The manager was delighted at the way his players rose to the challenge at a packed Boleyn
Avram Grant was full of praise after his side recorded a tremendous 3-1 victory against Liverpool on Sunday. The manager was elated after Scott Parker, Demba Ba and Carlton Cole struck at a packed Boleyn Ground - with "three great finishes" - to move the club to within a goal of moving out of the Barclays Premier League drop zone. The performance was all the more striking given the Reds' recent resurgence. However, Grant was keen to stress first of all that his thoughts were with the Chairman David Gold, who was unable to attend the match. He is being treated in hospital for a stomach condition - cholangitis - as well as septicaemia, and missed his first match at Upton Park since 'coming home' to the club in January 2010. The manager said: "First, I want you to know that our chairman is not feeling so well. I wish him all the best and hope he gets well soon. He's a good guy, and I'm sure he enjoyed the game today. "He's such a positive and nice guy. I know that he saw the game and I've a feeling that he liked it. The game was good, we played well, scored three and could have scored more. I'm happy."
The manager said a stronger squad was beginning to pay dividends, while he also had words of praise for the likes of Matthew Upson and Scott Parker in showing great determination to play. "Now there's more competition for places, and it's easier for us. [Before now] we missed Hitzlsperger. He was my first signing and, with all the power and intensity of football these days, our midfield is more complete with him in the side. Injuries are part of the game, but four days before the season started...it's amazing."
On Parker's pledge to play despite suffering with a shoulder problem from training on Saturday, the manager was full of superlatives. "We thought he couldn't play. But Scott is a special guy. The spirit he showed was great. "Three hours before the game, we thought there was no way he would play. He did it five minutes before the end of training. But we didn't want to lose him. One of the things that happened with this team, despite the problems we've had, is that the spirit has been high. "Scott is the best example of this. It was a bad, bad injury. He couldn't walk or move his arms. The medical department were sure he couldn't play, but they did a good job and gave him 24 hours of treatment. "I prepared the game without him. He needed more than an injection, but the medical department did brilliantly with him. He's the type of player I like: he always gives 100%, is always positive."
With Stoke City visiting the Boleyn on Saturday, the manager is eager for back-to-back league wins to really underline his team's survival hopes. "This result shows the players what quality we have. We have that quality. We're not a team that should be down the bottom. "Circumstances cause us to be there, but look at our football. We played football as if we weren't at the bottom. The players see that, when we do the right things, we're not easy to beat. "We are coming now to the last ten games of the season. I don't remember a situation where the team who are bottom could still end up tenth. It's so tight. It's important that we win games to take us forward. It's not easy sometimes, but that's what we need to do."
Chairman wished well
Everyone at West Ham United has sent 'get well soon' messages to co-owner David Gold
Scott Parker and Avram Grant both sent personal messages to the Chairman David Gold on Sunday after it was revealed he was in hospital being treated for cholangitis and septicaemia. Parker and Grant took time to send their best wishes when talking to the media after the 3-1 win against Liverpool. The Board and all at the club have also sent their very best wishes to the Chairman, who was first taken ill on Wednesday evening. Speaking earlier on Sunday, his daughter Jacqueline Gold said: "I saw my dad this morning and he is very poorly with cholangitis and septicaemia. He is on powerful antibiotics and we hope to see an improvement in the next few days. "He asked me to be at the Liverpool game today on his behalf and is absolutely devastated he could not be there himself." She added that he had wished the team and the manager well before the game. Opening goalscorer and man of the match, Parker said: "We heard just before kick-off that the Chairman's not too well. So obviously our thoughts are with him. Hopefully, that result's made it a little bit better for him."
The manager added: "I want to wish David Gold well, he is a great guy. We missed him, especially me because I always speak to him before the game when he comes to my office. This win is for him. He comes every Friday to the training ground. He is always positive, always smiling. We missed him today."
West Ham 3 - 1 Liverpool
By Mandeep Sanghera
Scott Parker inspired West Ham to a win over Liverpool at Upton Park that lifted the east London side off the bottom of the Premier League table. Parker produced a lovely dinked effort into the far bottom corner after 22 minutes to give the Hammers the lead. Demba Ba's guided header into the top corner then left the Reds reeling. Liverpool's late rally resulted in Glen Johnson tapping in after 84 minutes but Carlton Cole drove in a shot to secure a valuable win for the home side. In their last league outing, Parker's half-time words had helped rouse the Hammers to fight back from 3-0 to draw 3-3 at West Brom and the central midfielder was again the driving force for his side. Playing through the pain of a shoulder injury, he led from the front and his team-mates followed his example to produce a performance of grit and guile for only their sixth league win of the season.
Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish was left shaking his head from the touchline at times and, despite his side's goal, they raised their game too late as any lingering hopes the Anfield outfit had of launching an assault on a top-four spot lay in tatters. The Hammers went into the game having again dropped to the bottom of the table after Wolves beat Blackpool 4-0 on Saturday, and there may have been a degree of trepidation as they faced opponents who were unbeaten in their eight previous games in all competitions. But, despite having the worst home record in the top-flight so far this season, West Ham upped their game after a slow start to help raise the volume inside the ground by showing the type of qualities they will need to beat the drop. There was character and composure as they neatly passed the ball about, while smothering any threat the Merseysiders tried to conjure up, with the dynamism of central midfield duo Parker and Thomas Hitzlsperger unsettling the visitors. German Hitzlsperger, nicknamed "Der Hammer", is renowned for his powerful left-foot strikes and he twice produced well-struck long-range efforts which might have tested Reds goalkeeper Pepe Reina more had they not been straight at him. Parker is known for his combative style but showed he also has a delicate touch to his game after playing a one-two with Hitzlsperger and finishing with finesse as he put a strike out of the reach of Reina's despairing dive. Dirk Kuyt sent a powerful strike into the side-netting and Luis Suarez had a dubious shout for a penalty after a James Tomkins tackle as Liverpool responded, although the 3-5-2 formation which has helped improve their form under Dalglish was having little impact.
And, after former Upton Park favourite Joe Cole came on for the visitors when wing-back Martin Kelly was forced off with a hamstring injury, the Hammers extended their lead. Ba beat Danny Wilson, making his Liverpool debut in the Premier League, to a long goal-kick and, after glancing the ball to Gary O'Neil, ran into the area to head home his team-mate's clipped cross on the stroke of half-time. The home side's keeper Robert Green was a virtual spectator until the hour mark. A Steven Gerrard ball around the corner released the previously anonymous Reds striker Suarez and his shot across goal was brilliantly palmed wide by Green. A 3-0 win would have taken West Ham above Wolves and out of the bottom three, and Frederic Piquionne should have put that within reach but glanced a Mark Noble corner wide. The miss might have proved crucial after Suarez produced some skilful play before firing a low cross from which Johnson tapped in to set up an anxious finale for the home side. But substitute Cole shrugged off Martin Skrtel in injury time and raced through to drive in a left-foot shot which beat Reina at his near post and eased the nerves of Hammers fans.
West Ham's Avram Grant impressed by Scott Parker spirit
West Ham boss Avram Grant hailed Scott Parker after the midfielder defied injury to help the Hammers beat Liverpool 3-1 at Upton Park. Parker injured his shoulder in training on Saturday and Grant did not expect him to play against the Reds. "Scott is a special guy," said Grant. "The spirit he showed was great. "Three hours before the game, we thought there was no way he would play. It was a bad, bad injury. He couldn't walk or move his arms." He added: "The medical department were sure he couldn't play, but they did a good job and gave him 24 hours of treatment. "He needed more than an injection, but the medical department did brilliantly with him."
Goals from Parker and Demba Ba put West Ham ahead against Liverpool and, despite Glen Johnson pulling one back for the visitors, Carlton Cole struck a third to confirm victory for the Hammers. "He's [Parker] the type of player I like - he always gives 100%, is always positive," said Grant. "I like some of the things from old-fashioned play. That's what they did in the olden days. They gave everything."
