Hodgson didn't have many options for this one especially in the centre of midfield, with Lucas suspended and the midweek injury blow to Gerrard on international duty, Liverpool were decimated in midfield, young Spearing looked likely of selection but he picked up an injury on Friday which will keep him out for six weeks. So the much lambasted Poulsen had to start this one partnering Meireles in the middle. Good to see Torres getting support up front in the shape of David N'Gog. Pleased to see Johnson fit again and starting at right back, Carragher shifting back into the middle. Disappointed Kyrgiakos was dropped for this match where I certainly prefer him to Skrtel, and with his added threat at attacking set pieces.
Liverpool started the game brightly and won a corner in the second minute puting West Ham on the back foot a few early chances being created by Liverpool with Johnson looking dangerous and puting over a great cross early on after getting to the touch line which was headed clear. With Poulsen and Meireles dominating the midfield Liverpool were creating all the chances and the it was just a matter of time before Liverpool took the lead and it came in the 17th minute when Meireles sent in a corner which Johnson chested down before reacting quickest to fire a low shot into the West Ham net. It was only what Liverpool deserved and they added to their lead in the 27th minute when Torres won a penalty trying to go past a defender which was handled. Kuyt fired the spot kick straight down the middle making it 2-0. A great start for Liverpool and West Ham offered nothing at all as an attacking force. To be fair Liverpool were not being made to work too hard for their domination as West Ham were really poor, but you can only beat whats in front of you and Liverpool were doing that. A third goal was added in the 38th minute when Maxi glanced a Konchesky cross into the corner of the West Ham net after Torres was foiled by Green. 3-0 at half time was I'm sure far more than what Hodgson would have hoped for. The second half was just more of the same with Liverpool very comfortable with West Ham not creating anything at all. As the second half wore on the game turned more into a friendly match with both teams looking like accepting the outcome. Liverpool didn't really need to work the second half but they were in so much control. The odd chance still being created by Liverpool as the tempo dropped but Liverpool had to settle for 3-0 which will set them up nicely as the head to the in form Tottenham next Sunday.
I thought this would be a tricky game especially with the Gerrard missing and Lucas who had also been playing well in recent games. No doubting that West Ham were very poor but Liverpool did create chances a plenty and that was encouraging, it would have been nice to have seen a few more goals in the second half. Great to see Johnson playing and scoring, he was a big threat down the right. Torres looked lively without scoring, Green pulling off a great save in the second half to deny him. Poulsen and Meireles did well in the middle as they dominated midfield, Poulsen pulling off a great save from Green in the second half. Both players passed the ball well and it was pleasing to see as Poulsen especially has faced much abuse from the Liverpool support. Maxi and Kuyt played well on the flanks and the defence, especially Reina were virtual spectators. Overall a great result and pleasing with so many players missing.
Man Of The Match - Johnson Great first game back and scoring as well capped off a fine display.