Liverpool 0 West Ham 0 match report: Brendan Rodgers cannot wait for season of disappointment to end as frustration reigns at Anfield

Neither team were able to break the deadlock

Anfield

They were clearing away at Aintree as, like a man going back to his wife after a one-night stand, Merseyside returned to its chief sporting love.

This, however, lacked the romance and uncertainty of a 66-1 outsider owned by Britain’s most famous and cantankerous show-jumper charging across the Melling Road, though you would have got relatively long odds on West Ham United holding Liverpool to a draw.

It is 50 years since they last won at Anfield and, although they were captained by Bobby Moore that day in September 1963, West Ham are not known in these parts for their defensive solidity.

Yet they produced defending that Moore would have recognised. Few have handled the threat of Luis Suarez better than the hulking figure of James Collins for whom this was an afternoon of grit and skill.

But for the thickness of Lucas Leiva’s thigh, Sam Allardyce’s tactics of soaking up Liverpool’s pressure would have paid the highest possible dividend. Jack Collison met Gary O’Neil’s corner with a header that struck the Brazilian as he stood by the post. Allardyce threw his hands to a head that now bore four stitches after a collision with a marble worktop in his kitchen. The hoodoo had not been broken but he would go home happy.

“We should have won it,” the West Ham manager said. “We had the  better chances and I know they had more possession but we didn’t  succumb to their pressure. This is a very big and well-deserved point for us because some of the teams below us have been picking up back-to-back wins. Most fans would have turned up here expecting Liverpool to walk away with this.

“Up to our game at Stoke, which we won 1-0, our away form has been dreadful and you can see why – we don’t score. The defence has earned us a point but the finishing side needs to get an awful lot better.”

Brendan Rodgers might have felt the same. Liverpool’s dominance was relentless. But one by one the opportunities flashed by. James Tomkins cleared off the line after a move  involving Liverpool’s three most creative players – Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Steven Gerrard – and finished by the Liverpool captain.

Daniel Sturridge deflected Jordan Henderson’s shot into the net but was, to Rodgers’ surprise, ruled to have been standing in an offside position. Both Gerrard and Suarez sent balls hissing across the face of Jussi Jaaskelainen’s goal but Allardyce  argued that his keeper was not required to produce heroics.

“It was a game where you had to score early on to open it up or you needed that wee bit of luck,” Rodgers said. “Our form at Anfield is getting better all the time but we need to keep moving forward, get to the summer, and then make a better start to next season than we did to this one.”

West Ham’s chances were few but good. Mohamed Diame slalomed past two defenders, rode a challenge and sent his shot screeching into the Kop, who applauded. Had Carlton Cole scored after Lucas had sloppily lost possession on the edge of the box, their emotions would have been less generous but Daniel Agger’s block was the equal of anything produced by Collins, Tomkins or Guy Demel.

At the start, it felt like a game of county cricket. There were some  interesting touches, the sun was shining but nothing seemed to matter very much. By the end Anfield was eaten up with frustration. They were angry at West Ham’s time-wasting even when it involved a genuinely injured player in Tomkins, who was helped off the pitch with cramp.

At the whistle, there was an acceptance that Liverpool will probably not make the fifth place required to guarantee European football and, had Tottenham not scored a late equaliser against Everton, that prospect might have disappeared completely.

The season is dribbling away much as it did in Kenny Dalglish’s last few matches, although Dalglish had won them the League Cup and there was the prospect of an FA Cup final to come. Rodgers said only that Liverpool would try to finish as high as they could. When he was young that used to be first.

Bookings: West Ham O’Brien.

Man of the match Collins.

Match rating 6/10.

Possession: Liverpool 65%. West Ham 35%.

Attempts on target: Liverpool 8. West Ham 0.

Referee A Taylor (Greater Manchester).

Attendance 45,007.

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower