Dan Coker's Match Preview
Blast from the past
29th August 2015 saw West Ham United’s first win at Anfield in 52 years; the 3-0 victory was only our fourth ever league win at the home of Liverpool since 1928! Rachel Platten was number one with ‘Fight Song’, and Paper Towns topped the UK box office.
West Ham took the lead in the third minute – Dimitri Payet’s cross was headed out by Martin Skrtel only as far as Aaron Cresswell, whose low centre was stabbed home from close range by Manuel Lanzini. The lead was doubled after 29 minutes when Lanzini hustled and harried Dejan Lovren on the right touchline, won possession and centred for Diafra Sakho – the ball broke to the edge of the penalty area for captain Mark Noble (pictured above) to slot home beyond a static Simon Mignolet to put the Hammers in dreamland.
The Hammers went into the interval with a 2-0 advantage and the afternoon got worse for the Reds eight minutes before the hour mark when Philippe Coutinho was sent off for a second bookable offence after fouling Payet. Referee Kevin Friend made it ten-a-side when he issued a straight red card to Noble with twelve minutes remaining for a challenge on Danny Ings – a decision which was later rescinded. By that point Liverpool had registered what was to be their only shot on target – Darren Randolph easily saving a Lovren shot – and it was the Hammers who would put the gloss on a memorable and historic victory, Sakho picking up Cheikhou Kouyate’s deflected pass two minutes into added time and guiding a low left-footed shot beyond Mignolet at his near post.
The three goals the Hammers scored on this famous day at Anfield were the first Liverpool had conceded in the 2015/16 season, having kept three clean sheets at the start of the campaign. West Ham manager Super Slaven Bilic famously stated after the game that the Irons had “parked the bus, but didn’t put the handbrake on”.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was sacked five weeks later, to be replaced by current boss Jurgen Klopp. The Reds went on to finish eighth in the Premier League, one place and two points behind the Hammers. The Irons would go on to record their highest-ever Premier League points tally and first positive top-flight goal difference since the record-breaking campaign of 1985/86. Payet was voted Hammer of the Year, having also finished as the club’s top scorer with 12 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions, with Michail Antonio runner-up.
Liverpool: Simon Mignolet, Nathaniel Clyne, Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez (Jordon Ibe), Emre Can (Alberto Moreno), Lucas, James Milner, Roberto Firmino (Danny Ings), Philippe Coutinho, Christian Benteke.
West Ham United: Darren Randolph, James Tomkins, Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna, Aaron Cresswell, Cheikhou Kouyate, Mark Noble, Pedro Obiang, Manuel Lanzini (Reece Oxford), Dimitri Payet (Matt Jarvis), Diafra Sakho (Josh Cullen).
Andy Carroll is unavailable for the trip to his former club. A whole host of players join the striker in having turned out for both West Ham United and Liverpool, particularly over the last 25 years. These include:
Goalkeeper: Charles Cotton.
Defenders: Alvaro Arbeloa, Rob Jones, David Burrows, Glen Johnson, Paul Konchesky, Julian Dicks, Rigobert Song, Neil Ruddock, Thomas Stanley.
Midfielders: Don Hutchison, Yossi Benayoun, Joe Cole, Victor Moses, Paul Ince, Ray Houghton, Javier Mascherano, Stewart Downing, Mike Marsh.
Strikers: Craig Bellamy, Peter Kyle, Titi Camara, Robbie Keane, David Speedie, Neil Mellor, Charlie Satterthwaite, Danny Shone, Tom Bradshaw.
George Kay made 237 league appearances for the Hammers between 1919 and 1926, becoming the first-ever player to play more than 200 league matches for the club. Kay was also the West Ham captain in the 1923 FA Cup Final. He went on to manage Liverpool between 1936 and 1951, winning the First Division title in 1947.
Today’s focus falls on a former England goalkeeper who first appeared in the top flight for Liverpool before later playing for West Ham. David James was born in Welwyn Garden City on 1st August 1970 and grew up as a Luton supporter. He signed for Watford though and, after helping the Hornets win the FA Youth Cup, made his full debut in August 1990 at the age of 20. He earned 10 caps for England Under-21s before moving to Grame Souness’ Liverpool in the summer of 1992 for £1m.
James made his Liverpool debut in August 1992 in a 1-0 defeat against Nottingham Forest. After conceding 20 goals in 11 games at the start of the 1993/94 season, James lost his first-team place to veteran ‘keeper Bruce Grobbelaar. He won the League Cup in 1995, starting in the Final against Bolton at Wembley, and received an FA Cup runners-up medal the following year before making his England debut under Glenn Hoddle in a friendly against Mexico on 29th March 1997. After being a regular under Roy Evans and making a total of 277 appearances for the Reds, James left Liverpool for Aston Villa in a £1.8m deal in June 1999. He was once again on the losing side in an FA Cup Final, this time in 2000, the last Final to be played at the old Wembley.