The victory moved West Ham off the foot of the Premier League table but they are still third from bottom and in the drop zone. However, the win will have been welcomed by 74-year-old West Ham co-owner David Gold, who is unwell and was in hospital on Sunday being treated for cholangitis and septicaemia. "I want to wish him all the best and to get well," said Grant. "He's a good guy, and I'm sure he enjoyed the game. "The game was good, we played well, scored three and could have scored more. I'm happy. "This result shows the players what quality we have. We're not a team that should be down the bottom. Circumstances cause us to be there, but look at our football." He added: "We are coming now to the last 10 games of the season. "I don't remember a situation where the team who are bottom could still end up 10th. It's so tight."
The defeat ended Liverpool's unbeaten run of eight games and boss Kenny Dalglish also suffered the blow of Martin Kelly and Raul Meireles having to go off injured during the game. "We never passed it as well as we can or took the opportunities that came our way," said Dalglish. "The last 20 or 25 minutes, we started to play a wee bit like we can. We got the goal near the end and we thought we might steal a point. "There were a couple of shouts for a penalty, things that are outside our control that you can't manage, but we'll try to correct the mistakes we made."
Kelly pulled up with a hamstring injury and Meireles took a knock to the knee but Dalglish refused to rule either player out of the club's next league game against Manchester United at Anfield on 6 March. "Martin's more serious," said Dalglish. "Raul we don't know. But I wouldn't take it as a given that Martin's out yet."
Grant on... Liverpool
Filed: Sunday, 27th February 2011
By: Staff Writer
Avram Grant was naturally happy following a most impressive performance - and reveals just how close the sponsor's Man of the Match, Scott Parker, came to missing the game...
Avram: superb today?
Yes. But first I want to [say] our Chairman, David Gold, is not feeling so well so we want to wish him all the best, to feel well. He's a good guy and I'm sure that he enjoyed the game today.
The game was good, we played well and scored three goals - and could even have scored more. I'm happy.
A great finish by Parker for the first goal?
Oh, it was. All the three goals were good finishing - by Parker, a great finish by Demba and Coley scored a fantastic goal. I think that now there's more competition [for places] it's easier for us.
Hitzlsperger has made an immediate impact on the team this week?
Yes, we've missed him, he was my first signing here. I believe that football today - with all the power, the energy and the intensity - needs intelligent players. You see with him our midfield is more complete - we are passing the ball more quickly and it's good to see him back.
Also the other signing [Ba] did well and it's good. Injuries are part of the game but this season has been amazing. All these before the start of the season, Hitzlsperger, others. A few of them are coming back and it's better for us.
How close did Scott [Parker] come to not playing today?
Very close. Last night we thought that he couldn't play, we didn't know whether to give him treatment or not. But Scott is a special guy, he showed great spirit. I can tell you today that even three hours before the game we thought he couldn't, there was no way that he could play.
Did he do it in trianing?
It was in training, five minutes before the end of training. To be fair we're used to it this season but we didn't want to lose him.
What does this say...
[press conference interrupted by match referee Mark Halsey who greets Avram Grant warmly before wishing him well for the rest of the season. Grant insists Liverpool's goal was offside, Halsey's reply we cannot possibly publish but it's LOLs all round the press room]
Avram, what does it say about his character that he'd carry on with an injury like that, that he still wanted to play?
One of the things I'm very happy with in this team is that despite the problems that we've had the spirit has been very high - and Scotty is the best example of this. You didn't see training yesterday, it was a bad, bad injury. He couldn't walk, he couldn't move his arm, his shoulder.
The medical department said that he couldn't play - but I must also say that the medical department did a good job, they've treated him for 24 hours since then and he played today. It's amazing. I'd prepared a team without him.
How did he suffer it, in training?
He made a turn and our pitch is not so good so he slipped and turned his shoulder.
Did he need some sort of injection to play?
Yes. He needed more than an injection - as I said, the medical department did a great job with him but he is the person who decided to play.
You've been in the game a long time; have you ever known a player like Scott?
I don't like to compare but he's the type of player that I like. Always gives 100 per cent, always positive. We live in the modern world and we see a lot of modern things but I like the old-fashioned player who gave everything. It doesn't matter how much money they earn, it doesn't matter of the girlfriend was good for them or not - or something like this!
Today it's a different life - my son is like this and he's a great guy - but the old-fashioned traditional players gave everything because they like the game like it is. A game of passion. I've been his manager for less than a year but I like him very much, he's the type of player that I wish I could have at any place that I will go [to]. But I don't intend to go yet!
When it went 2-1 most managers would have brought on a midfielder or a defender to close up shop. Was that a stroke of genius on your part to bring on Carlton Cole?
No, [but] you need to win games sometimes. I didn't think that he could score but I thought he could keep the ball for us because there were a few minutes left. I thought that he could do the job that we needed him to do but we benefitted because he scored the goal.
But I don't think you can say 'the team is leading, we can make a defensive substitution' - we need to win the game. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
You're coming in to a difficult sequence of games now; what does this result do?
I think it showed the quality of the players. We have the quality, I keep saying this. We are not a team for the bottom, circumstances cause us to be there. But despite all of this we've kept [playing] our football. We were bottom of the league before the game and we played football like we're not. So the players see when we're doing the right things we're not an easy team to beat.
How important is it to beat Stoke then? If you beat them you can drag them into that relegation scrap.
We are coming now to the last ten games of the season. I've followed, for more than forty years the Premier League and before it was the Premier League. I don't remember a situation where ten games before the end of the season a team that is bottom of the league could finish in tenth place. So I think for you it's good, for us it's different!
Every win can take you forward, you saw Wolves yesterday - they won and they're out of the relegation [zone]. It's very, very important now to win games because it can take us forward which sometimes is not easy - but that's what we need to do.
How serious is the Chairman's condition?
[press officer interjects] We put out a statement today. That's something I can update on tomorrow.
Just such a positive and nice guy, I hope he will feel good [soon]. I'm sure.
Did he see the game? Does he know the score?
I know that he saw the game, he told me that he saw the game. I have a feeling that he liked it!
Without trying to take anything away from your victory today...
You can try... [laughs]
...you've not managed to win two games in a row, back-to-back. Clearly at this stage of the season draws are no good to you; do you think you can go on a run and win two or three games in a row?
We want to do it, we wanted to do it before. We had a few games that we won, we started against Tottenham and the others but always the game after we didn't pick [up] a result. Even if we'd played well, the game after.
I think now, because we have more competition and we have more players that can play it's [better]. I think we can do it and that's what we want to do, but the next game is against Stoke and everybody knows that they are a difficult team. But this is our target.
Demba Ba - three goals now in two league games; you can't ask for more than that, can you?
No. He and HItzlsperger are players that I've followed for a long time. We were lucky to take these two players; the others are on loans and other things but these players belong to us. He's a good player. I can also say about Thomas and Demba that they can play better, but they are good players, of course. I t was a fantastic goal and I think every game both of them will get better.
Do you feel now - also with Robbie Keane away - that you've got a real selection dilemma when he gets fit? Do you know what your best side is?
I think today, footballers cannot stick in one system; I don't think it's good. The style of the team needs to be style. Our style? Everybody knows we're not playing long balls, we're trying to pass the ball, we're trying to build from the midfield again and we change the system sometimes, sometimes the players.
But Robbie Keane is a very good player. Even though he's played for such a short while he did very well because he's an intelligent player and we need these kind of players. Also Obinna didn't play today and other players that are good for us. So when you win without them, competition becomes bigger and I believe that competition can take you forward.
Sometimes there are players that it's not good for - but for me, they are not very professional.
