Liverpool 4 West Ham 1 match report: Luis Suarez gives England more to fear

Uruguayan stands out again with fine goalscoring performance but Gerrard injury is a concern

Anfield

This was an afternoon of smoking guns and bleeding feet. Four of the five goals were helped into their own net by a variety of defenders, most of them wearing West Ham shirts. There were other casualties. Kevin Nolan was sent off for stupidly raking his studs down the back of Jordan Henderson’s leg, an act that sprang from unremitting frustration, while Stewart Downing was taken to hospital to have his calf and Achilles tendon stitched after a challenge from  Jon Flanagan.

For Liverpool, the chief concern was their captain, Steven Gerrard, who midway through the second half was forced off with a hamstring injury, which his manager, Brendan Rodgers, hoped was a strain rather than tear.  Liverpool may be second in the Premier League but they have already lost Daniel Sturridge and they do not have especially deep resources with away fixtures at Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea on the horizon.

They do, however, possess the season’s outstanding footballer, who scored the only clean goal of the day. Luis Suarez may panic those who have to defend against him but he has begun to spread fear through the country’s bookmakers. In the wake of his destruction of Norwich City on Wednesday night, he was a mere 10-1 to score a  hat-trick here.

Sport can throw up, some strange statistics. Of Geoff Boycott’s 151 centuries, none came against Cambridge University, the easiest route of all to a first-class hundred. Suarez had not, until now, scored against West Ham, a team whose last victory at Anfield came in 1963 and featured a goal from Geoff Hurst, who on Friday’s World Cup draw ensured Suarez and Gerrard would meet in Sao Paulo. Rodgers said Suarez had “just smiled and laughed” about it when he met up with the squad,  but as the tournament looms, he will cast a bigger shadow.

Suarez was involved in the last two goals, driving home a powerful, close range header that finished off a high-class cross from Glen Johnson. Then, on the edge of the area he sent Mark Noble first one way and then the other as if he were facing the last pick on the school playground. His shot cannoned off Joey O’Brien’s back for the third own-goal of the match.

The £40m Rodgers turned down from Arsenal now seems a superlative piece of business. “You don’t put a price on him but he is up there with the best players in the world,” he said, replying to remarks from the Manchester City manager, Manuel Pellegrini, that Sergio Aguero is a superior player.

“I wouldn’t swap Luis for anyone. What he gives the team is a relentless desire.”

In April, West Ham forced a goalless draw at Anfield, thanks largely to a display of absolute commitment from James Collins. The Welshman was unable to re-scale those heights and his chief memory would have been of deflecting a scuffed shot from Mamadou Sakho into his own net via the crossbar.

Compared to his last goal, the one that took France to the World Cup, it was very small beer. He had not started a game for Liverpool for nearly a month and but for illness afflicting Daniel Agger he would not have done so now.

The scoreline may have been similar to Wednesday night’s humbling of Norwich but West Ham’s resistance was rather more dogged even after Guy Demel, running back to cover, had turned in Suarez’s half-saved shot.  

With all the own goals flying around, Martin Skrtel, who had put through his own net at Hull did so again, but Sam Allardyce, another British manager whose position is under constant scrutiny, considered the turning point was Modibo Maiga’s header that Simon Mignolet tipped into the Kop. Rodgers was rather more ruthless in his assessment. He said  Liverpool might have scored eight.

Line-ups:

Liverpool (4-2-3-1): Mignolet; Johnson, Skrtel, Sakho, Flanagan (Kelly, 78); Gerrard (Lucas, 67), Allen; Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling (Moses, 72); Suarez.

West  Ham (4-1-4-1): Jaaskelainen; Demel, Collins, Tomkins (O‘Brien, 67), McCartney;  Noble; Downing (J Cole, h-t), Diamé, Nolan, Jarvis; Maiga.

Referee: Michael Oliver.

Man of the match: Coutinho (Liverpool)

Match rating: 6/10

News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Life and Style
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
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

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits