Monday, April 7

Daily WHUFC News - 7th April 2014

Gerrard spot kick brace beats Hammers
West Ham United were edged out by Steven Gerrard's penalty double on Sunday

West Ham United 1-2 Liverpool
Barclays Premier League

Steven Gerrard scored a brace of penalties as Liverpool maintained their
title charge with a controversial 2-1 victory over the Hammers at the Boleyn
Ground on Sunday. The Liverpool skipper's winner came 20 minutes from time
after Adrian was adjudged to have fouled Jon Flanagan in the box, despite
getting a hand to the ball as the left back looked to go around him. The
favourable calls did not all go Liverpool's way though, as West Ham's
equaliser through Guy Demel drew a furious reaction from the visitors, who
were sure Andy Carroll had fouled Simon Mignolet in the build up. What was
indisputable was that West Ham had given Brendan Rodgers' side a terrific
game and they pushed them all the way to threaten their now nine-game
winning run. Liverpool came into the game as the division's top goalscorers
and it did not take them long to go close in this contest, as Luis Suarez
sent a dipping 30-yard free kick a foot over Adrian's crossbar. The visiting
forwards did not have it all their own way in the opening stages, however,
as the Hammers' graft all over the pitch denied Liverpool the space to truly
hurt them. That said, Suarez was inches away from scoring a 20th minute
opener with a wonderfully improvised clipped effort, which floated ove
Adrian and bounced to safety off the Hammers' crossbar. Seven minutes later
Phillippe Coutinho shrugged off Matt Taylor's challenge at the edge of the
box and fed Suarez, whose shot was blocked en route to goal by James
Tomkins' head. The next time the pair came face to face however, a minute
before the break, Liverpool took the lead. Referee Anthony Taylor made the
first of two big calls in a minute, penalising Tomkins for handball after
the Reds striker tried to play it past him in the box. Gerrard buried the
penalty and it looked as though Liverpool would take a lead to the interval.
The Hammers had other ideas and levelled in stoppage time, with referee
Taylor again at the centre of controversy. Carroll challenged Migonlet in
the air from Mark Noble's corner and as the ball fell from the Belgian's
grasp, Demel was there to poke in. Taylor saw nothing wrong with Carroll's
challenge, and after a lengthy chat with assistant referee Simon Burt,
decided that his flagging for a foul was unneccesary. The visitors were
enraged and they looked to take it out on the Hammers at the start of the
second period as they settled into a pattern of probing with possession
around the Hammers box. It was West Ham who fashioned the first clear chance
after the break though, as Mo Diame stood up an inviting cross to the far
post on 61 minutes with Carroll attacked with real power, but saw his header
crash back off the crossbar. At the other end Daniel Sturridge fired over
the top after bursting into space just outside the box, and it was not long
until the officials found themselves at the centre of attention once more as
Taylor's second penalty award gave Gerrard the chance to restore his side's
lead. Left-back Flanagan won the spot kick after charging forward and
drawing an attempted diving block from Adrian. The Hammers keeper clearly
got a touch on the ball as Flanagan looked to go past him, but the contact
between the pair was deemed to be a foul. England skipper Gerrard again
stepped forward confidently to make the most of the opportunity, beating
Adrian's dive with a well-struck effort into the left hand corner of the
net. Suarez twice went close in the final ten minutes, poking an impudent
chip onto the top of the bar and then drawing an excellent stop from Adrian
after Raheem Sterling played him through. It was Gerrard's brace of
penalties which proved decisive however, as Liverpool withstood a stern
examination from the Hammers to reclaim top spot.

West Ham United: Adrian; Demel, Tomkins, Reid, Armero; Nolan (Nocerino 67),
Noble, Taylor (Jarvis 78); Diame (C.Cole 84), Carroll, Downing
Subs: Jaaskelainen, J.Cole, Potts, Johnson,
Goal: Demel 45+2
Booked: Tomkins, Adrian, Nocerino, Armero

Liverpool: Mignolet; Johnson, Skrtel, Sakho, Flanagan; Coutinho (Lucas 46),
Gerrard, Henderson; Sterling, Sturridge (Toure 85), Suarez
Subs: Jones, Aspas, Allen, Cissokho, Moses
Goals: Gerrard pen 44, Gerrard pen 70

Referee: Anthony Taylor
Attendance: 34,977

Demel defiant in defeat
Guy Demel paid tribute to an excellent West Ham display against Liverpool on

Goalscorer Guy Demel believes West Ham United had plenty to be proud of,
despite losing out to the odd goal in three against Liverpool in the
Barclays Premier League on Sunday. Demel's first goal since August 2009 in
first-half stoppage time cancelled out the first of Steven Gerrard's two
penalties, but there would be no reply to his second spot-kick with 71
minutes on the clock. Though the Hammers' valiant display against the
leaders failed to produce any points, Demel was still buoyed by a
performance that pushed Brendan Rodgers' men right to the wire. "I think we
played really well as a team and we were a bit unlucky at the end," he told
West Ham TV. "I think it's the type of performance that we have to keep on
[producing]. At the beginning of the season we played good football and kept
losing games and Sunday was kind of the same, because I think we played
really well. "I've never seen Liverpool being such in a tough position, they
lost so many balls because we put pressure on them and we had chances as
well. But again, that's football, on Sunday we were pretty unlucky with the
referee's decisions, but we have to move on. "It would have been really nice
for us to get a point against Liverpool, after the last two wins, to keep
the positive atmosphere going. I mean we're disappointed but we played
against probably the champions, or they will be near, so when you have that
type of performance you just have to be proud and make sure you will be able
to keep doing the same for the next game."