Grant dedicates win to Gold
Filed: Sunday, 27th February 2011
By: Staff Writer
Avram Grant has dedicated today's 3-1 over Liverpool to West Ham co-chairman David Gold. The 74-year-old was taken to hospital on Wednesday after being diagnosed with Septicemia (blood poisoning), KUMB.com can reveal. Although Gold remains hospitalised he still managed to watch United's impressive 3-1 win which came courtesy of goals from Scott Parker, Demba Ba and Carlton Cole. "Our Chairman David Gold is not so well," Grant told the post-match press conference. "So I want to wish him all the best. He's a good guy and I'm sure he enjoyed the game today."
Gold hospitalised with illnesses
Hammers co-owner hit with double illness
Last updated: 27th February 2011
West Ham has confirmed co-owner David Gold is being treated for cholangitis and septicaemia. The 74-year-old fell ill on Wednesday and his illness meant that he was absent from seeing his team beat Liverpool 3-1 on Sunday. His daughter, Jacqueline, went to the game in his place after he requested her to attend his behalf.
"I saw my dad this morning and he is very poorly with cholangitis (inflammation of the bile duct) and septicaemia," she said. "He is on powerful antibiotics and we hope to see an improvement in the next few days. "He asked me to be at the Liverpool game today on his behalf and is absolutely devastated he could not be there himself."
Parker inspires happy Hammers
Only goal difference keeps Grant's men in the drop zone
Last updated: 27th February 2011
Man of the match: Scott Parker gave everything for West Ham and his opening goal was a superbly improvised finish. Thomas Hitzlsperger and Mark Noble were also excellent.
Goal of the match: Parker's opener in the 22nd minute was a brilliantly deft finish after a give-and-go with Hitzlsperger.
Save of the match: If Rob Green had not prevented Luis Suarez's effort from flashing in at the far post in the second half, West Ham's nerves might have come in to play.
Talking point: Can West Ham escape relegation? Are Liverpool's UEFA Champions League hopes well and truly over?
A typically heroic display from Scott Parker gave West Ham hope of escaping Premier League relegation after a deserved 3-1 victory over Liverpool. The England midfielder opened the scoring in the first half at Upton Park and also produced a non-stop performance to inspire his team to the three points which mean it is only goal difference keeping Avram Grant's side in the drop zone. Demba Ba added West Ham's second goal before half-time and substitute Carlton Colenetted a third in injury time before the final whistle, after Glen Johnson had offered Liverpool some hope. Kenny Dalglish's team were poor as they lost their first match since mid-January and their Sunday afternoon was made worse by injuries to Martin Kelly and Raul Meireles.
The defeat left Liverpool eight points behind fourth-placed Tottenham having played a game more, while Grant was able to celebrate a result that moved the Hammers level on points with fourth-from-bottom Wolves. West Ham certainly did not lack for confidence in the opening moments, the excellent Thomas Hitzlsperger - making his Premier League debut for the club - unleashing an outrageous 40-yard volley that flew into the arms of Jose Reina.
A minute later, Meireles looped a header wide from the fit-again Steven Gerrard's pinpoint 50-yard ball before Martin Skrtel was booked for tripping Frederic Piquionne in full flight. Meireles also fired straight at Robert Green, Gary O'Neil's shot hit a Liverpool defender and Johnson saw a header from a corner blocked before the game settled down.
A Hitzlsperger rocket was again too close to Reina before Parker showed the kind of precision his team-mate had been lacking to give West Ham a 22nd minute lead. He and Hitzlsperger played a neat one-two on the edge of the box and Parker floated a delightful finish right into the far corner with the outside of his foot. Dirk Kuyt hit the side netting from 20 yards following a lightning Liverpool break when team-mates were arguably better placed. The recalled Piquionne then sent a wicked ball across the six-yard box, which just evaded Ba. Liverpool struggled to respond, Luis Suarez repeatedly coming off second best in his personal battle with the impressive James Tomkins. Right-back Kelly's low drive was too close to Green as the interval approached, while Mark Noble, who dovetailed brilliantly with Parker and Hitzlsperger in a midfield trio, curled a free-kick wide at the other end. Liverpool suffered another blow when Kelly pulled a hamstring and was replaced by Joe Cole, Dalglish switching his formation from 5-3-2 to 4-4-2 shortly before half-time.
That was not the end of their woes, with the unmarked Ba powering home a header on the stroke of half-time from O'Neil's cross. Liverpool began the second half on top, but nevertheless made a quick change when David Ngog came on for Meireles, who reportedly had a knee problem which was sustained in a challenge with Parker in the first half.
With Wolves having won 4-0 on Saturday, West Ham needed another goal to climb out of the drop zone and Ba almost provided it when he drilled inches wide from 25 yards. Tomkins, Piquionne and Ba were all close to connecting with a corner as the home side hit back. But they had Green to thank for preserving their two-goal lead when Suarez finally beat Tomkins with a quick turn and unleashed a rising drive which the goalkeeper tipped behind.
Piquionne missed a glorious chance to kill the game when he glanced Noble's corner wide midway through the half, but West Ham's commitment was summed up when Parker threw himself in front of a goalbound Gerrard shot. Gerrard was making his presence felt and Green tipped a dipping volley over the bar from the England star. Reina had to be equally alert to beat Ba to the ball from a Hammers break, but he almost produced an absolute howler when he spilt Piquionne's shot goalwards before recovering. Grant withdrew Piquionne for Jonathan Spector after Joe Cole had mishit a volley for the visitors. The Reds' pressure paid off six minutes from time when Suarez crossed for Johnson to tap into an unguarded net.
West Ham ran down the clock by bringing on Carlton Cole for Ba - although time-wasting was the last thing on the substitute's mind as he left Skrtel in a heap and drilled home at Reina's near post in stoppage-time. There was still time for Suarez to test Green again but the points had already been lost.
Grant - Parker is a special guy
Midfielder hailed for heroics against Liverpool
Last updated: 27th February 2011
West Ham manager Avram Grant described Scott Parker as a 'special guy' after he produced another superstar performance to defeat Liverpool, despite being unable to walk before kick-off. Grant had been resigned to being without the relegation-threatened Hammers' talismanic midfielder for Sunday afternoon's 3-1 win after the England international fell on his shoulder five minutes before the end of Friday's training. But intense treatment from the club's medical staff, including a pain-killing injection, allowed Parker to take to the field at Upton Park. The intervention paid off as 30-year-old Parker opened the scoring with a brilliant goal to set West Ham on their way to a crucial victory. Grant said: "Scott is a special guy. The spirit he showed was great. Three hours before the game, we thought there was no way he would play. "It was a bad, bad injury. He couldn't walk or move his arms. "The medical department were sure he couldn't play, but they did a good job and gave him 24 hours of treatment. "He needed more than an injection, but the medical department did brilliantly with him.
"He's the type of player I like. He always gives 100 per cent, is always positive. "I like some of the things from old-fashioned play. That's what they did in the olden days. They gave everything." West Ham co-owner David Gold is also unwell and was in hospital on Sunday being treated for cholangitis and septicaemia. "Hopefully, that result's made it a little bit better for him," said Parker. Grant added: "I want to wish him all the best and to get well. He's a good guy, and I'm sure he enjoyed the game today. "The game was good, we played well, scored three and could have scored more. I'm happy. "This result shows the players what quality we have. We're not a team that should be down the bottom. Circumstances cause us to be there, but look at our football." The result lifted the Hammers level on points with fourth-from-bottom Wolves. Grant added: "We are coming now to the last 10 games of the season." "I don't remember a situation where the team who are bottom could still end up 10th. It's so tight."
Parker revels in victory
West Ham hero now wants to build on success over Liverpool
Last updated: 27th February 2011
Scott Parker believes that the victory over Liverpool is among West Ham's best performances of the season. Despite requiring a pain-killing injection to overcome a shoulder injury and play, the England international was an architect in the 3-1 win at Upton Park as he opened the scoring and produced a sensational man of the match performance. Avram Grant's West Ham climbed off the foot of the Premier League as a result of the three points and are now only in the drop zone due to goal difference. Parker was delighted with the display and thinks that what was only a fourth home league win was among the best of the current campaign. "I think you can definitely put it up there," the midfielder told Sky Sports when asked if the win rated as the leading performance of the season. Parker, who combined brilliantly in midfield with Thomas Hitzlsperger and Mark Noble throughout the match, put West Ham in front in the 22nd minute before Demba Ba added a second on the stroke of half-time.
