In fact that result and the performance was almost a role reversal of how the Reds have recently fared – the football wasn’t as smooth and free flowing, but by the final whistle, the 3 points were in the bag.
That fight back may not have been necessary though had another refereeing decision not gone against Brendan Rodgers’ men.
That penalty decision was another example of referees playing it safe by hiding behind the literal letter of the law. If his arms are outstretched, then it’s handball. A child could be excused for thinking like that, not a football organization comprised of fully developed adults.
Joe Allen was throwing himself in front of that shot, looking away to protect his face, and had his left arm stretched out a few centimetres away from his chest which was just a natural body positioning during that kind of movement.
The replays showed his left hand take a stinging hit from the ball, which made it even clearer that it was ball-on-hand and completely unintentional.
Either way, it allowed the Hammers a way back and Steven Gerrard’s unfortunate own goal put them in the ascendancy.
However, the fact that no one has to complain about that penalty call due to the lads managing a comeback nevertheless – a major positive for Brendan Rodgers to try and build on.
Liverpool were sketchy in the second-half and Carlton Cole seemed like he was in one of those moods Thierry Henry used to display for the Gunners a few years back. Every time he was on the ball, you knew something was going to happen.
Yet, the players managed to keep calm and put together the vital passes when it mattered, first for Joe Cole to slide in with a brilliant run and equalise, then for Jordan Henderson hit that low cross in towards Jonjo Shelvey for the winner.
Two players need to be acknowledged about their performance at Upton park as well. Martin Skrtel and Joe Cole.
Firstly Skrtel, the way he was throwing himself at everything was remarkable and shows how well he’s taken to the responsibility of being one of the main centre-backs now that Jamie Carragher’s entered the twilight years of his career.
Secondly, Joe Cole – he’s fighting. It shows nowadays every time he’s out on the pitch, he wants to do well for the club and wants to win games with the team. This hunger in him to prove his worth should be utilized by Rodgers as much as possible.
The team in general, seems to still have a few things to address. Possession was lost a few too many times in vital areas, which led to many West Ham attacks. Liverpool need to solid in that area and funny enough Joe Allen seemed to be a bit of culprit in giving the ball away last week.
Secondly, the lack of Luis Suarez exposed the lack of imagination at times on the part of the Liverpool attackers, until the final moments when Jonjo Shelvey nearly pulled off a dribble like the Uruguayan in front of goal, but for a last second intervention (was it legal?).
Shelvey seems to enjoy that false number 9 role and perhaps that’s something Rodgers could try and exploit by playing him just behind Suarez as a second striker/attacking midfielder. It doesn’t always have to be an either/or scenario regarding those two players.
Suarez’s skill and trickery, combined with Shelvey’s determination to fend off defenders, could prove a bit of a combination.
Next stop, Villa at home. Another 3 points would do just fine.