As for the Ivorian's goalscoring pedigree, the 32-year-old was thrilled to
have finally opened his West Ham account, not least to get his colleagues
off his back! And having not hit the back of the net for almost five years,
he was certainly thankful for the tap-in. He continued: "It was kind of a
controversial goal and I wasn't sure if the referee would give us the goal
or not. But I'm pretty happy because, to be honest, the guys were on my case
all the time, 'you never score, you never score,' so now it's done. One or
two more would be great, but my first job is to defend and try to do my best
for the team. "I was hoping it would be a tap in and it was! I said I need
a really easy goal and I'm really happy with that."

His goal aside, Demel believes there is many a positive to be taken from
Sunday and hopes the Hammers can continue in a similar vein against his once
employers Arsenal next Tuesday. The Ivorian insists Sunday's fluent display
owes much to the Hammers' comfortable mid-table position and thinks
supporters have much to look forward to before the season is out. "We have
momentum," he added. "The last two games were really important for us, so
now I think, mentally, we're still focused, but we're playing with less
pressure and you can see, when there's less pressure on our shoulders, how
we keep the ball and play. "I still have some friends playing for Arsenal
and it's going to be a tough game again. Like I said, we're going to try to
get a point, because our objective is to finish tenth, it was our objective
before the season. For that we have to get a point, even against the big
teams. "It won't be easy to play Arsenal now. But it's the Premier League,
I've never played an easy game, it's going to be tough, of course, we're
playing against the big boys, but right now we find ourselves in a good
spot, on a good path and we're going to try to do our best. Keep working
hard and to get points somewhere."

Big Sam rues big decisions
Sam Allardyce gave his opinion on a 2-1 defeat by Liverpool that featured a
host of big talking points

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce was left to wonder what might have
been after a controversial penalty saw his side beaten 2-1 by Barclays
Premier League title chasers Liverpool. The Hammers were beaten by two
penalties at the Boleyn Ground on Sunday, one of them controversial and the
other less so, while the hosts' own strike also sparked a huge amount of
debate. Liverpool had hit the crossbar through Luis Suarez before the same
player forced James Tomkins to handle the ball inside his penalty area a
minute before half-time. Steven Gerrard converted from the spot, but within
two minutes West Ham were level when Guy Demel poked home following a Mark
Noble corner. However, it was Andy Carroll's challenge on Simon Mignolet
before the ball dropped to Demel which had the assistant initially raising
his flag before referee Anthony Taylor finally awarded the goal despite
strong protests.

Into the second half and Carroll thumped a header against the crossbar
before yet another moment of controversy with 21 minutes to go. Jon Flanagan
got in behind the back four, but Adrian clearly made contact with the ball
before the left-back went to ground, but Mr Taylor blew his whistle and
pointed to the spot. Again, Gerrard beat the Spanish goalkeeper from 12
yards. There was still time for Suarez to hit the bar for a second time as
Liverpool saw out a win that lifted them back to the top of the table. For
Big Sam, the manner of the defeat left a sour taste in the mouth, and led to
the boss calling for match officials to become full-time professionals and
to work with the same colleagues in every match.

"The talking points were the wrong talking points, if I'm honest," said the
manager. "I can be disappointed if we lose because the opposition have
outplayed you, but I can't today. It was one of those game when we needed to
be at our best, and I thought we were. "It's a game where we really
challenged Liverpool, but across the board the controlling factors and
managers of the game are the officials and I don't think they managed this
game very well at all. It's left me feeling a deep regret and sadness
because we don't want games decided by decisions that were incorrect. "I
know it looked like Andy has fouled the keeper, but bizarrely the referee
gave the goal and the assistant flagged up from 35 yards away and you never
see that, so why is that? Then, with five minutes to go, the assistant was
five yards away from Matt Jarvis being fouled and he didn't give but the
referee did. "Communication between the officials is something we have
talked about at League Managers' Association level, saying that they need to
be a threesome and be together all season so the communication and
understanding gets better. It's clear it's a big problem for us, because it
doesn't happen, and they are still part-time and do their job and go home.
"At this level, it's all right having goal-line technology which has made
some fantastic decisions, but some of the decisions made by the officials
are not."

When asked what he made of the controversial decisions, Big Sam said both
West Ham's goal and Liverpool's second penalty could easily not have been
awarded. "I think the referee found it very difficult and the two decisions
you could say were really controversial were our goal and the second
penalty. For our goal, Andy might have got a hand on Mignolet and might have
put him off. "I've not problem with the first penalty, which is a penalty,
but the second one Adrian plays the ball and Flanagan takes a dive over his
hand to try to get the penalty and he succeeded. "We still might not have
got anything out of the game because they might have scored in open play,
and that's fine by me. I'd sooner lose a game that way. In the end, with all
Liverpool's talent they had to rely on two penalties to beat us."

While the decisions will dominate the headlines on Monday morning, the
manager also pointed to Carroll's 61st-minute header, which cannoned back
off the crossbar instead of flying into the roof of the net to put West Ham
in front, as a big turning point in a see-saw match. "If you look back now,
Andy's header hitting the bar was a key moment because I would be stood here
with a result if it had gone in. It might not have been a win, but I
certainly don't think we would have lost from that point because we were
defending so well. If we'd scored a second, Liverpool would have taken more
chances and we'd have had more space to exploit them and had something to
hang onto if we got 2-1 up. "That was a bit unlucky because it was a super
header and instead of going in, it hit the bar and came out. All in all,
everybody tried their very best and gave all they had got, but for one
reason or another it was a disappointing end to a game we were all looking
forward to and played well in."