Glen Johnson looked to have set up a nervy finish when he gave Liverpool hope in the 84th minute, but Grant's substitute, Carlton Cole, made sure of the points in injury time. Asked whether West Ham would have been anxious if told Liverpool would make it 2-1, Parker said: "Definitely. "I think that is a massive positive for us because our season has gone a little bit like that. "We let in a goal and, obviously the position we are in the league, it gets a bit tense. "But we have held out today and that is a massive three points for us and we need to push on."
Next on the agenda for West Ham in the league is another home match against Stoke and Parker is aware of the need to build on the victory over Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool. "There is no doubting we have been playing some nice stuff and we believe we shouldn't be where we are," he said. "But the (league) position doesn't lie and we haven't performed at times and, it is the last bit of the season now, we need to dig in, push on and get ourselves out of the mess we have put ourselves in."
West Ham 3 Liverpool 1
By MARK IRWIN
Published: 27 Feb 2011
IT'S not easy to make Avram Grant look like one of the Chuckle Brothers - but Kenny Dalglish managed it yesterday. The Liverpool manager was a picture of pure misery as the stark reality of his new job finally hit home. Exactly 50 days since his return to the Reds, Dalglish finally understands just how far his beloved club have fallen. For this was just the sort of performance which had the Liverpool supporters calling for Roy Hodgson's head not so long ago.
Disorganised at the back, lacking inspiration in midfield and toothless up front, the visitors were comprehensively dismantled by a West Ham team who started the day bottom of the Premier League. It was only three weeks ago that an impressive win at Chelsea sparked dreams of a late challenge for Champions League qualification. But since then Liverpool have been held at home by Wigan, scraped past Sparta Prague by a single goal over two legs and now lost heavily to West Ham.
And, on the evidence of this game, a more realistic target for Dalglish would be to just hang on to their Europa League place. For with the obvious exception of record £35million signing Andy Carroll, this was just about the strongest side Dalglish could put out. Yet even the return of skipper Steven Gerrard from injury failed to galvanise a team who look to have used up the adrenalin burst provided by Dalglish's return. Gerrard was swallowed up by midfield terriers Scott Parker and Mark Noble as West Ham took the fight to Liverpool from the off. But it was Thomas Hitzlsperger who controlled the midfield with his calm assurance on the ball and willingness to shoot on sight. This was the German international's 100th Premier League appearance... almost six years since his last one for Aston Villa.
Sidelined by a thigh injury ever since his summer signing from Lazio, Hitzlsperger's long-awaited return to action could yet prove the turning point in West Ham's long and arduous fight for survival. It was his clever return ball which teed-up Parker to stab a clever shot beyond Pepe Reina for his team's opener midway through the first half. And once they had their noses in front, West Ham rarely looked like surrendering the lead to their strangely subdued opponents. Dalglish's 3-5-2 formation had been far from convincing even before wing-back Martin Kelly limped off with a pulled hamstring just before the break. Seconds later, with Liverpool still reorganising at the back, Gary O'Neil's cross from the right was met by a magnificent flying header from Demba Ba. The Senegalese striker has now scored three times in three games since his £6m transfer-deadline signing from Hoffenheim. He could prove to be one of the buys of the year if he keeps his new club up against all the odds. Liverpool, inevitably, improved after the break. It would have been tough for them to be much worse.
Gerrard came to life as Hitzlsperger ran out of steam while £23m Luis Suarez gave up trying to win cheap free-kicks and finally started doing the job he was signed for. The Uruguayan gave Liverpool a glimmer of hope when he turned sharply in the box to tee-up West Ham old boy Glen Johnson from close range in the 84th minute. That should have been the start of an anxious final few minutes for a West Ham team who have thrown away more points than they care to remember this season. But there was to be no late collapse this time as sub Carlton Cole muscled Martin Skrtel off the ball before smashing a powerful shot inside Reina's near post.
Demba is the best Ba none
By ANDREW DILLON
WEST HAM'S new hotshot reckons he can raise the Ba even further. Demba Ba scored his third goal in as many starts for his new club to give the Hammers a huge boost in their relegation fight. The Senegalese striker headed home the second goal as Liverpool were stunned 3-1 at Upton Park and roared: "I can get even better. "I train hard and try to get the best out of Turn to myself. That's why I came here to West Ham." Ba, who joined the Hammers from Hoffenheim last month, said: "We are very happy. Liverpool are not a team that give away points and we had a good game. "If you look at the league table it says three points but for the confidence it is a very good win. "All the games are very important, like the Liverpool game. "So we are going to focus on the next training session and the Stoke match on Saturday and work hard to get three points next week. I haven't been here the whole season but from what I've seen we're playing well." Delighted Hammers boss Avram Grant hailed his battlers as they brought a rejuvenated Liverpool side crashing down to earth. He said: "All three goals were great finishes. Now there's more competition for places. "The game was good, we played well, scored three and could have scored more. I'm happy." Scott Parker, who gave West Ham the lead, said: "We stayed strong and it's a massive relief we got the three points."
Scott's the daddy for Hammers
By ANDREW DILLON
SCOTT PARKER dedicated his West Ham wonder goal to his poorly dad. The Hammers midfielder's father Mick is recovering from major surgery. But he was still at Upton Park to see his son set up a thumping win over Liverpool with a blistering 22nd-minute strike. Man of the Match Parker also shrugged off his own injury problems by having a painkilling injection in a shoulder three hours before kick-off so he could play. The England star said: "My dad has not been well for a while. "I don't want to make a big thing out of it. My goal celebration was obviously partly to do with that but it was a good victory. "It was our best performance of the season. We came out and dominated the first half. "It got a bit jittery when they got a goal back but Carlton came on and earned us the victory. I had a bit of treatment on my shoulder. It's nothing really. Anyone else would have done the same. "We need to push on now. Every one of us believes we shouldn't be where we are in the league."
West Ham are still in the bottom three but just one goal from safety behind Wolves. Patched-up Parker struck a curling shot with the outside of his foot to put West Ham ahead before Demba Ba and Carlton Cole finished the job. Hammers old boy Glen Johnson set up a frantic finish with a goal seven minutes from time but Avram Grant's strugglers held on. Parker added: "I came inside as that was my only real angle to shoot and it's gone in. I was buzzing. We have given ourselves a chance of staying up."
The result would also have been a tonic for West Ham co-owner David Gold, currently in hospital suffering blood poisoning from a gall bladder condition.
Hammers chief Avram Grant said: "Scott is a special guy. "The spirit he showed was great. Three hours before the game, we thought there was no way he would play. "He couldn't walk or move his arms."
Liverpool's run of eight games without defeat came to a juddering halt and still they wait for new £35million striker Andy Carroll to make his debut because of a thigh injury. Boss Kenny Dalgish admitted: "We're disappointed with the way we played. I don't know if it was an aftermath of playing in Europe on Thursday night but we didn't seem as good as we have been. "We're analysing Andy every day. As soon as he is OK, he'll be involved."
West Ham 3-1 Liverpool: Daily Mirror match report
Published 23:00 27/02/11 By Mike Walters
Kenny Dalglish turns 60 on Friday - but he must feel 90 after Liverpool's flashback to the Woy they were. As West Ham climbed out of Boot Hill and into the Premier League foothills with a vibrant performance, Liverpool returned to the slovenly plodding which earned poor old 'Woy' Hodgson the sack. And if Dalglish, who joins Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Harry Redknapp, Gerard Houllier and Hodgson in the Darby and Joan club, thought his eight-match unbeaten run was too good to last, he was right. Help the aged? At Upton Park, Liverpool - so revitalised since King Kenny's second coming in the dugout - were more pedestrian and ponderous than your granny crossing the road. Age concern? Even approaching his three-score, Dalglish still looks as fresh-faced as the genius who migrated south from Celtic 34 years ago, but here was a performance to make him reach for the blue-rinse and bingo card.
