|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
West Ham stand firm at Liverpool to earn FA Cup fourth-round replay
Andy Hunter at Anfield
Date Published Saturday 30 January 2016 19.44 GMT
Jürgen Klopp and Slaven Bilic fell about laughing when Joey O’Brien sliced a rare opportunity for West Ham United into the cold and presumably bored spectators in the Anfield Road. They had to find entertainment somewhere, to be fair, as there was precious little on offer in an all-Premier League affair that produced only another date in the congested diaries of Liverpool and West Ham.
A replay “is not what we want”, said Klopp on the eve of the fourth-round tie, but a replay is what he got following a lacklustre contest of more long-term positives than incident. Cameron Brannagan, Kevin Stewart and João Carlos Teixeira took their latest opportunities to impress for Liverpool in the FA Cup while the visiting goalkeeper Darren Randolph was instrumental in delivering the stalemate.
West Ham won the trophy when they completed a league double over Liverpool in 1963-64, a feat they only repeated this season, and will rate their chances of a hat-trick of victories on home soil with Klopp pledging to field a similar team for the replay.
“I don’t know where they will find a place for the replay, maybe in a morning when we play in an afternoon,” said the sardonic Liverpool manager following his team’s ninth game in 29 days. They will play eight matches next month, including the Capital One Cup final, should they overcome West Ham at Upton Park.
“The most important thing is everyone could see our lineup was not disrespectful to the FA Cup. It was the other way around. We thought this was the best chance for us to go through. This young team did really well.
“They played not too often together but they did well. We had a good structure, we had chances and we should have scored in one of the other situations. Now we play again.”
Bilic concurred: “Nobody is crazy about the replays but we can live with that. We got the clean sheet, we deserved the replay and now it will be one of those historical FA Cup nights at Upton Park.”
Both managers rang the changes with goalkeeper Simon Mignolet the only Liverpool player to start here and in Tuesday’s Capital One Cup semi-final win over Stoke City. It was a credit to the home side’s young players in particular that the clearer threat and understanding came from those in red. Dimitri Payet apart, West Ham were subdued in their attempts to strike on the counterattack although Enner Valencia and Cheikhou Kouyaté should have done better on the end of inviting crosses.
Stewart was a tenacious presence in the holding role, Brannagan brought composure and accuracy while Teixeira’s touch improved gradually against a disrupted visiting defence. First-choice goalkeeper Adrián had returned home to Seville to attend the birth of his first child. James Tomkins returned at right-back with Sam Byram Cup-tied and Carl Jenkinson a long-term absentee, but was forced off with 13 stitches in a head wound following a clash with Joe Allen, Klopp’s seventh captain since he became Liverpool manager. Kouyaté was also withdrawn in the first half as a precaution against a groin problem and the changes told on West Ham’s display.
A sterile Cup tie was in desperate need of incident and more alert officials might have provided it when Steven Caulker handled inside the Liverpool area shortly after the restart. Substitute Nikica Jelavic flicked Payet’s free-kick into a crowded six-yard box, in mitigation to the officials, and Liverpool’s on-loan defender raised his arm to make contact with the ball before the danger was cleared. A reprieve. Bilic admitted: “Because the benches are too close like in the British parliament, and we are democrats of course, we had few calls, they shouted few times and the crowd shouted all the time, but I didn’t see it.”
The home side should have capitalised when Nathaniel Clyne presented Allen with a clear sight of goal but, under little pressure and 18 yards out, the midfielder blazed over. Randolph’s goal came under sustained pressure midway through the second half. Allen failed to pick out Christian Benteke when free inside the box, Randolph saved twice from Teixeira and the former Aston Villa forward completely miscued when Stewart’s shot dropped into his path in front of goal.
Liverpool’s brightest moment brought out the best in West Ham’s stand-in keeper. Randolph made three fine saves in quick succession as Benteke met Jordon Ibe’s measured pass with a first-time shot, Allen charged in for the rebound and then the Belgian had a second bite. The West Ham substitute Michail Antonio headed against a post in the final minute but only after Aaron Cresswell’s cross had sailed out of play. The replay no one wanted cannot be worse.
Daily Mail: PLAYER RATINGS by Rob Draper
Liverpool (4-2-3-1) Mignolet 6; Clyne, 7 Caulker 5.5, Lovren 5, Smith 6; Brannagan, 7 Stewart 6 ; Ibe, 6, (Ojo 80) Teixeira 7.5, Allen 6; Benteke 5.5
Manager: Jurgen Klopp 5
West Ham (4-3-3): Randolph 8.5; Tomkins 6 (O’Brien 35 6), Reid, 6.5 Ogbonna, 6 Cresswell 6.5; Obiang, 6 Song, 7 Kouyate 6 (Jelavic 36 7); Moses 6.5, (Antonio 70, 6) Valencia, 6 Payet 7
Manager: Slaven Bilic 6
Ref: Martin Atkinson 5