Noble wins Player of the Month vote
Mark Noble is the West Ham United Player of the Month for March

Mark Noble has taken the fan vote to be named the Club's Player of
the Month for March. The midfielder enjoyed a fine March, scoring a penalty
in the 2-1 victory over Hull City, as well as setting up two Andy Carroll
goals with set piece deliveries. His contribution did not go unnoticed by
the Hammers fans, with Noble polling 35% of the vote. The No16 beat Andy
Carroll (23%) into second, while James Tomkins (21%) was third.

2013/14 Player of the Month winners
August James Collins
September Ravel Morrison
October Ravel Morrison
November Stewart Downing
December Carlton Cole
January Adrian
February Adrian
March Mark Noble

Referees need academies says West Ham boss Sam Allardyce

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce wants an academy for young referees after two
contentious decisions in Liverpool's 2-1 win at Upton Park on Sunday.
Hammers defender Guy Demel scored after Andy Carroll appeared to foul
Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. But Liverpool won the game with a
penalty despite West Ham keeper Adrian getting a touch on the ball. "Get
young referees off the parks and into academies. We don't have enough
quality referees," Allardyce said.

Tough season for Taylor
Anthony Taylor
Referee Anthony Taylor gave Aston Villa a contentious penalty at Arsenal on
the opening day
He allowed a Samuel Eto'o goal to stand against Cardiff in October - a
decision called 'a huge mistake' by then Cardiff boss Malky Mackay
He gave Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling a questionable penalty at Stoke in

"They try their best but something has to be done about it. "We've been
saying that something needs to be done for six or seven years. Hopefully one
day they will take notice of us. "I'm talking about the recruitment and
development of referees, and their environment. "Get them off the parks and
into academies of young referees. Our next level should be professional
assistant referees. It would improve communication." Both managers were left
talking about decisions by referee Anthony Taylor as Liverpool returned to
the top of the Premier League. Steven Gerrard put Brendan Rodgers' side
ahead from the penalty spot after James Tomkins handled, but the hosts were
level before the break when Demel stabbed in. Linesman Stuart Burt had
flagged for a foul by Carroll as he challenged Mignolet, but after
consulting his assistant, Taylor awarded the goal. And it was the Hammers'
turn to feel aggrieved when Gerrard converted a second penalty, given by
Taylor after Jon Flanagan went down under Adrian's challenge.

Allardyce said: "Unfortunately we are talking about the officials and not
the game. "The referee made big mistakes in the game. The second penalty was
not a penalty, Adrian plays the ball. "It looked like Andy Carroll fouled
the goalkeeper for our goal but we got it. We don't want that, nobody wants
that. "My real concern is that we are talking about referees every week.
It's always controversy, frustration, aggravation for the players. The
officiating was not up to the level we play at."

Liverpool manager Rodgers, unsurprisingly, felt that the award of the
match-winning penalty was the correct decision as his side moved two points
clear of Chelsea. He said: "When you play against West Ham the referees get
called to make more decisions because of the nature of their style. The
officials are asked a lot of questions. "It was clearly not a goal for West
Ham and I thought the referee was chasing the game after that. "Andy Carroll
is the best in the air in Europe but it was a foul by him for the goal. The
linesman gave a foul so it was disappointing to get a goal given. "The
second penalty was a penalty. Jon Flanagan touches it past the keeper, the
keeper gets a slight touch on it but he then brings down Jon."

West Ham Utd 1-2 Anthony Taylor
Filed: Sunday, 6th April 2014
By: Staff Writer

Referee Anthony Taylor gave Liverpool a huge boost in their battle to win
the Premier League title with a brace of penalties at the Boleyn Ground this

Although the name might not be immediately familiar, Taylor - one of the
latest in a long list of inept, incompetent, bumbling fools to be charged
with officiating Premier League matches - is already well known to West Ham
fans for being the cretinous halfwit who dismissed both Carlton Cole and
Darren Gibson for high tackles during the West Ham v Everton clash in
December 2012 -decisions that were subsequently reversed by an embarrassed
FA upon appeal.

Fortunately the 35-year-old Altrincham supporter has only been in charge of
two matches involving West Ham since - and one hopes it'll be some
considerable time before he does so again, following a dreadful display that
would have made the likes of Mike Dean and Keith Hackett cringe.

Having awarded the visitors a spot kick after serial cheat Luis Suarez won a
penalty when his point blank shot hit James Tomkins' outstretched hand -
from which Steven Gerrard scored to give Liverpool a 44th-minute lead -
Taylor allowed a Guy Demel effort to stand 90 seconds later despite Andy
Carroll having clearly fouled Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

Even his assistant's intervention failed to persuade Taylor that an
infringement had taken place, with the referee being caught on camera
stating that he believed the Belgian stopper had simply dropped the ball -
all of which happened whilst the huge TV screens, one of which was literally
a matter of yards away from the consulting duo played back the incident.