The Hammers we can deal with in short measure. If they can play with such verve and mobility, they have been stringing us along all season. And if they go down now, it will be a monumental feat of swinging the lead, managerial incompetence or short-changing the fans. Goals from Scott Parker, Demba Ba and substitute Carlton Cole did not flatter them in the slightest. One more would have lifted them above the dotted line, but for co-chairman David Gold - seriously ill in hospital with septicaemia - the result helped the medicine slip down easier on matron's evening rounds. But Liverpool deserve more critical scrutiny because Dalglish's hand is still short of trump cards. We shall only be able to measure their true firepower when £35 million Andy Carroll - who could yet make his debut against Manchester United next Sunday at Anfield - is unleashed. Sadly for the travelling missionaries from Merseyside, the swishing ponytail warming up along the touchline yesterday only belonged to Sotirios Kyrgiakos, a Greek defender of no fixed popularity. Asked if this knees-up Mother Brown in the east end was a reality check, Dalglish shrugged: "I don't know what you would call it, but it's much more enjoyable when you are sitting here after you've won. "It's been fantastic up to now, but there was always going to be some time when we lost - and unfortunately it was today. "The boys have fully deserved the run they have had, but if they are honest with themselves they will admit they got what they deserved here - which was nothing."
In truth, Dalglish was not blameless. He revisited the system which confounded Chelsea three weeks earlier on the Kop's last excursion to the capital, stringing three centre-halves across the back, but formations don't win football matches - it's the players. Even when the noise is enough to make your false teeth chatter, they won't beat United if it takes them 70 minutes work up a head of steam. This was not quite as impoverished as the barren scuffling of a £50m show pony going through the motions under Hodgson. And losing full-back Martin Kelly (hamstring) and midfielder Raul Meireles (knee) inside the first 50 minutes did not help. But West Ham had already been the more threatening side when Parker exchanged passes with the exemplary Thomas Hitzlsperger and beat Pepe Reina from 20 yards with the outside of his right boot. Parker's shot carried negligible power, and barely crept inside Reina's right-hand post, so it hardly warranted Hammers MC Jeremy Nicholas announcing it as "goal of the season."
Nothing wrong with it, though - and Wet Ham's second, on the stroke of half-time, wasn't the shabbiest, either. Liverpool were still trying to reorganise, after Kelly's departure, when Ba met Gary O'Neil's right-wing cross with a flying header at the near post. Even when Dalglish's men finally stirred from their torpor, Robert Green made excellent saves to deny Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard. And although the kittens were running amok in the cat litter when Glen Johnson turned a Suarez cross home from point-blank range with six minutes left, West Ham refused doggedly to comply with the bottlers' script. In stoppage time, Cole brushed off Martin Skrtel's feeble challenge and beat Reina at his near post to end all arguments, leaving Dalglish to contemplate imminent free bus passes and discounted heating bills. Will they still meet him, will they still greet him, when he's 64? Of course they will - because he's still the King.
Goal hero Parker couldn't walk THREE hours before Liverpool game
Published 23:00 27/02/11 By Darren Lewis
Selfless Scott Parker dedicated his West Ham goal wonder-goal to his poorly dad. The midfielder's father Mick is recovering from major surgery and was Upton Park yesterday to see his son spark the win that ended Liverpool's eight-match unbeaten run. Parker said later: "My dad's not been well for a while. The celebration was obviously partly to do with that but it was a good victory." Parker, who kissed a TV camera, was himself hailed as a hero by boss Avram Grant after playing through an horrific shoulder injury to help West Ham win. Strikes from Demba Ba and sub Carlton Cole sealed the win that lifted the club off the bottom. But Grant said afterwards: "Scott was very close to not playing. Very close. It was a bad, bad injury. He couldn't walk or move his arms. "Three hours before the game, we thought there was no way he would play. But Scott is a special guy. The spirit he showed was great. "He did it five minutes before the end of training yesterday. "But one of the things that happened with this team, despite the problems we've had, is that the spirit has been high. Scott is the best example of this. "The medical department were sure he couldn't play, but they did a good job and gave him 24 hours of treatment. "I prepared the game without him. He'd turned and slipped - our training pitch is not so good - but fell over. "He needed more than an injection, but the medical department did brilliantly with him. He's the type of player I like. He always gives 100%, is always positive. "I like some of the things from the old fashioned players. It doesn't matter how much they earn, or whether the girlfriend is good for him or not. They gave everything. I'm Scott's manager for under a year, but I like him very much."
Grant also sent his best wishes to joint-chairman David Gold, who saw the game in hospital with septicaemia and an inflammation of the bile duct. The Israeli said: "I want to wish him all the best and to get well. He's a good guy, and I'm sure he enjoyed the game today. The game was good, we played well, scored three and could have scored more. I'm happy." Hammers old boy Glen Johnson grabbed a consolation for Liverpool who suffered their first defeat in eight league and cup matches. Reds boss Kenny Dalglish also suffered a further blow with midfielder Raul Meireles and right-back Martin Kelly both limping off injured. Dalglish said later: ""Kelly's a hamstring, and Raul took a kick on his knee. Martin's more serious. "We're disappointed with the way we played. There was nothing that West Ham did that surprised us. They're fighting for survival at the wrong end of the table, but they got a lot of belief after they scored. "We never passed it as well as we can, or took the opportunities that came our way."
Hammers co-owner 'very poorly' in hospital
Published 14:35 27/02/11 By MirrorFootball
West Ham co-owner David Gold was "very poorly" in hospital on Sunday, with the 74-year-old being treated for cholangitis and septicaemia. Gold missed the Hammers' game against Liverpool and daughter Jacqueline, said: He is very poorly. "He is on powerful antibiotics and we hope to see an improvement in the next few days. "He asked me to be at the Liverpool game today on his behalf and is absolutely devastated he could not be there himself." Both conditions cause potentially serious inflammation, with cholangitis attacking the bile duct.
Vinny's Liverpool Report
Vinny 27 Feb 2011
West Ham Online
West Ham United 3 Liverpool 1
Three fantastic finishes gave West Ham a vital three points against Liverpool in a thoroughly entertaining encounter at Upton Park. With the weekends results not exactly going our way it was imperative that we picked up a win. It was a good win too with some good football being played and every player putting in a shift to be proud of. We have bemoaned the lack fight from our team over the last few months but judging on this display there is a hunger and quality within the side to get ourselves out of trouble. This was an entertaining game which stirred up many emotions throughout the 90 minutes but getting the three points was the most important thing and that we did in some style.
It was never an easy game although we looked comfortable for large periods, especially in the first half where Liverpool offered very little. We still needed to work hard and spurred on by the incredible Scott Parker assisted by some top defending by the centre halves and great finishing from the forwards we put in an all round top performance which is arguably our best League display of the season.
When Liverpool managed to get a goal back with a few minutes of added time to go there was a lot of anxious faces around the ground and I was certainly concerned that we were going to throw it all away and leave the ground in another depressive state but the huge relief when Carlton Cole scored the third goal sent every West Ham supporter crazy.
There were some great scenes at the end and it was great to see a happy Upton Park with fans leaving in a good mood for a change given the amount of sh*t we have had to put up with this season.
So to the team and there were a few changes to the side who destroyed Burnley 5-1 last Monday night in the FA Cup Fifth Round. In defence Matthew Upson returned despite apparently being ruled out by the newspapers for the rest of the season. He came into the side replacing Winston Reid. In midfield Freddie Sears was unlucky not to even be on the bench as he was replaced by Gary O'Neil. Summer signing Thomas Hitzlsperger made his league debut starting in the midfield with Parker and Noble. Up front was the most interesting selected with Carlton Cole dropped to the bench despite scoring two goals in that game against Burnley (and one previously away at West Brom) with Frederique Piquionne coming in to the team alongside Demba Ba.
