating times for him.

2110: Trademark scowl from the imperious Stevie G as Dirk Kuyt fails to see his better-placed captain rampaging into the box on his left and drags a feeble low shot wide of Green's goal. Adorned in a red and yellow scarf, George Gillett looks on with a poker-face.

2107: Which continues in largely the same vein. Carlton Cole is caught offside when - with a little timing - he could have broken clear. Xabi Alonso skims an elegant daisy-cutter through for Robbie Keane, but he too is spotted offside by the linesman.

2104: Liverpool get the second half under way...

2059: Strange game this one. Really strange. Liverpool look slightly haunted by the pressure, although Wigan boss Steve Bruce spoke last week about how playing on a Monday night (i.e. waiting all weekend to play) has a bizarre effect on players. Here's the thoughts of BBC Sport's Phil McNulty, who is at Anfield:

"West Ham will go in at the interval satisfied as Liverpool became increasingly frustrated as the half went on. Matthew Upson grew in stature in central defence and Scott Parker was industrious in midfield.

"Liverpool lost impetus and matters could have been worse had Craig Bellamy's stunning effort in front of The Kop not hit the post.

"Anfield has become subdued after Liverpool's dominant start and Benitez's men need to pick up the pace in front of The Kop after the break."

2053: "Any way we can simply donate the points to Liverpool each year? Why on earth do we bother if we're not going to come up and have a go?" Frustrated Hammer on 81111

"We all know Keane is not useless, but is under pressure to justify his price tag.... but he has been given no service either ..."
Moon1971 on 606

2048: HALF-TIME Liverpool 0-0 West Ham
Possession galore for Liverpool but the Hammers have come the closest with that Bellamy snap-shot which rattled the Merseyside upright. The hosts look like they are playing with the weight of pressure on their shoulders. A point would still put them top of the league.

2045: Liverpool experiment with a host of different corner takers and Xabi Alonso finally pings a decent one over for Dirk Kuyt to test Robert Green with a six-yard header. Decent stop.

Home fans getting vaguely restless now. Hyypia, who is almost playing as an auxiliary striker, heads just wide... Robbie Keane is playing in this match, I can confirm. Very anonymous so far though.

2038: Steven Gerrard breaks the slumber with a slalom-like run into the box before crashing a left-foot shot into the side-netting.

My word... Bellamy picks up possession and crashes a superb 20-yarder past the beaten Pepe Reina which hits the inside of the post and skips across the open goal to safety as slack-jawed Koppites gasp on. So close for the former Liverpool striker.

2035: Christmas Day without an old Only Fools and Horses repeat? How else to describe Liverpool without the injured Fernando Torres. They are clearly missing his rapier-like presence. West Ham are containing, Liverpool huffing and puffing like old Uncle Albert.

2032: "West Ham are playing without a shred of ambition, Plan A appears to be hoping to ride their luck for 90 minutes.

"Liverpool are already laying siege to Hammers' keeper Robert Green and it seems only another night of carelessness in front of goal stands between Rafael Benitez's side and the Premier League summit." BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Anfield

2028: Sarcastic wolf-whistles ring out around Anfield as West Ham's Julian Faubert whimpers a meek shot from 20 yards into the insole of Pepe Reina's patiently waiting right boot. Liverpool lacking a little guile though.

2025: Carlton Cole clears another Hyypia header off the line. West Ham on the ropes...

2023: Benayoun skips clear towards the heart of West Ham's penalty area but is clipped by Hayden Mullins. Free-kick from 30 yards. Stevie G's piledriver is deflected for a corner. Quiet tension envelops Anfield. Ilunga thinks he's playing netball! Looks to have handled again, but no says the referee.

2020: "West Ham could be in for a long night if they allow Liverpool this much possession in midfield. Xabi Alonso is prominent early on and there have already been a few anxious glances from the celebrity Hammers fan Graham Gooch in the Anfield directors' box.

"Herita Ilunga also needs to keep his arms out of the way or he will concede a penalty eventually. Two loud shouts turned down already."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Anfield

2018: Robert Green fails to get the required length on a punch from a deep cross and James Collins has to cover and hack a low Liverpool shot clear with the open goal exposed. That came from nowhere.

Hyypia then heads a typicallly menacing Steven Gerrard corner just over the bar. Should have got that on target Sami boy.

