Dan Coker's Match Preview
Blast from the past
Since our first game at the home of Liverpool in 1914, we have only ever won there on four occasions – the most recent was in 2015, 52 years after our previous victory there in 1963; prior to that was a win in 1954 and our first victory was back in 1928. Needless to say, Anfield is not the happiest of Hammers hunting grounds!
That first victory came on 4th February 1928 in a First Division match in front of 23,897 spectators – Leon Trotsky had been exiled to Alma-Ata four days previously while, four days later, John Logie Baird broadcasted a transatlantic television signal from London to New York. Hammers legends Jimmy Ruffell (pictured) and Vic Watson were on the scoresheet, Ruffell scoring twice and Watson once in a 3-1 victory. Dick Edmed struck the hosts’ consolation from the penalty spot. Outside-left Ruffell, ranked 21st in the club’s 50 Greatest Hammers countdown this week, would end the season as the Irons’ top goalscorer with 19 goals in 41 matches.
The Hammers went on to finish in 17th place in 1927/28, level on 39 points with six other teams and one point clear of relegated Tottenham. Liverpool were one of these sides, the Reds finishing one place above the Hammers while their Merseyside rivals, Everton, won the title. Blackburn won the FA Cup.
Liverpool: Arthur Riley, Tom Lucas, David McMullan, Tom Bromilow, Fred Hopkin, Dick Edmed, Harry Chambers, Tommy Reid, John Clarke, Don MacKinlay, Jimmy Jackson.
West Ham United: Ted Hufton, Billy Henderson, Alfred Earl, Jimmy Collins, Bill Cox, Albert Cadwell, Tommy Yews, Stan Earle, Vic Watson, Billy Moore, Jimmy Ruffell.
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:
Goalkeepers: David James, Charles Cotton.
Defenders: Alvaro Arbeloa, Rob Jones, David Burrows, 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 right-back who first appeared in the top flight for West Ham before later playing for Liverpool. Glen Johnson was born in Greenwich on 23rd August 1984 and grew up in Dartford. Known as Glen Stephens at the time of his birth, he took his mother’s surname following the separation of his parents. At one stage of his childhood, he lived in a hostel as his mother had nowhere to live but he joined West Ham at the age of nine. He made regular appearances for the reserve team in the 2001/02 season and spent a loan spell at Millwall in the autumn of 2002, with whom he made his Football League debut.
Johnson was recalled from his loan spell by manager Glenn Roeder with the previous season’s Hammer of the Year, Sebastien Schemmel, struggling for form and the Hammers deep in relegation trouble. Schemmel, who had problems in his personal life, fell out with Roeder and on one occasion had to be escorted out of Upton Park by security staff, played his final game for the club in early January 2003 in an FA Cup third round win over Nottingham Forest – Steve Lomas initially filled in at right-back before the 18-year-old Johnson made his West Ham debut as a 63rd-minute substitute for Edouard Cisse in a 4-2 defeat at Charlton on 22nd January 2003, a game which saw future Hammer Scott Parker score twice for the Addicks. Johnson again appeared from the bench four days later, this time for the final ten minutes of a 6-0 defeat at Manchester United in the FA Cup fourth round.
Johnson made his first start for the Irons in a 2-1 home win over Blackburn on 29th January 2003 – it was the club’s first home win in the league in 2002/03. An immediate hit with the supporters due to his precocious talent, he kept his place and started every game thereafter until the end of the season, including the final three matches under the control of caretaker manager Trevor Brooking. Johnson signed a new four-year contract in March 2003 and made 14 starts after breaking into the starting XI as the Hammers launched an ultimately unsuccessful bid for survival – from Johnson’s 14 starts, West Ham won seven matches, drew four and lost only three. His final appearance for the club came in a 2-2 draw at Birmingham on 11th May 2003, the day the Hammers were relegated to the First Division after a ten-year stay in the Premier League.
After England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson told the new Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich that Johnson and Joe Cole were the two best young players in England, the Russian signed both players for manager Claudio Ranieri. Johnson was the first purchase of the Abramovich era at Chelsea, for a fee of £6m in July 2003, having made 16 appearances for West Ham United. He made his England debut against Denmark in November 2003 – he played 14 matches for England Under-21s and went on to win 54 full caps for his country, scoring one goal in a 3-1 friendly win over Mexico in May 2010. After three seasons at Stamford Bridge, Johnson signed for Portsmouth on a season-long loan for the 2006/07 campaign. He returned to Chelsea, playing two matches in August 2007 before signing permanently for Portsmouth later that month.