Starting for Liverpool was former West Ham player Glen Johnson and on the bench was another former Hammer and 2002/03 Player of the Season Joe Cole.
Having seen us play so badly at Anfield earlier in the season the players did owe the fans a good performance over the scousers. That game at Liverpool for me was the beginning of the fans turning on Avram Grant as they went out and put in one of the most spineless West Ham displays (and we have seen a few) that I have seen.
It seemed from the opening stages of the game that Piquionne was starting on the left hand side instead of as an out and out striker but we would seem him drift for much of the first half. The opening twenty minutes of the first half were evenly contested with both sides seeing a lot of the ball but failing to do much with it. I thought we were looking decent going forward without creating any clear cut chances with only Hitzlsperger having a couple of long range efforts saved by the Liverpool keeper Reina.
Some good play from Hitzlsperger saw the ball played to Parker who in turn played the ball through to Piquionne but he seemed to have given up on trying to make it to the ball from the moment it was played and it went out harmlessly for a goal kick. But two minutes later we would take the lead and in some fashion.
Most reports and review on West Ham games seem to always point out that Scott Parker is the West Ham captain. It seems that only the West Ham fans know that the official captain is in fact Matthew Upson but what West Ham fans also know is that the player driving this struggling team on for the past couple of season is Scott Parker. A good passage of play saw Scott Parker at the heart of it all as he exchanged passes with Jacobsen and played the ball inside to Hitzlsperger who got the ball back to him and some how Parker toe poked the ball around the keeper scoring a quite remarkable goal. Until you see the goal I cannot really do it justice in words but I will say that it was a fantastic strike from a player who is for the second season running attempting to drag this club from the jaws of relegation.
With a full house inside the Boleyn the place was rocking and with such a great goal to put us in the lead it was not hard to see why. I don't know if it is just me who has noticed this but whenever we score a goal at home for the next couple of minute we turn utter dogsh*t, allowing the other team to attack us unopposed and usually come close to scoring.
This was no exception as Liverpool burst forward with Dirk Kuyt who hit a powerful shot at goal from 25 yards out which hit the side netting. From when I sit at the opposite end I have to say I thought it had gone in and was relieved to find that it had gone just wide.
We came so close to scoring a second goal when another good move saw Piquionne played in down the right and hit a powerful cross low across the six yard box with Demba Ba sliding in to get there but the ball just evaded it him. A penalty shout from Demba Ba came on the 34 minute mark when he went down under the challenge of Jamie Carragher but referee Mark Halsey waved away the appeal. From where I was I thought that it was a bit of a dive from dear Demba.
Another penalty shout came minutes later when Piquionne went down under a challenge but Halsey ended up giving handball against Piquionne much to the annoyance of the West Ham fans. But annoyance would turn to sheer joy as just before the half time whistle was to blow we scored a second goal and it was another brilliant move and finish.
The counter attack was on and the ball was played to Gary O'Neill down the right who had the time to pick out Demba Ba with his cross and the striker guided his powerful header past a stranded Reina to make it 2-0. It really was a fine goal and the quality of the finish was a real joy to watch.
So half time. 2-0 up and looking comfortable against a side who in all honestly had offered nothing to trouble us but a couple of long range efforts which were easily saved by Robert Green.
We were looking strong but in a season where every team seems to be losing leads too easily we could take nothing for granted and had to keep working.
During the half time interval there was a live interview with former Hammer 'Mad Dog' Martin Allen who seemed a little off his trolley as match day announcer Jeremy Nicholas attempted to ask him a few questions. It is a shame there is no recording of this as it was quite hilarious to watch especially when Allen asked Nicholas 'Are you Tottenham' when being asked why he was called Mad Dog. So to the second half much like our thinking at West Brom a few weeks ago, the early goal was something we must make sure we do not concede.
We seemed to change our formation early on with Piquionne and O'Neill switching sides. This did not really suit Piquionne who struggled to make much impact on the ball. Demba Ba came very close to scoring his second goal as he burst through the middle and hit a strong left foot shot which flew just past the post.
Although I had expected Liverpool to really come at us in the opening stages we still looked the more likely to get another goals and Hitzlsperger got himself into the space and hit a shot with his weaker right foot which took a deflection and went away for a corner. From the corner the ball found the head of Piquionne but the ball was cleared off the line by the Liverpool defender.
Liverpool were starting to get on the ball and the transfer window signing Suarez was seeing more of the ball at his feet. In the air Upson was dominating everything and he winning every header he challenged for. The away side nearly found a way back into the game when the ball was rolled into Suarez who turned his marker and hit a goal bound left foot shot which was brilliantly saved by Robert Green as he tipped it away for a corner.
A good counter attack involving Piquionne saw his cross cleared only as far as Gary O'Neil who hit a good shot which was deflected off Carragher and away for a corner. We were not afraid to have a shot at goal and even Lars Jacobsen was willing to have a go hitting a right foot effort just over the bar.
The points should have been wrapped up when a corner won by Wayne Bridge was swung in by Noble for Piquionne to meet the ball totally unmarked but from just a few yards out he put his header wide. For me it should have been a goal and it was a poor miss from Piquionne.
Robert Green had to make another great save when Steven Gerrard found space and hit a left foot strike from 25 yards out which Green tipped over the bar. We went through our worst period of the game at the point as we just couldn't get the ball back off Liverpool. We were dropping deeper and deeper and although I thought we needed a change I was disappointed to see Piquionne come off with Jonathan Spector coming on as this just invited Liverpool on to us even further.
On 84 minutes we conceded a goal we really should never have conceded. Considering how well we had defended throughout the game just a moments hesitation in the area set up what looked like a nervy last few minutes. As Joe Cole crossed into the area the ball looped into the air with Lars Jacobsen and James Tomkins both looking at the ball and letting it bounce. It was Jacobsen's ball but for me Tomkins as the centre half should have been on that ball before anyone. As the ball came down Suarez showed some excellent skill and crossed the ball for Glen Johnson to tap in and get Liverpool back into the game.
Robert Green was incensed as the goal was scored and was quite clearly extremely angry at the manner of how this was conceded - as were most of the West Ham fans. Avram Grant made a change at this point with Demba Ba coming off and Carlton Cole replacing him. Cole had only been on the field for two minutes when he wrapped up the points and saved us from the last few minutes of sever nail biting. The ball was played high and long by Hitzlsperger towards Carlton Cole and the striker shrugged of Skrtel, burst forward and hit a excellent left foot shot past Reina to send Upton Park into raptures. It was a great moment in a season which has had too few.
As the final whistle went and 'Bubbles' rang out at full time it was moment which will get me through my week I am sure.
When called upon he did not let us down and made a few fantastic saves especially the one from Suarez in the second half which was superb.
Apart from his part in the mix up for their goal I thought he put in a really good display. He was defensively solid and got forward whenever he could.
It seemed only a week ago that Upson would never play for the club again with injury keeping him out of the remainder of the season so it was a surprise when he was named in the starting line up. But I am certainly glad he was because he was immense at the back. He was dominating in the air and won just about every header.
Another top performance from Tomkins who has got better and better as the season has gone on. His performance I cannot rate highly enough because some of his last ditch challenges and interceptions kept us from conceding. A brave and commanding performance from Tomkins.
Saw a lot of the ball and was put under pressure especially in the second half but dealt with this well. When he gets some room he gets forward every well and is almost like an attacking right winger. Having a quality full back is starting to prove useful.
A lively performance from a player who has played well in his few games at the club so far. He works hard and he battles and when you are down the bottom you need players like him. His cross for the second goal was precise and this was a good showing from O'Neill.