No doubt having reviewed the decision at half time, the incident clearly
played on the referee's mind and therefore it was no surprise that he
awarded the visitors a second spot kick at the first available opportunity
when West Ham 'keeper Adrian was adjudged - incorrectly - to have brought
down Liverpool defender Jon Flanagan with just 19 minutes of normal time

Gerrard, who spent the entire game occupying the vast amount of space in
front of his back four delivering 60-yard passes to the feet of team mates
(damn their direct, long ball tactics) stepped up once again to score what
proved to be the game's winning goal.

21-year-old Flanagan is of course another with history where West Ham are
concerned, for it was the Liverpool-born full-back's horrific tackle on
Stewart Downing that left the England winger hospitalised during the
corresponding fixture at Anfield last December.

Unsurprisingly, that awful challenge went unpunished by referee Michael
Oliver - another of the new generation of buffoons the Premier League have
decided meets the criteria required to officiate top flight football matches
- who dismissed Hammers captain Kevin Nolan during the same match.

Liverpool will no doubt point to the fact that they enjoyed the greater
number of shots at goal this afternoon - including two efforts that struck
the woodwork - in order to support the notion that they were the more
deserving of the teams to emerge from the game with three points.

But as that may be, once again it was the man in the middle who was to
ultimately decide the outcome of the game - for without his intervention
Liverpool, who failed to score from open play, may well have gone home

Whilst they enjoyed a fruitful opening 20 minutes, in which the title
challengers spent much of the game on the backfoot, West Ham failed to make
it count when it mattered and just one shot on target during the entire game
- plus an Andy Carroll header that crashed off the crossbar - was scant
reward for an afternoon's work.

However Liverpool were also limited to the odd half-chance prior to taking
the lead, although Suarez - such a naturally gifted footballer that you're
left feeling almost cheated when he dives, bites and racially abuses
opponents - was inches away from opening the scoring with 19 minutes on the
clock when he curled a shot onto Adrian's far post.

The defeat leaves West Ham in 11th place in the Premier League, three points
adrift of tenth-placed Stoke. Whilst relegation is almost certainly no
longer a concern, Sam Allardyce will be hoping his team can grab one more
win, and soon, in order to assuage any lingering fears than might remain.

West Ham Utd 1-2 Liverpool: Match Facts
West Ham Utd: Adrian; Demel, Tomkins, Reid, Armero; Nolan (Nocerino 67),
Noble, M Taylor (Jarvis 78); Diame (C Cole 84), Carroll, Downing
Subs not Used: Jaaskelainen, Potts, Johnson, J Cole.
Goals: Demel (45+2).
Booked: Tomkins (43), Adrian (70), Nocerino (80), Armero (86).

Liverpool: Mignolet; Johnson, Skrtel, Sakho, Flanagan; Coutinho (Lucas 46),
Gerrard, Henderson; Sterling, Sturridge (Toure 85), Suarez, A Taylor.
Subs not Used: Jones, Aspas, Allen, Cissokho, Moses.
Goals: Gerrard (44, 70 pens).

'Referee': Anthony Taylor.
Attendance: 34,977.

Rodgers on... West Ham United
Filed: Sunday, 6th April 2014
By: Staff Writer No.2

Brendan Rodgers keeps a straight face as he claims his side's winner came
from a genuine penalty...

Sam has already been on the telly complaining that we're all going to be
talking about the officials and their shortcomings. Do you concur with that?

I don't want to get fined! It was a difficult game. When you play against
West Ham the referee's going to be called into the game to make decisions
more It's physical and the refs are asked a lot of questions. I think that
after the first goal he gave for West Ham he was chasing the game a bit. It
was clearly not a goal and we should have been 1-0 up at half-time.

It's never easy for referees - we got a couple of decisions that I thought
were penalties. The first one was clear. The second one if you analyse it
we've got the reward for our enterprise and commitment; Flanagan makes a
great run in and Lucas plays a wonderful pass. If you analyse it in slow
motion you see Jon gets a touch to go past the 'keeper, the 'keeper gets a
nudge on the ball but catches Jon's foot afterwards so he goes over. He
tries to play advantage to see if Sturridge scores but he doesn't so he
gives the penalty.

If you're the manager who get it you're pleased and if you don't get it,
it's probably a wee bit contentious. The other ones that were in the box I
didn't think were penalties – the one that flicked up and hit the young
full-back unintentionally hit his arm. But I thought we were clearly the
dominant team.

Steve Gerrard has ten penalties in the Premier League this season?

He'll be alright for the World Cup then!

He can't take all five! It's incredible he gets two in a game at Old
Trafford as well and missed another?

It's no accident – he studies goalkeepers and their dives. He has great
variety he can put them high and low. It's good for me as a manager to have
someone as cool and as calm as him. In pressure situations he's outstanding.
The [50-yard long ball] pass for the first goal shows his coolness.

I had to change things at half-time to get the front two into the game
because we weren't dominating as much as I would like. We went to a diamond
in the second half and put the two strikers closer together to stretch them
a wee bit more and I thought we were more dominant in the second half.
Steven was pivotal in that for us.

I thought the two centre-halves were outstanding today. Andy Carroll's the
best in Europe at that role when the ball gets played up like that. He sets
people up with that direct style of football he can be unplayable. I thought
Skrtel was brilliant today – when to challenge, when to intercept, when to
stay off. Sakho too has been awaiting his chance. We've got players who are
committed to the squad. Lucas came on as well. We had to stand up and be

Next week you've got lots of commemorations for Hillsborough – is it fitting
that you'll go into that top of the league? Is that indicative of how far
the club's come in recent years?

