West Ham vs Liverpool half-time match report: Hammers fire out of the blocks but Raheem Sterling drags Reds back into it

Goals from Winston Reid and Diafra Sakho gave West Ham a healthy lead before Sterlng thundered in a powerful effort

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The Independent Online

West Ham produced one of the best halves of football they have played in Sam Allardyce's reign at Upton Park but Liverpool are still just about holding on.

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The home side, enlivened by a raucous crowd in east London, made the perfect start to the game scoring twice in the first seven minutes to stun Brendan Rodgers and the travelling Liverpool fans.

With just a 90 second on the clock, Stewart Downing swung over a free-kick to the back post for James Tomkins to nod into Winston Reid's path. The goal lifted an already spirited Hammers team, though what came next is open to interpretation.

Mark Noble, impressive as the holding man n a midfield diamond, won the ball before releasing Diafra Sakho in the right-hand channel. The strike drove into the box before chipping the ball over Simon Mignolet - whether he meant to do that or was looking for the lively Enner Valencia is another question.

 

After their slow start Liverpool grew into the game, especially when Brendan Rodgers switched to a 3-5-2 after withdrawing Javier Manquillo. A frustrated Mario Balotelli was booked for needlessly bringing down the keeper before Raheem Sterling reacted quickly to a loose ball to fire Liverpool back into the game.

But West Ham were always in charge, with Valencia forcing Mignolet into a decent stop five minutes before the break, while the Hammers may also have had a penalty when Cheikhou Kouyate was brought down.

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Winston Reid buries home the opening goal

The Independent's

Miguel Delany, watching on at Upton Park, said: "A game of glorious chaos at Upton Park, as West Ham United turned over Liverpool and also overturned so many expectations.

"Most pointedly, Sam Allardyce’s side did what Liverpool so often did last season, by roaring into an early lead. Winston Reid scored from a set-piece on two minutes before Diafra Sakho gloriously chipped Simon Mignolet on seven. That caused Liverpool to revert to three at the back, as Rodgers hauled off Javier Manquillo after just 22 minutes, and it did have an effect as Raheem Sterling powered a show past Adrian to make it 2-1.

"That didn’t knock back West Ham, however, who kept coming. Even more surprisingly, Dejan Lovren came back onto the pitch with a bandage after appearing to suffer a head injury."

All to play for at Upton Park.

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