Worked his b*llocks off as you would expect and although he looks knackered around the hour mark in most games he kept going. Made some good passes and interceptions and part of a strong midfield at the moment.
Making his league debut there was no doubt that Hitzlsperger makes a difference to our midfield. The quality jump from Kovac and Boa Morte is quite startling and even though he is quite clearly not 100% fit you can already see what a difference he makes to our midfield and what we have been missing.
Stunning goal, remarkable player, becoming a West Ham great (if not there already).
Maybe I am being a bit harsh but I really didn't think he did enough today. He had a few chances but I am always left thinking he has more to offer and gears to change into but he rarely wants to push himself.
His movement was really top quality and his finish for his goal was magnificent. Many of us thought it would be Robbie Keane who would be the signing to save our season yet it seems at this stage that it is Demba Ba (my lord) who has stepped up and with three goals in two league starts I just hope it continues.
Jonathan Spector (on for Piquionne 82 mins)
Hardly saw the ball and made very little impact.
Carlton Cole (on for Ba 88 mins)
Held the ball up well, looked as though he really wanted it and scored a terrific goal taking his tally to 11 goals this season and making him our top scorer. He has actually scored more goals in all competitions than he did last season.
Subs Not Used: Boffin, Boa Morte, Hines, Reid, Da Costa
Man Of The Match : Scott Parker
Reina, Kelly (Cole 43), Johnson, Skrtel, Carragher, Wilson, Leiva, Meireles (Ngog 49), Gerrard, Kuyt, Suarez
Subs: Gulacsi, Kyrgiakos. Spearing, Poulsen, Maxi
Attendance: 34, 941
A excellent performance and an important three points really is what we needed given other recent results for the teams who are around us in the league. If we keep winning games then it will not matter what the others do and the way we won this game can only give the team confidence going in to Stoke next weekend. Whilst we of course just want to see us win games it is always nice to do it well and some of our play was very encouraging and we took our goals extremely well. The team that started was as strong as we have been able to put for quite some time and as I said a while ago if Avram Grant cannot keep this team in this division then you cannot say he didn't have the players at his disposal.
Next Game - Stoke City (h)
It seems like an age since we last played a home game in the league kicking off at 3pm (December I think) and this will be the first of two games against Stoke with us playing them the week after in the FA Cup Quarter final. But first and foremost this league game is another massive game and a loss would ruin the momentum we have coming off the back of this Liverpool result. We have seen so many times this season so called turning points so forgive me for not thinking we have turned the corner just yet. But the way we applied ourselves is exactly how we need to do in every game from now until the end of the season. Stoke will battle and bully and make life difficult with their ugly but effective brand of football. We need to match them in effort and beat them with quality - which in Hitzlsperger, Parker and Ba we do posess.
The View From Avram
"First, I want you to know that our chairman is not feeling so well. I wish him all the best and hope he gets well soon. He's a good guy, and I'm sure he enjoyed the game today. "He's such a positive and nice guy. I know that he saw the game and I've a feeling that he liked it. The game was good, we played well, scored three and could have scored more. I'm happy."
"Now there's more competition for places, and it's easier for us. [Before now] we missed Hitzlsperger. He was my first signing and, with all the power and intensity of football these days, our midfield is more complete with him in the side. Injuries are part of the game, but four days before the season started...it's amazing."
"Three hours before the game, we thought there was no way Parker would play. He did it five minutes before the end of training. But we didn't want to lose him. One of the things that happened with this team, despite the problems we've had, is that the spirit has been high. "Scott is the best example of this. It was a bad, bad injury. He couldn't walk or move his arms. The medical department were sure he couldn't play, but they did a good job and gave him 24 hours of treatment. "I prepared the game without him. He needed more than an injection, but the medical department did brilliantly with him. He's the type of player I like: he always gives 100%, is always positive."
"This result shows the players what quality we have. We have that quality. We're not a team that should be down the bottom. "Circumstances cause us to be there, but look at our football. We played football as if we weren't at the bottom. The players see that, when we do the right things, we're not easy to beat. "We are coming now to the last ten games of the season. I don't remember a situation where the team who are bottom could still end up tenth. It's so tight. It's important that we win games to take us forward. It's not easy sometimes, but that's what we need to do."
West Ham 3 Liverpool 1: Dalglish's bubble is burst by Parker
By MATT BARLOW
Last updated at 2:58 AM on 28th February 2011
West Ham sang of bursting bubbles as they climbed off the foot of the Barclays Premier League but Liverpool were left to wonder if the Kenny Dalglish adrenaline shot is starting to fade. Dalglish's team were flat as they lost for the first time in eight, with a performance well short of the win at Chelsea on their last trip to London. Next up are Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday and bullish talk of a late dash for the Champions League places seems far-fetched. Birmingham's Carling Cup win also means one fewer Europa League spots next season, making it even harder to qualify for Europe. Liverpool were out-passed and out-fought by the Hammers for all but a late 20-minute spell, a frantic comeback ended by Carlton Cole.
'The players have done fantastic and there was always going to be a time when they lost,' said Dalglish. 'Unfortunately this was it. They've deserved the credit they've had but they'll stand up and say they got what they deserved here and that's nothing.' Defeat is a reality check for Liverpool, who were dominated for most of the game despite the return of captain Steven Gerrard from injury. Not for the first time, Parker was outstanding, playing with a painkilling injection in a shoulder injured in training on Saturday. 'We thought he had no chance,' said boss Avram Grant. 'I prepared without him. Then he said he wanted to play. The medical team gave him 24 hours of treatment. 'I don't know if many players would have done so. It was a bad injury. He turned and slipped in training - our training pitch is not so good. He couldn't walk or move his arms.' Disciplined as ever in defence, Parker also opened the scoring with his first goal since November. Collecting the ball from Lars Jacobsen, he traded passes with Thomas Hitzlsperger and surprised Pepe Reina by taking his shot early with the outside of his right boot, curling it inside the far post from the edge of the area. It was a goal of beauty and he dedicated it to his father, Mick. 'My Dad's not been well for a while and the celebration was partly to do with that.' If West Ham stay up, it is largely thanks to Parker and he must be a Footballer of the Year contender.
Liverpool's three-man defence, so solid at Chelsea, struggled to contain Ba. Jamie Carragher was less comfortable in the centre than he was on the right and Danny Wilson was visibly nervous on his Premier League debut. A hamstring injury to Martin Kelly made matters worse. As Dalglish sent on Joe Cole and reshuffled, his team conceded the second. Ba beat Wilson in the air to a long kick from Robert Green, glancing his header wide to Gary O'Neil. No one tracked the Senegal striker's run into the penalty box, where he threw himself at the cross to score. Joe Cole, back where his career started, looked generally unhappy. No ping in his passes and no zip in his legs, he looked sluggish. Ba and Frederic Piquionne squandered decent chances before Liverpool finally stirred. Gerrard got hold of midfield, David Ngog injected some pace and Luis Suarez, non-existent in the first half, suddenly appeared interested.
Green denied Suarez with his fingertips, turned over a fierce volley from Gerrard and was finally beaten by Johnson in the 85th minute. Jacobsen dithered over a high ball, allowing Ngog to sweep in, and Suarez set-up the England full back against one of his former clubs. Dalglish detected a stolen point but Carlton Cole had the final word, powering past Martin Skrtel and scoring at Reina's near post. West Ham remain in the drop zone but the bottom half is congested - six points cover 11 teams from Everton in 10th down to Wigan.
This win, encouraging performances from recruits Ba and O'Neil plus Hitzlsperger provide hope for Grant with 10 games to go, and a tonic for co-chairman David Gold, who is ill in hospital. Gold, 74, missed his first game at Upton Park since arriving at the club last year. 'Our chairman is not doing so good, so I wish him all the best and get well soon,' said Grant. 'I know he saw the game on TV and I've a feeling he would have liked that. 'We want to win a few games in a row. We should not be at the bottom. Circumstances have caused us to be there but look at our football. We played football as if we weren't at the bottom. When we do the right things, we're not easy to beat.'