I think it's brilliant that people are talking about the football we're
playing. I'm happy with the way the team plays. I can't say too much about
Hillsborough while the inquest is under way but there's 96 people in the sky
who will always be supporting this football team. We want to do it for the
great support and family of Liverpool this year. They will always be in our
thoughts, the 96 in the sky and their families.

Brendan how will your young team approach the [Man City] game? For some of
them it will be a career-defining game. Will they be confident?

Absolutely. I thought it interesting to hear Vincent Kompany say we're the
best team that they've played. We should have beaten them at the Etihad this
season. We should have won there last season but we drew two each. We should
have beaten them at home – we made a mistake at 2-1 up.

The team that we've put together, the mentality is to be fearless. No matter
who we play – we have to respect them because they have world-class players
but it's about ourselves and the confidence we have to play our youngsters.
They'll embrace it, enjoy it – there's no pressure on them. I will take any
pressure from them. The important thing is to focus on the ball and the team
and not yourself. You'll go a long way with that.

You said before that the pressure is on them?

They've spent money and they're a wonderful football club ho have invested
in good players. But they've invested to win the League and the Champions
League. They have to come to us. We know it's a wonderful place to play.
We're just going to enjoy it. The concentration for me is on that next
training session. We'll recover.

Does it please you that for two weeks in a row you've been under pressure
and had to win to go top?

Yeah if you saw how we passed the ball – the pitch wasn't watered but if
you're the home team you have that choice, so it was ok. But for us it's
about concentrating about our football. Well keep our concentration and
focus. It didn't matter that Man City and Chelsea won yesterday. It can't
affect us. We have to control ourselves and our own emotions and get the job
done. That was a tough game today but we got the job done.

Did you see different side to your team today against a physical West Ham

Yeah I believe so. When I first came here people were talking about the
ideas and football without realising a big part of our game is defending and
pressing the ball. At times you have got to defend. I'm happy to do that.
Tottenham was a big game last week so they have to play. At West Ham, Sam's
done a tremendous job keeping them in the Premier League and it's a
difficult place to come. We had to control the physical battle. I thought
that we did that. As a team we score all types of goals.

How are you handling all the expectation?

From the directors all the way through to social media everyone's got an
opinion. As a manager you have to be clear in your strategy. We've won nine
in a row which is incredible, especially with so many young players.

I never get too carried away when we win or when we lose. All I ask of my
players is that they do the best that they can. It's a wonderful league
because it's so tight. I just concentrate on Liverpool and hopefully we can
continue with this great run.

Are Manchester City the best team you've played?

There's a number of great teams. Manchester City have some wonderful players
– they were champions the other year. They were strong and have every
component to do well. Chelsea, Jose with all his experience they are always
going to be there. We're enjoying it – we had no nerves and we looked to
pass under pressure so we'll hopefully continue getting good results. The
teams that are up there are fantastic teams. We're fighting them and
hopefully we'll continue to win games.

Thank you.

Liverpool back on top after controversial 2-1 win at West Ham
Last Updated: 06/04/14 10:58pm

Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League in controversial
circumstances after a dramatic 2-1 victory over West Ham at Upton Park.
Referee Anthony Taylor took centre stage with key decisions to award
Liverpool a second-half penalty after earlier allowing West Ham's first-half
equaliser to stand.

Best of the match:

Man of the match: Steven Gerrard. Two penalties from the Liverpool captain
as the Anfield club returned to the top of the table.
Goal of the match: Two penalties and a toe-poke from two yards make for slim
pickings. Gerrard's second spot-kick was well put away under huge pressure.
Controversy of the match: Referee Anthony Taylor did not have his best
afternoon, allowing West Ham's equaliser despite Andy Carroll's clash with
Simon Mignolet and then awarding Liverpool a soft second penalty.
Attempt of the match: Luis Suarez hit the bar twice, with his effort in the
second half - a curling effort with the outside of his foot - particularly
Save of the match: Adrian plunged to his right to keep out a well-struck
Raheem Sterling shot from outside the box in the closing stages.
Talking points: Can Liverpool go on to win the league? Do we need more
technology in football for the controversial decisions?

The winning goal came via the boot of captain Steven Gerrard from the spot
in the 71st minute after Adrian was penalised for bringing down Jon
Flanagan, with replays showing the West Ham goalkeeper touched the ball
before the pair collided. It was Gerrard's second penalty of the game, the
veteran midfielder having broken the deadlock in a closely-fought first-half
after James Tomkins handled as Luis Suarez turned him in the box. But West
Ham were back on level terms as Guy Demel poked home in first-half added
time when Simon Mignolet failed to gather Mark Noble's corner, under huge
pressure from Andy Carroll.

Referee Taylor gave the goal, only to see his assistant was flagging.
Replays of the incident, which were also inadvertently shown on the
big-screen in the ground and seen by the players, showed Carroll's flailing
hand clearly connect with Mignolet's head, but after a conversation between
the officials, the goal was allowed to stand.

Now Liverpool can prepare for an Anfield clash with trophy rivals Manchester
City next Sunday knowing another win - that would be their tenth in
succession - will bring a first league title for 24 years even closer.

Luis Suarez sent out a warning shot inside the opening three minutes as he
bent a 30-yard free-kick just over the top of Adrian's crossbar.

He went closer still with his next effort as he clipped a shot over the West
Ham keeper, only to see the ball come back into play off the goalframe.