2015: "What is it that Zola sees in Cole to make him play in every game? He's about as useful as a hairless cat in a wig emergency."Anonymous on 81111

Yep, Carlton Cole partners Craig Bellamy up front for the visitors. Hang on...

2011: "Hand ball" is the cry again as Illunga brings his arms together to block a Dirk Kuyt centre. The busy Dutchman is playing just off centre forward Robbie Keane, by the way, with Benayoun playing right wing. 4-4-1-1 for Liverpool. Fairly bold with Argentina captain Javier Macherano on the bench.

2008: Moderate penalty appeal from the hosts as Yossi Benayoun lifts the ball into Herita Illunga's midriff from point-blank range as he attempted to dink in a cross from the right. Nothing doing there really.

2005: Quiet opening with a confident Liverpool keeping tidy possession. Supporters are in good voice. Didn't completely sing themselves hoarse cheering on Arsenal yesterday.

2001: West Ham, kicking towards the Kop, get us under way...

1959: Not long now until kick-off. Very cold at Anfield tonight. A home win and I'm predicting an unpluggable flood of pundits talking up Liverpool's title hopes in the coming days. They've not won it since 1990, you know?

"Liverpool are twice as good as they've been at any time in the last 10 years. They had one good player, Steven Gerrard - now they have two! Champions yet again!" Kevin in Belfast on 81111

1953: "Maybe I'm totally naive but, I'm expecting to see glimpses of champions in the performance tonight." GreenTeaBags on 606

One assumes you're not talking about the Hammers, GTB?

1950: Some important stakeholders will be watching the action unfold in person tonight. At Anfield, here's the BBC Sport website's chief footballer writer Phil McNulty with more:

"Liverpool co-owner George Gillett is a surprise visitor at tonight's game. He spent several hours at the stadium this afternoon on his first visit to the city since he attended the victory against Manchester United in September.

"Gillett's presence at Anfield comes amid continuing speculation surrounding the future ownership of the club."

1945: Quick bit of housekeeping - make sure you get involved on the debate over on 606 or alternatively float me over a text on 81111.
Liverpool v West Ham - 606

Analysing those line-ups a bit deeper... Sami Hyypia, Andrea Dossena and Yossi Benayoun all start in a much changed Liverpool line-up, while Robbie Keane leads the attack alongside Dirk Kuyt.

West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola makes one change to the team which beat Sunderland with Hayden Mullins replacing Lee Bowyer in midfield.

1941: Evening all. Truth be told, this is pretty enticing for a Monday night fixture with less than half of the season elapsed. Lots (relatively speaking) at stake and the magnifying glass will be on both teams for differing reasons. Don't you think?

Ah, no messing about. Here's your teamsheets:

Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Hyypia, Dossena, Benayoun, Gerrard, Alonso, Riera, Kuyt, Keane.
Subs: Cavalieri, Agger, Babel, Mascherano, Leiva Lucas, Insua, Ngog.

West Ham: Green, Neill, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Faubert, Parker, Mullins, Behrami, Bellamy, Cole.
Subs: Boa Morte, Noble, Lastuvka, Tristan, Davenport, Collison, Di Michele.

1935: Relentless winning machines Chelsea? Free-scoring Ronaldo-led Manchester United? Lily-livered entertainers Arsenal?

This season's captivating Premier League campaign is proving that traditional stereotypes for the "Big Four" are having to be revised.

Time for Liverpool to do just that by holding their nerve to see off West Ham and move three points clear at the top of the table?

Barclays Premier League Table
01 February 2010 22:00
    P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 23 38 54
2 Man Utd 24 36 53
3 Arsenal 24 32 49
4 Tottenham 24 20 42

5 Liverpool 24 16 41

6 Man City 22 14 41
7 Aston Villa 23 13 40
8 Birmingham 23 -1 34
9 Everton 23 -1 32
10 Blackburn 24 -15 28
11 Fulham 23 -2 27
12 Stoke 22 -7 26
13 Sunderland 23 -10 24
14 Wigan 22 -23 22
15 West Ham 23 -9 21
16 Bolton 22 -15 21
17 Wolverhampton 23 -21 21

18 Burnley 23 -23 20
19 Hull 23 -26 20
20 Portsmouth 22 -16 15

see also
Live - Arsenal v FC Porto
22 Apr 08 |  Football


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