Writer: Jimmy Rolex
Date:Monday October 31 2005
29th October 2005 - 15:00pm
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Liverpool finally turned on the style in the Premiership as they eased to a comfortable 2 - 0 win over West Ham at Anfield. In what has been described as a 'nightmare week', with two poor losses against 'lesser' sides, Benitez's men outplayed the Hammers.
Benitez opted for what appears on paper his best starting XI, and this paid off.
Xabi Alonso scored a cracking goal from 25 yards, and Zenden bagged his first Liverpool goal in front of an elated Kop.
Liverpool started edgey enough though, with chances coming few and far between for the Reds. Misfiring Cisse and Morientes were guilty of wasted chances much to the impatience of an expectant Liverpool crowd.
Luis Garcia, in one of his best performances in a Red shirt, was also guilty of trying to score when a pass would have been the better option.
In the 18th minute up steeped Alonso to blast the ball past a helpless Hislop from all of 25 yards, even though the ball got a slight deflection from Hammers defender Repka on the way in. You could sense the relief from the players, and from the crowd.
Liverpool grew in confidence as the first half wore on as West Ham searched in vain for any resemblance of a chance at a goal. Reina, occasionally looked nervous in goal, barely had a save to make.
The signs were good early in the second half, as crisp accurate passing between the Liverpool midfield began to give hope to the Anfield faithful. Gerrard, as usual, was the hungriest, and some tough tackling showed he meant business.
A few half chances fell Liverpool's way with Cisse looking to find his goalscoring form of late.
Hyypia launched a vicious volley towards the West Ham goal only for it to be cleared, or should that be, scrambled, off the line by Konchesky.
More neat passing fell the Reds way and 8 minutes from time good control by Zenden found him clear in on goal, a low hard drive hit the right-hand post a bounced back into the goal - which proved to be the decisive goal that gave Liverpool all three points.
It left the fans wondering why the team couldnt do this the week before against both Fulham and Crystal Palace.
The team selection was right, the tempo was right, and the team overall looked much stronger, much more committed than they have in recent weeks.
A slight sign that our 'nightmare' spell is over - and it better be, because the next few weeks of Liverpool's season will be shaped into either one of hope and improvement or one of failure and despair.
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Date:Monday October 31 2005
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