All of Liverpool's threat was coming courtesy of 29-goal Suarez, who looked
to whip the ball past Adrian from another opening, with James Tomkins
bravely heading the shot behind.

With just a minute remaining of the first half Suarez was released by a
sumptuous Gerrard pass and, as the Uruguay international looked to cut
inside, the ball hit the arm of Tomkins, with referee Taylor pointing to the

Gerrard stepped up confidently to send Adrian the wrong way and put the
visitors ahead. But West Ham did not let their heads drop and levelled in
controversial circumstances on the stroke of half-time. Noble's corner was
aimed towards Carroll, whose hand caught Mignolet in the face as the
goalkeeper looked to take possession, with Demel on hand to turn the ball
in. Taylor gave the goal after a long consultation with assistant referee
Stuart Burt and was in deep discussion with Brendan Rodgers as the teams
disappeared down the tunnel at half-time. The Hammers started the second
half under pressure but managed to soak up anything Liverpool could throw at
them before the hour-mark, before creating the best chance to take the lead.
Demel and Diame combined down the right before the latter swung in a cross
attacked from deep by Carroll, whose header cracked off the crossbar with
Mignolet well beaten.

Daniel Sturridge burst past Matt Taylor and Winston Reid as the half went on
but once again his direction was slightly askew and he failed to test
But Liverpool were rewarded a second penalty as Adrian was adjudged to have
brought down Flanagan, despite getting a hand to the ball before bundling
into the full-back. Gerrard again made no mistake from 12 yards, scoring a
pair of penalties for the second time this season. Sturridge finally managed
to find the target with 10 minutes remaining as he fired in a dipping volley
which was too close to Adrian to cause the Spaniard any real trouble. Suarez
once again hit the crossbar, this time with a swerving lob, and was denied
by the feet of Adrian late on, with Sterling also forcing a smart save in
injury time.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce slams officials after Liverpool loss
By Rob Parrish - Follow me on Twitter @skysportsrobp | Last Updated:
07/04/14 6:37am

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce launched a scathing attack on the standard of
refereeing in the Premier League after the controversial 2-1 home defeat by
Liverpool. Match official Anthony Taylor found himself firmly in the
spotlight with two contentious decisions in a dramatic clash at Upton Park.
Taylor over-ruled his assistant in first-half added time to allow Guy
Demel's equaliser to stand even though Simon Mignolet had spilled the ball
after being caught by Andy Carroll's flailing arm. And the man in the middle
then awarded Liverpool their second penalty of the game, with captain Steven
Gerrard converting both, after Jon Flanagan went down under Adrian's
challenge, although the West Ham keeper appeared to get a touch on the ball.
"Having had professional referees for such a long time, we clearly don't
have enough and we don't have enough quality."

Allardyce feels changes need to be made to prevent the kind of errors which
he feels have marred the top-flight this term. He told Sky Sports:
"Unfortunately we're talking about the officials rather than talking about
the game, sadly, at the end of it. "We're faced with this difficult
situation where we're talking about it nearly every weekend and that's my
real concern. "Having had professional referees for such a long time, we
clearly don't have enough and we don't have enough quality. "We need to do
something about it at the very, very top and do something as quickly as we
can. "They try their best, they don't go out there to make mistakes. They go
out there to be as honest as they can be. We need officials to make fewer
mistakes than they're making this season."

The Hammers boss added: "I feel really let down, the lads feel really let
down. No-one gave us a chance today and we took Liverpool right to the wire.
"There were more than two major decisions (and), for me, (it is) about the
overall control of the game from the officials. "There is a linesman that
gives one that is far, way and beyond his reach, then it gets turned over by
the referee and looks like a foul on Andy. "Then they get a penalty that's
not a penalty. Flanagan is going down before Adrian has even played the
ball. Adrian plays the ball, the referee is not in a great position. He
can't be 100 per cent certain, so guesses.
"Both teams want to play the game and have the result determined on how
we've played, not by what the referee's decisions were and the big mistakes
he made today."

By Iain Dale 6 Apr 2014 at 19:11
West Ham Till I Die

For me that was one of our best performances of the season, if not THE best.
It was a team effort with every player putting in a real shift and every
player looking to play entertaining football on the deck. Rarely did we hoof
it up, but even so, Andy Carroll got some great service, and he so nearly
got on the scoresheet with that bullet header which cannoned off the bar. I
doubt whether any neutral observer could disagree with the assertion that a
draw would have been a fair result.

Of course the headlines tomorrow won't really mention us. They will
concentrate on the two big decisions the referee got wrong. I'm not even
sure that he didn't get the first penalty wrong either, but maybe that's me
looking through claret tinted spectacles. I don't deny that Demel's goal
should have been disallowed. Carroll blatantly fouled the goalkeeper, but
with the number of decisions that have gone against us this season you won't
find me complaining too much about that one. But Liverpool's second penalty
was outrageous. Adrian had to go for it and according to the replays barely
made any contact. Officials will always get things wrong and that's part of
the game. but to get two, or potentially three big decisions wrong in a game
of this importance was tragic. On these things do relegation and
Championships depend. I'd love to see referees forced to justify their
decision in interviews after games, but I suppose they will never agree to

But let's not allow the referee's lack of judgement detract from what was a
great West Ham performance. Adrian was in great form and I loved the way he
was quite happy to come out of his area and boot the ball clear on occasion.
Not enough goalkeepers do that in my opinion. And across the back four,
there wasn't a weak performance. I thought Reid and Tomkins had a great
understanding and both full backs were great in defence, and just as
important, attack. As the season has gone on, Demel has improved his
attacking play and Armero is very much an attacking left back who likes to
whip the ball in. I was really impressed with him.

