Reds enjoy welcome win
By Paul Higham. Last Updated: 29/10/05 4:40pm
Liverpool enjoyed a welcome return to form with a comfortable 2-0 win over West Ham at Anfield.
The European champions had endured a nightmare week but Rafa Benitez's side were bright and sharp against the newly-promoted Hammers who hardly had an effort on goal throughout the game.
Xabi Alonso gave The Reds an early lead on 18 minute but the hosts failed to convert a host of chances until substitute Bolo Zenden wiped out growing frustration by sealing the points eight minutes from time.
Liverpool began with a high tempo and were dominating the early passages of possession, and did not look like a side bereft of confidence.
A typical flowing move involving Fernando Morientes saw Luis Garcia skip into the box before watching his shot blocked by a desperate Danny Gabbidon dive.
The early pressure told in the 18th minute when a corner was cleared to Alonso, who stroked his 25-yard effort past Shaka Hislop, with a slight tough off Tomas Repka's head along the way.
Garcia did well to combine with John Arne Riise down the left, but the Norwegian's cross was well cut out at the near post.
Liverpool continued in the same vein in the second half, with Djibril Cisse producing a good cross from the right after a powerful run, but no red shirt was near enough to convert.
A second Liverpool goal almost came on the hour mark as Sami Hyypia fired in a shot after a corner had found its way to him, but Paul Konchesky was on the line to hack the ball away.
Morientes spurned another great chance on 70 minutes when he got in between the Hammers centre halves to connect with Steve Finnan's inviting cross, but planted his header too close to Hislop.
The Trinidad & Tobago goalkeeper again thwarted The Reds as he dived low to his left to fend away Garcia's powerful drive from the edge of the box with a strong left hand.
A rare West Ham attack came from a strange free kick awarded by Uriah Rennie on the left, and Riise had to rise high at the far post to flick the ball away from Anton Ferdinand.
Garcia went close again when substitute Zenden's cross found him at the near post, but his clever header sailed inches wide.
The lively Morientes combined with Steven Gerrard inside the final 15 minutes, but again Hislop was there to block the Spaniard's effort bravely.
With so many chances gone begging, the final ten minutes could have proved edgy for The Reds, but Zenden calmed the crowd by grabbing a deserved second eight minutes from time.
The Dutchman benefited from a Gabbidon touch to get in down the left, and he rattled his shot in past Hislop off the foot of the far post for 2-0.
|Liverpool||Team Name||West Ham United|
|7||Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||1|
|8||Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||2|
|16||Total Fouls Conceded||13|
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Ham United||38||47|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||38||44|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||38||30|