Full time, Liverpool 3-0: This one is over and not a minute too soon for West Ham. The Reds absolutely dominated in every facet of the game this afternoon and as a result, they get a well-earned win over the lowly Hammers. Stick around for full time analysis from Kevin Koczwara coming up momentarily.
Be sure to click here for full time analysis from Kevin Koczwara of "The Soccer Guys" blog.
85', Liverpool 3-0: Roy Hodgson working on emptying his bench some, as Fernando Torres comes to a rousing ovation from the crowd at Anfield.
75', Liverpool 3-0: Here's some 70th-minute analysis from Kevin Koczwara.
"Time for Hodgson to start thinking about substitutions of his top players. The 3-0 lead Liverpool enjoys looks to be safe with the lack of tempo, pace and will in West Ham's game right now.
"Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt both have nicks and bruises, Hodgson should think of taking them off for Shelvey and Eccleston. The two youngsters have seen some action in the Premier League this season, but for them to keep developing and growing they will need to see more time.
"Liverpool can't afford to lose either Kuyt or Torres right now with the injury to Steven Gerrard. Hodgson has limited attacking options, and he will need to keep the ones he has healthy. Both players have had solid games.
"Hodgson has to be smart about giving his youngsters plenty of time on the field while the team is winning.
"David Ngog was subbed off by Hodgson for Aurelio. The Brazilian hasn't been on the field yet this season because of injury. His left foot in the defense or out on the left wing will be welcomed if he can stay healthy."
73', Liverpool 3-0: West Ham continues to look sloppy and LFC almost makes them pay, but Robert Green puts a stop to things. The Hammers keeper just made two incredible saves to not only bail out his defenders who continue their poor play, but also keep the score at 3-0.
68', Liverpool 3-0: Maxi Rodriguez almost sneaks an apparent cross inside the right post, but misses, resulting in a West Ham goal kick. Liverpool haven't had the same amount of chances as they did in the first half, but they're still moving the ball well.
63', Liverpool 3-0: Glen Johnson continues to show fire for the Reds. This time, it was him getting tangled up with West Ham's Boa Marte. The officials let them play, but it's just more inspired play from Johnson. Maybe Roy Hodgson should call him out every week.
55', Liverpool 3-0: Bit of a slow start to the second half, but that's to be expected really. This one's been pretty much over since the opening kick in the first half.
Will be interesting to see what LFC does in the second half going forward to close out the Hammers.
Halftime analysis: As promised, here is Kevin Koczwara's analysis of an eventful first half.
Kevin Koczwara: "West Ham showing its happy to sit back and take a beating, so far.
"The pressure from Liverpool's strikers Fernando Torres and David Ngog on the Hammers' defenders has forced them to turn the ball over in the midfield. The Reds have capitalized on the Hammers' miscues and enjoy a 3-0 lead.
"Liverpool will be happy to keep pushing the tempo and isolating Carlton Cole .
"Dirk Kuyt has been influential in the attack. He keeps finding space in West Ham's end and popping up with the ball.
"Glen Johnson has been outstanding going forward, and Jamie Carragher has been filling in behind him to cover the space Johnson vacated, so Cole can't slip in for West Ham and start a break.
"David Ngog looks like a perfect partner for Torres. The Frenchman works hard and can hold play up a bit, allowing Torres to make runs into space and challenge defenders one-on-one. Torres hasn't had this type of space all season, and despite an ankle injury, he looks confident against the hapless Hammers.
"Carlton Cole for West Ham has been isolated with little or no support. Liverpool have done a good job not allowing the big striker many chances in the box. Carragher and Skrtel have pushed the big striker deeper and deeper into West ham's own end and made him try and pass the ball, not something he does well.
"Raul Meireless has controlled the midfield and is showing why he wasn't a prime pick-up for Liverpool in the transfer market this summer. The former Porto midfielder works hard on both ends and can control the tempo of a game with his passing and tackling ability from the center of the midfield. Maybe Hodgson will start deploying him in the center more often.
"Roy Hodgson can't allow his players to slow down in the second half and allow West Ham a cheap, early goal. Liverpool can kill the game off in the first 10 minutes if it holds possession and keeps attacking. He should start thinking about taking off Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt in the second half to keep them healthy for next week's game with surging Tottenham. It would be nice to see some more of Shelvey and Eccleston. It would have been a boost to have seen Pacheco on the bench, he would have slotted in nicely for Kuyt in the second half to give the Dutch winger a rest."
Halftime, 3-0: Liverpool have dominated this one from the beginning. They're moving the ball extremely well and have a sense of urgency that's been lacking in their past contests. Be sure to stick around for first half analysis from Kevin Koczwara of The Soccer Guys blog.