Parker is West Ham's talisman as slack Liverpool are punished
West Ham United 3 Liverpool 1
By Conrad Leach at Upton Park
Monday, 28 February 2011
There was a time when the announcement of stoppage time would put fear in West Ham's hearts when they played Liverpool. That all stems from when the east London club were about to claim the 2006 FA Cup, before Steven Gerrard struck from 30 yards at Wembley. Yesterday afternoon, however, it was the Hammers' turn. When stoppage time was shown, Carlton Cole was on the ball. His persistence took him past Martin Skrtel and his slash at the ball beat Pepe Reina at his near post to confirm a victory that should have been assured long before.
It pushed Avram Grant's side off the bottom of the Premier League and they are in the relegation zone only because their goal difference is one goal worse than Wolves. It was also their second win in a week, after they thrashed Burnley in the Cup.
Where Liverpool have Gerrard, West Ham have Scott Parker, whose feats of derring-do inspired fulsome praise from his last manager, Gianfranco Zola, and now from Grant. Yet Parker, who scored the opening goal, shouldn't even have been on the pitch.
Grant said: "Scott came very close to not playing. He is a special guy, he showed great spirit. Today until three hours before the game we didn't think he could play. He hurt himself five minutes before the end of training. It was a bad, bad injury, he couldn't walk or move his arm.
"He had 24 hours' treatment and I had prepared the team without him. He needed an injection and more. He is the person who decided to play. Scott is the type of player I like."
Whether this is the start of the Hammers' late escape from the threat of relegation is too early to tell, but the arrival of Thomas Hitzlsperger, whose "massive experience" was acknowledged by Parker, and the signing of Demba Ba have added depth and ability to their first team. Hitzlsperger played a vital role in the first goal while Ba's second, on the stroke of half-time, appeared to discourage Liverpool until their inevitable late surge.
The win was entirely merited, something Kenny Dalglish acknowledged: "We got what we deserved, nothing," he said. It also brought to an end Liverpool's run of eight games without defeat, an impressive-sounding sequence that has possibly papered over some cracks. They only squeezed past Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday.
That competition can be more a curse than a blessing when you have to play three days later and the visitors were slack in their passing and speed to the ball. When Hitzlsperger dispossessed Gerrard, back for his first game in three weeks, it showed how the game was going. By then, Parker had put the Hammers ahead.
Dribbling in from the wing, Parker found Hitzlsperger. As the Liverpool defence pondered and wondered if the German would use his potent left foot, the former Lazio player instead laid the ball off. Parker got as much as he could on his shot, which wasn't much, with the outside of his right foot. It was enough, however, to curl beyond Reina's dive and inside the far post for his fifth league goal of the season.
There was no disguising West Ham's superiority, as they tore into tackles on Raul Meireles and Luis Suarez, and it was confirmed just before the break. Liverpool had already lost Martin Kelly to a hamstring injury but it was from the opposite flank that the second goal came. Ba headed on Robert Green's clearance to Gary O'Neil and the former Middlesbrough midfielder crossed for the Senegal forward, who was unmarked, to head past Reina.
Ba signed last month from Hoffenheim in Germany and Hitzlsperger recovered from injury only last week. Grant is reaping the benefits. He said: "Now it seems when there's more competition it's easier for us. Hitzlsperger is intelligent and with him our midfield is more complete. When we are doing the right thing we are not an easy team to beat."
Dalglish was given some late hope when Glen Johnson tapped in from two yards, but the Liverpool manager said: "We were disappointed with the way we played. There was nothing West Ham did that surprised us because they are fighting for survival. But we never played as well as we are capable of. When we scored I thought we might steal a point. We'll try and correct the mistakes we made." Next Sunday will demonstrate whether he has done that. Their opposition at Anfield? Manchester United.
* Avram Grant dedicated this win to David Gold last night. The West Ham chairman and co-owner is in hospital and Grant said: "Our chairman David Gold is not feeling so well. I want to wish him all the best, he's a good guy and I'm sure he enjoyed the game. I know he watched it."
Booked: Liverpool Skrtel.
Man of the match Parker
Referee M Halsey (Herts)
WEST HAM 3 LIVERPOOL 1: PEERLESS PARKER'S A PAIN IN SIDE FOR DALGLISH
Monday February 28,2011
By Mick Dennis
SCOTT Parker's one-man crusade to keep West Ham in the Premier League continued yesterday when he confounded medical opinion. Before helping lift his club off the bottom of the league table, he had to haul himself off the treatment table. Parker, 30 , always plays with the pugnacious strut of someone who believes in the cause for which he is fighting, but 24 hours before yesterday's Upton Park showdown with Liverpool, he could not walk at all. Yet he recovered sufficiently to score the first goal, which he dedicated to his father who had recently undergone major surgery but was still at the match. Manager Avram Grant said: "He hurt his shoulder five minutes before the end of training and it was a bad injury. He couldn't walk. He couldn't move his arm. The medical people said he could not play today. "But he has great spirit and determination and he continued to have treatment and today, three hours before the game, he decided he could play."
West Ham have other serious medical fears. Joint-owner David Gold is in hospital with blood poisoning after being admitted with a gall-bladder condition.
Grant said: "He knows the result and I hope it helped him." Parker's bravura performance was bad news for Kenny Dalglish. He will be 60 on Friday and there have been suggestions that the club's American owners wanted to give him the gift of a two-year contract and provide a rousing gesture ahead of next Sunday's Anfield fixture against Manchester United.
But Dalglish scoffed at the very notion of contract talks and was given a pointed reminder that the job is no sinecure. After losing the first two games of his caretaker reign, Liverpool had constructed an eight-game unbeaten sequence, but they looked weary yesterday after their European exertions on Thursday. Dalglish said: "It wasn't just losing that was disappointing; it was the way we played as well. Once they had scored, West Ham had something to hold on to." That goal, scored after 21 minutes, was toe-poked in by Parker after swapping passes with Thomas Hitzlsperger. After signing in the summer, the German international was injured for eight months. But he announced his delayed arrival with a thunderous drive to score against Burnley in the FA Cup and Grant said: "He was my first signing and we are a better team with him in the midfield."
Another who is endearing himself to West Ham fans is French-born Senegalese international Demba Ba. He scored twice in a remarkable comeback at West Brom in West Ham's last Premier League fixture, when the club were inspired by Parker's half-time team-talk. Ba's contribution yesterday was a goal scored with a well-executed header, a minute before half-time. For most of the second half, Liverpool offered only the familiar enthusiasm of Steven Gerrard and West Ham had the measure of £23 million Uruguayan Luis Suarez. He had precious little help and looked increasingly forlorn. But to his credit, Suarez kept soldiering on and his enterprise and ability bore fruit seven minutes from time when he squirted a low ball across the six-yard box for Glen Johnson to tap in. Liverpool's fans urged their team on. But instead of plundering an equaliser, they were cut apart by a counter-attack in added time. Jonathan Spector's pass released substitute Carlton Cole, whose muscular shot should not have beaten Pepe Reina.
West Ham (4-1-3-2): Green 8; Jacobsen 7, Tomkins 9, Upson 8, Bridge 7; Parker 9; O'Neil 8, Noble 8, Hitzlsperger 8; Piquionne 6 (Spector 82, 6), Ba 7 (Cole 88, 7). Goals: Parker 21, Ba 44, Cole 90.
Liverpool (3-1-4-2): Reina 6; Skrtel 7, Carragher 8, Wilson 7; Lucas 6; Kelly 7 (Cole 43, 7), Gerrard 8, Meireles 7 (Ngog 49, 7), Johnson 7; Kuyt 6, Suarez 7. Booked: Skrtel. Goal: Johnson 83.
Referee: M Halsey (Cheshire)