Noble controlled much of the game in midfield and was a match of Gerrard, I
thought. Kevin Nolan really applied himself and was unlucky not to get on
the scoresheet. He made some brilliant tackles and I suspect he was only
substituted because he was completed knackered. This was Diame's best game
for some time and he did really well down the right, although he also seemed
to pop up everywhere on the pitch. He was particularly effective in the
first half an hour and caused Liverpool all sorts of problems. Like Diame,
Downing saw a lot of the ball down the left and whipped in cross after
cross, although often not to much effect. My only concern with Downing is
his total lack of goals. He just can't seem to get a shot on target. At the
end of the game he had all the time in the world to time a shot from outside
the area, but he ballooned it over. Matt Taylor also did well and surely he
has earned another year's contract. Our revival has coincided with him being
back in the team, something which not that many people have noticed. I'd
still like to see him shoot more. He's got a fantastic shot on him and he
should be taking more set pieces.

Andy Carroll was again immense. Liverpool had a game plan to neutralise him
which worked for a time, but as the game went on he won more and more 50-50
balls. He was also very good defensively, a part of his game which many
commentators seem to ignore. He deserved more than he got out of the game,
and the referee always seemed to imagine it was him at fault if he and
another player went down. Of course he is no shrinking violet, but he
deserved more decisions from the referee.

This performance showed a very different side to West Ham. It wasn't quite
the entertaining West Ham of old, but it wasn't far off. It demonstrated
that an Allardyce team can indeed play good football. He may point to the
fact that we lost, but not many people think we deserved to. And on a
different day I suspect the result might have been different.

I'm very much looking forward to the Palace game. It would be nice to get
three points on the board before then, though, wouldn't it?

Adrian 8
Demel 7
Tomkins 7
Reid 7
Armero 7
Noble 8
Nolan 7
Taylor 7
Downing 7
Diame 8
Carroll 7
Nocerino 6
Cole 6

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce blasts standards of officiating in the Premier
League after Liverpool loss
Apr 06, 2014 20:20 By Alex Richards
The Mirror

Sam Allardyce has launched a scathing attack on the standard of Premier
League officials following his side's 2-1 defeat by Liverpool. Referee
Anthony Taylor handed Liverpool two penalties, whilst West Ham's goal was
also contentious, in a controversial clash at Upton Park. Steven Gerrard
scored from the spot after James Tomkins was adjudged to have handled in the
penalty area, before Taylor overruled his assistant to allow Guy Demel an
equaliser in first-half injury time - despite Andy Carroll's challenge on
Simon Mignolet. And Taylor handed the Reds a second penalty in the second
half, having adjudged Hammers keeper Adrian to have fouled Jon Flanagan,
although the Spanish stopper appeared to have got a touch on the ball. And
Allardyce, whose side sit 11th in the table, offered a damning indictment of
Premier League officials after the final whistle. "Unfortunately we're
talking about the officials rather than talking about the game," said the
West Ham manager. "We're faced with this difficult situation where we're
talking about it nearly every weekend and that's my real concern. "Having
had professional referees for such a long time, we clearly don't have enough
and we don't have enough quality. "We need to do something about it at the
very, very top and do something as quickly as we can. "They try their best,
they don't go out there to make mistakes. They go out there to be as honest
as they can be. We need officials to make fewer mistakes than they're making
this season."

And with regards to today's performance from the officials, Allardyce
declared that both he and his players felt "let down" by the standard of
"I feel really let down, the lads feel really let down," explained
Allardyce. "No-one gave us a chance today and we took Liverpool right to the
wire. "There were more than two major decisions (and), for me, (it is) about
the overall control of the game from the officials. "There is a linesman
that gives one that is far, way and beyond his reach, then it gets turned
over by the referee and looks like a foul on Andy. "Then they get a penalty
that's not a penalty. Flanagan is going down before Adrian has even played
the ball. Adrian plays the ball, the referee is not in a great position. He
can't be 100 per cent certain, so guesses. "Both teams want to play the game
and have the result determined on how we've played, not by what the
referee's decisions were and the big mistakes he made today."

West Ham United 1-2 Liverpool: Steve Gerrard scores twice in game full of
Apr 06, 2014 22:30 By Martin Lipton
The Mirror

Five wins from glory, that's all. Just 450 minutes from ending those 24
years in the title wilderness. Seven and a half hours that stand between
Brendan Rodgers' side and the feat that a whole generation of Red
Merseysiders have wanted with an intensity that has grown ever more fervent.
And after coming through this Upton Park trial, emerging with understated
delight despite the doubts brought on by referee Anthony Taylor, Andy
Carroll and, indeed, themselves. The glittering prize is now closer than it
has been for more than two decades. Steven Gerrard's nerveless penalty 19
minutes from time, propelled with focused efficiency while West Ham raged
over Taylor's interpretation of Adrian's clash with Jon Flanagan, was all
about calm amid the storm. It is cold minds Liverpool need now, the ability
to keep their heads, to retain that vision without letting it compromise
them. But it is there. Beckoning them, enticing them, seducing them. Yes,
the two toughest tests, City and Chelsea, are still to come. Both at
Anfield, both in front of those yearning, imploring fans. To complete the
task they will probably have to extend this nine-match winning run to 14,
matching Arsenal's Premier League record – set across two campaigns – in
2002. Sometimes, though, there is a sense of destiny that channels a side, a
belief that it is meant to be. Liverpool, even when they were sucker-punched
by a poor decision in first-half stoppage time, moments after Gerrard's
first penalty conversion, are fuelled by that inner impetus. Of course, it
can disappear in the blink of an eye. We have seen teams fall at the moment
where triumph seemed in their grasp. Yesterday, when Guy Demel's equaliser
stood, despite the long conversation between Mr Taylor and assistant Stuart
Burt, might have been one of those turning points.