37' Liverpool, 3-0: Roy Hodgson looks happy — and for good reason. Maxi Rodriguez just scored on a header from Paul Konchesky and Liverpool are rolling with a three-goal lead.
26' Liverpool, 2-0: Liverpool continue their early domination after Dirk Kuyt converts on a penalty kick following a West Ham hand ball.
Kevin Koczwara early analysis: "Liverpool have dominated play thus far. West Ham has defended for the whole of the half so far and have barely strung together a few passes.
"Glen Johnson's goal was a great bit of skill to bring the ball down and hit it on the volley on a corner delivered by Raul Meireles. Johnson must have been surprised no one challenged him in the box and that he got plenty of time to collect his shot.
"Johnson has looked great so far. He is one of the few Liverpool players capable at running at a defender and turning them around. His forward movement has been encouraging. He has not only scored, but he has also set up Liverpool's other chances.
"Meireles looks strong in the middle. He looks comfortable and is providing quality service to the attacking players.
"Poulsen's name hasn't been visible thus far, and that is a good sign for Liverpool as it means West Ham isn't attacking and he doesn't have to do much."
22' Liverpool, 1-0: Johnson with another pretty cross through the box to a wide-open Torres. He, though, whiffs on it. Missed opportunity for Reds.
17' Liverpool, 1-0: Glen Johnson continuing his strong performance, netting today's first tally for the Reds.
He's really seeming to take the words of Hodgson to heart and has come out strong today as a result. He had a pretty cross earlier and now has a goal following a Liverpool corner. West Ham just looks uninterested out there and Liverpool is taking full advantage.
9' 0-0: Plenty of chances early on for Liverpool, this time it's Fernando Torres with a near-miss.
LFC really taking it to West Ham at the moment, playing inspired football and really moving the ball well.
4' 0-0: Maxi Rodriguez misses the goal by literally inches as Liverpool continues to their strong offensive play early.
For those who think Liverpool needed to be more aggressive, they must be satisfied at least early as the Reds are playing on a seemingly tilted pitch right now.
1' 0-0: If Glen Johnson truly did take Roy Hodgson's comments personally, he's using it as motivation early on it seems.
The right back just narrowly missed his target on a cross through the box just a minute in. LFC moving the ball crisply early on and more or less dominating the pace thus far.
12:30 p.m.: Just moments away from the first half kickoff, here is how West Ham will start along with more analysis from Kevin Koczwara.
Jacobsen, Gabbidon, Upson, Ilunga,
Noble, Kovac, Boa Morte,
Piquionne, Obinna, Cole
Subs: Stech, Reid, Tomkins, Barrera, McCarthy, Spector, Nouble
No Scott Parker for the West Ham as expected. Liverpool fans should rejoice for that.
Other than that, pretty much what was expected to come out of West Ham's locker room. Grant looks like he should be employing a 4-3-3, but, like his counter-part Roy Hodgson, he will be looking to defend first. Cole will play up high in the attack. Obinna will probably drop into the midfield more, while Piquionne tries to run up and down a wing.
Piquionne is West Ham's leading scorer with four goals, and will prove to be Liverpool's toughest marking assignment. If Grant is smart, he will match the Frenchman on the same side as Johnson and Kuyt. Johnson doesn't defend well, especially against stronger opposition, and that will force Kuyt to drop deeper to help out. Kuyt doesn't mind doing this, but he is one of the few Liverpool attacking players that pops up at the back post when a ball goes through the box. By forcing him deeper, West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green will be able to relax a bit more as a pass trickles through his area.
On the flip side, Hodgson will need to use Ngog to play along side Torres, not behind him, if he wants to pressure West Ham. Green has had some great games for the Hammers this season after the gaffe he made in the World Cup match for England against the United States. Matthew Upson hasn't had a particularly good season thus far. He could be suffering from a World Cup hangover, or he could be one of the most overrated defenders in England. If Torres and Ngog can get after him and pressure the ball at the back, it could be a long day for Green.
12:20 p.m.: Here is Kevin Koczwara's take on Liverpool's Jamie Carragher's 650th LFC appearance today.
Kevin Koczwara: "Jamie Carragher makes his 650th appearance for Liverpool today. Fittingly enough he will wear the captain's armband with Gerrard's absence. Carragher certainly has the leadership qualities of a captain and is the type of player I want as my center back, minus the own goal disease he suffers from. He may be in the decline, but he still holds his own on the field and never gives up. You couldn't ask for more from a player."
12:00 p.m.: More from Kevin Koczwara on the lineup LFC manager Roy Hodgson will roll out at Anfield.
On Hodgon's squad selection:
Konchesky, Carragher, Skrtel, Johnson,
Maxi, Poulsen, Meireles, Kuyt,
Subs: Jones, Eccleston, Kyrgiakos, Aurelio, Shelvey, Kelly, