Hope for Hammers’ survival hopes after triumph over Liverpool
Hammers produce super display to beat Reds
West Ham 3
(Parker 22, Ba 45, Cole 90)
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THEY may still be in the bottom three, but an impressive performance and 3-1 win over Liverpool will give West Ham great belief they can survive this season.
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Scott Parker and Demba Ba both struck in the first half, as the Hammers moved up to 18th, level on points with the team above them, Wolves.
Maybe co-owner David Sullivan is now more optimistic of West Ham’s survival.
Earlier in the week he rated their chances at 50/50, but after this showing he may afford himself to be a touch more optimistic.
After Wolves’ convincing 4-0 victory over Blackpool yesterday it was vital the east Londoners took something against a side who had won their last four league matches.
It was the hosts who played like they were the ones in the midst of a terrific run, outperforming the Merseysiders all over the park.
Liverpool made a bright start and should have taken a fourth minute lead when an excellent Steven Gerrard pass picked out Raul Merieles who headed wide.
It was the closest the visitors came in the first period, as the Hammers dominated.
Their passing was crisp, accurate and with or without the ball, West Ham played at a high tempo, putting pressure on opponents who were too slow and wanted too much time on the ball.
It took 22 minutes for the Hammers to fashion out a chance, one which Scott Parker took. The midfielder found picked up the ball just inside the opposition half before playing neat one twos with Lars Jacobsen then Thomas Hitzlsperger before toe-poking home from just inside the area.
The Hammers continued to outplay Liverpool and there was little surprise when two minutes before the interval their lead was doubled.
Ba, whose physical presence had caused Jamie Carragher a host of problems throughout the opening 45 flicked a header onto Gary O’Neil whose cross found the striker, who diving forward headed home.
Seven minutes after the re-start, Ba was again causing problems. Carragher gave the ball away cheaply to Hitzlsperger, who played a neat ball through to the forward, who fired just wide.
Liverpool almost halved the lead when Luis Suarez turned James Tomkins brilliantly, forcing Robert Green into an equally impressive save.
Only Piquionne will know he didn’t make it 3-0 after 67 minutes from a Noble corner, when four yards out and unmarked he somehow headed wide.
Liverpool brought on Ngog and switched to a 4-3-3 and launched attack after attack, with time slipping away.
At times this season West Ham have buckled under pressure but with Upson at his imperious best and Green commanding in goal, the Reds struggled to find a way through.
With only seven minutes left, the visitors gave themselves a lifeline, when Suarez turned Parker brilliantly, before firing across goal, with former the Hammer touching in at the far post.
Hammers fans feared the worst perhaps rightfully after the season they have had, They should not have worried. Carlton Cole replaced Ba in stoppage time then proceeded to put the game to bed. He oupowered Martin Skrtle before thundering a shot past Reina toto put a fine seal on the win.