Liverpool were not at their fluent best, far from it. Daniel Sturridge
struggled to find his shooting boots, Philippe Coutinho was unimpressive,
West Ham huffed and puffed with rugged vigour. But just before the break,
the moment they wanted, needed, craved. Gerrard, with a ball of sheer
perfection, bent with the outside of his right foot, isolated Luis Suarez
against James Tomkins. The Uruguayan had earlier been denied his 30th
Premier league goal of the campaign when his dink came back off the bar. But
here, when he flipped the ball inside, the handling offence by Tomkins was
blatant. Gerrard accepted the offer, sending Adrian the wrong way from the
spot and Liverpool seemed set fair, only for it to change in the last
seconds before the break. Sam Allardyce's game-plan was hardly secret,
everything played forward aimed at Carroll and the England striker was again
the target when a right-wing corner was thrown in by Mark Noble. Martin
Skrtel – like his colleagues, left in a blind panic from every set-piece –
gave Carroll a shove but it was a palm into the head of Simon Mignolet from
the Geordie that forced him to drop the ball before Demel turned home. The
referee gave the goal, his assistant waved furiously but the goal, after an
exchange, stood. Rodgers acted, sending on Lucas for Coutinho, allowing
Gerrard to play further up but if Carroll's header had hit the target rather
than the bar, Liverpool might have folded. It didn't and they didn't. Then
the key moment. Lucas rolled inside Demel, Flanagan was in on goal, Adrian
came haring out. No doubts, at all, that the swipe with the keeper's right
hand bounced off the top of the ball – not noticeably changing its
direction. None, either, that the follow-through clattered into the
Liverpool left-back, bringing him down. How much of that Mr Taylor saw is
open to debate but he was decisive, as was Gerrard who speared into the
corner from 12 yards. Suarez, denied by Adrian's foot before hitting the bar
once more and the elusive Raheem Sterling might have put it beyond doubt,
the arrival of Kolo Toure bringing a few palpitations. Victory was greeted
with a few warm hugs, nothing ostentatious. They know the task which remains
in front of them. It is, though, Liverpool's to win.

West Ham and Hull lead chase for AC Milan's £3million-rated midfielder
Sulley Muntari
Apr 06, 2014 22:30 By Darren Witcoop
The Mirror

Hull and West Ham are in the hunt to land £3million-rated Sulley Muntari
this summer. Muntari will be offered to clubs after becoming a casualty of
AC Milan's shake-up. The Ghana midfielder had one season in English football
with Portsmouth six years ago and helped them win the FA Cup. He also caught
the eye during a loan spell under Steve Bruce at Sunderland in 2011 - and is
up for a Premier League return. Muntari, 29, will be available at a
knockdown price with just 12 months left on his San Siro deal. Bruce wanted
Muntari to bolster his engine room in January before a deal collapsed. But
the Tigers chief will renew his interest and will join West Ham in the race
for his signature.

Brendan Rodgers says Liverpool were ''clearly the better team'' after narrow
win at West Ham
Apr 06, 2014 19:45 By Alex Richards
The Mirror

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has declared that while there were bad
decisions at both ends during their 2-1 win over West Ham United, his side
still deserved to take all three points. Two Steven Gerrard penalties - the
first for a handball by James Tomkins, the second for a debatable foul by
Hammers keeper Adrian on Jon Flanagan - either side of a Guy Demel equaliser
- following an apparent foul by Andy Carroll on Simon Mignolet - continued
the Reds excellent form. And crucially, it moved Brendan Rodgers' side back
to the top of the Premier League table, ahead of next weekend's crunch clash
against Manchester City. "I thought we thoroughly deserved the win and we
showed great character today," said Rodgers, speaking to Sky Sports. "It was
a brilliant win for us and keeps our run going. "We were clearly the better
team. West Ham had one shot on target, which was the goal." It was
Liverpool's ninth successive Premier League win, and if they make it 10 in a
row against title rivals City next weekend, then their title dreams will
take a massive step closer to becoming reality. And Rodgers has set his
sights on making it a perfect 10 at Anfield. "It's going to be a great game.
"It's nine games on the spin now, which is an incredible effort by the
players and the staff. Today was a really tough game for us, now we will
recover and reflect on the game. "It is going to be a magnificent atmosphere
at Anfield. The supporters really urged us on today and we want to see if we
can get 10 in a row."

Concerning today's activities, Rodgers also believed that referee Anthony
Taylor was RIGHT to award his side two penalties - but wrong to allow West
Ham's goal. "The first one was a clear penalty" added Rodgers. "In all
fairness the referee after the game will see he got it wrong for their goal.
"The second penalty was a penalty. Jon Flanagan touches it past the keeper,
the keeper gets a slight touch on it but he then brings down Jon."


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