James signed for Glenn Roeder’s West Ham United in July 2001 for £3.5m but a serious knee injury picked up in a collision with Martin Keown whilst playing for England against the Netherlands at White Hart Lane would keep him out until late autumn. The 31-year-old finally made his Hammers debut in a 1-0 home defeat to Tottenham on 24th November 2001 – he went on to keep ten clean sheets in 29 appearances in his first season, a campaign which saw no other Premier League team win more matches at home than the Hammers. The club finished seventh but were to nosedive the following season, culminating in relegation. James was an ever-present in 2002/03, keeping nine clean sheets in 42 appearances during a season in which he became England’s first-choice goalkeeper, replacing David Seaman.
James remained with the club for the first half of the First Division campaign of 2003/04, seeing many of his team-mates depart in a fire sale and playing under three managers – Roeder, caretaker boss Trevor Brooking and Alan Pardew – as the Hammers adjusted to life in the second tier. ‘Jamo’ kept ten clean sheets in 31 games before returning to the Premier League with Manchester City in a £2m deal in January 2004. He had made 102 appearances for West Ham in all competitions, his final match being a 2-1 home defeat to Preston on 10th January 2004. James had retained his position as Sven-Goran Eriksson’s England number one but his return to the top flight all but secured his place as England’s goalkeeper at the upcoming Euro 2004 tournament in Portugal. My video below is a compilation of some of his saves in a West Ham shirt.
After two and a half years with City, James returned south to join Portsmouth in the summer of 2006. While with Pompey, he broke the Premier League record for clean sheets and consecutive appearances. He stands fourth in the all-time Premier League appearances list with 572 games played – only Ryan Giggs, Gareth Barry and ex-Hammer Frank Lampard have played more. James moved to Bristol City in the summer of 2010 having captained Portsmouth in the FA Cup Final, James again picking up a runners-up medal after defeat at Wembley to Chelsea. The goalkeeper also played three of England’s four matches at the 2010 World Cup, having lost his place to Paul Robinson during qualification for the 2006 World Cup – former Hammer James replaced then-Hammers custodian Rob Green in the tournament held in South Africa after Green’s unfortunate error against the USA.
The 42-year-old James was released by Bristol City in the summer of 2012 and signed for Bournemouth in September of that year. His final appearance for Bournemouth, and in English football, was against Walsall in a 3-1 defeat at the Bescot Stadium on 19th January 2013.
James went on to play in Iceland for IBV, teaming up with former team-mate Hermann Hreidarsson in order to gain coaching experience. James was also player-manager of Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters, owned by Sachin Tendulkar, in 2014, helping the side to runners-up position in the inaugural campaign of the ISL. James played 956 matches during his career and, now 47, has returned for a second spell in charge of Kerala Blasters – he replaced former Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen as the club’s head coach on January 3rd this year. The Blasters, who have former Blackpool goalkeeper Paul Rachubka and former Leicester striker Iain Hume in their ranks alongside big names Wes Brown and Dimitar Berbatov, are currently fifth in the ISL, out of ten teams. Other managers in the ISL include former Hammers boss Avram Grant (NorthEast United), former Manchester United and England winger Steve Coppell (Jamshedpur), ex-Aston Villa boss John Gregory (Chennaiyin) and former Crewe and Sheffield Wednesday defender Ashley Westwood (ATK).
The referee on Saturday will be Stuart Attwell. The Birmingham-based official will take charge of a West Ham game for only the fourth time – he has sent off a Hammers striker in two of his other three games officiating the Hammers. He refereed our 1-0 victory at Wigan in March 2009 and our 3-1 win at Blackpool in February 2011. The 35-year-old sent off the Latics’ Lee Cattermole for a shocking challenge on Scott Parker, while the Hammers’ Carlton Cole also received his marching orders during the aforementioned win at Wigan. Even Latics boss Steve Bruce criticised the decision to dismiss the Irons striker.
Attwell also awarded an infamous ‘phantom’ goal for Reading in a Championship match against Watford in September 2008. He was the youngest-ever Premier League referee but was demoted from the Select Group in 2012. He most recently refereed the Hammers in October in our 1-1 draw at Burnley when he issued a first-half red card to Andy Carroll.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is without Nathaniel Clyne. Emre Can is one yellow card away from a two-match suspension. The Reds are the Premier League’s second highest scorers with 61 goals scored in 27 games. They are unbeaten at Anfield in the Premier League and Champions League this season, with their only home defeat coming in the FA Cup against West Brom last month.
West Ham boss David Moyes is without the banned Arthur Masuaku while Pedro Obiang, Edimilson Fernandes and Andy Carroll all miss out through injury. Winston Reid and Manuel Lanzini should be fit enough to make the bench at least.
Possible Liverpool XI: Karius; Alexander-Arnold, van Dijk, Lovren, Robertson; Miner, Wijnaldum, Henderson; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Zabaleta, Kouyate, Mario, Noble, Antonio; Arnautovic, Chicharito.
Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!