The 24-year-old Johnson signed for Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool in the summer of 2009 for a reported £17.5m. He made his Premier League debut on 16th August 2009 in a 2-1 defeat at Tottenham and scored his first goal for the Reds on his home debut three days later in a 4-0 win over Stoke. He scored in both matches against former club West Ham in 2010/11, in a 3-0 Liverpool win at Anfield on 20th November 2010 and the consolation in a 3-1 Hammers win on 27th February 2011 at the Boleyn Ground.
Johnson scored against another former club, Chelsea, in a 2-1 win for the Reds at Stamford Bridge in November 2011 and again scored against the Irons as Liverpool triumphed 3-2 at Upton Park in December 2012. His final goal for Liverpool was the winner in a 1-0 victory over Stoke at Anfield on 29th November 2014, with his final appearance for the club coming in a 1-1 draw at Chelsea on 10th May 2015. Having played under Benitez, Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish and Brendan Rodgers during his six years at Anfield, experiencing Champions League and Europa League football along the way, the 30-year-old Johnson joined Stoke on a free transfer in the summer of 2015. He was a League Cup winner with the Reds in 2012 and had scored nine goals in 200 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool.
Johnson, who turns 34 in a couple of weeks, is currently without a club after his three seasons with Stoke ended in relegation in May.
The referee on Sunday will be Anthony Taylor – the Hammers were only allocated the 39-year-old once last season, for our 1-0 home win over Chelsea in December 2017. In 2016/17, Taylor took charge of our 2-0 defeat at Everton in October 2016 and our 2-1 opening-day defeat at Chelsea in August 2016, awarding the home side a penalty and later controversially failing to issue a second yellow card to Diego Costa for an awful lunge at Adrian – Costa remained on the pitch to score the 89th-minute winner. He also refereed our 1-0 defeat at Leicester on New Year’s Eve 2016 and our 1-0 win over Tottenham in May 2017. Taylor officiated the Irons on five occasions in 2015/16 as he took charge of our defeat at Tottenham, as well as our home win over Newcastle which came just three games after he had controversially sent off Adrian against Leicester. He was also the man in the middle for our FA Cup third round win over Wolves and our 3-2 win at Everton in March 2016.
Indeed, controversy and incident are never far away when the Cheshire-based official is the referee for a West Ham United match. Taylor was in charge when the Hammers took on Liverpool at Upton Park in April 2014, awarding a controversial and ultimately match-winning penalty to the Reds. There was also controversy surrounding Guy Demel’s equaliser for West Ham in that game. Taylor is also the referee who had not one, but two red cards rescinded from the same game after he had sent off Carlton Cole and Darron Gibson in the Hammers’ 2-1 home defeat to Everton in December 2012. He sent off the home side’s Kevin Mirallas against the Hammers at Goodison Park in March 2016 and awarded the Toffees a penalty which Romelu Lukaku saw saved by Adrian.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is without Simon Mignolet, Ragnar Klavan, Dejan Lovren and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and James Milner are doubts. Goalkeeper Alisson, midfielder Naby Keita and forward Xherdan Shaqiri could all make their competitive Liverpool debuts. The Reds were unbeaten at Anfield in the Premier League and Champions League last season, with their only home defeat coming in the FA Cup against West Brom. Liverpool have won the last three meetings against West Ham, scoring four goals on each occasion.
New West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini is without the injured Winston Reid, Edimilson Fernandes, Manuel Lanzini and Andy Carroll. New signing Andriy Yarmolenko is available after a pre-season injury and could make his Hammers debut, as could fellow new boys Lukasz Fabianski, Ryan Fredericks, Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Felipe Anderson and Lucas Perez. Pellegrini must make a decision between Adrian and Fabianski in goal, Fredericks and Pablo Zabaleta at right-back, and Balbuena and Diop at centre-back. The game may come too soon for Aaron Cresswell, who had a limited pre-season due to injury. The Hammers have lost their season-opening Premier League game on 11 occasions, more than any other side.
Possible Liverpool XI: Alisson; Clyne, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Lallana, Wijnaldum, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Rice, Noble, Wilshere; Antonio, Arnautovic, Anderson.
Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!