Diame exit proves key
As part of our Premier League snap-shots series, Adam Bate looks at an eventful game at Upton Park as Liverpool came from behind to beat West Ham.
Last Updated: 09/12/12 8:57pm
Liverpool came from behind to beat West Ham 3-2 at Upton Park and move into the top half of the Premier League. Glen Johnson had given Brendan Rodgers' side the lead but a Mark Noble penalty and a Steven Gerrard own goal looked to have turned it around for the Hammers. However, there was a sting in the tail as West Ham old boy Joe Cole equalised late on and then James Collins diverted the ball past his own goalkeeper to hand the points to the Reds.
Selection and tactics
Sam Allardyce made two changes to his West Ham side - the same two changes he made at half-time in the previous game against Chelsea. In that match, Allardyce brought on Matt Taylor and Mohamed Diame for James Tomkins and Gary O'Neil when one-goal down at half-time and promptly won the game 3-1.
Rodgers made one change from the team that beat Southampton last weekend and it was a significant one as Liverpool were without their star forward Luis Suarez through suspension. The shortage of forwards at Anfield meant that required a reshuffle with Stewart Downing coming into the team and Jonjo Shelvey being asked to operate as a makeshift striker.
Lee Probert awarded West Ham a contentious penalty in the first half. There was no doubting that the ball struck Joe Allen's hand but the shot from Diame was fierce and whether the Liverpool player could have done too much to avoid the ball connecting with him is debatable.
Several of the changes in this game proved critical. Liverpool lost Jose Enrique to injury early on and Rodgers made a positive switch in introducing Cole against his former club and the ex-Hammer popped up with the equalising goal. By that point Diame had been forced off with a hamstring injury. The summer acquisition had been the star of the show up to that point and Allardyce will be alarmed by how the team faded after his exit.
Diame's dominance of the midfield was impressive although perhaps the key battle of the match occurred on the flank between Johnson and Matt Jarvis. The Liverpool full-back had the West Ham winger tracking back in the early stages and scored a superb goal but Jarvis came into the game after that and produced a dangerous cross for the home side's second goal. But the Reds had the last laugh when Jordan Henderson got away down that right wing and crossed for the winner.
This looked a tricky game for Liverpool, especially without Suarez, but instead they have climbed into the top half of the table and there is renewed optimism at Anfield. There are encouraging signs that Rodgers is starting to see his methods rewarded. As for West Ham, Allardyce was proud of his players' efforts after the game and keen to downplay expectations - the Hammers are, after all, a newly-promoted side and disappointments such as this are likely to come with the territory.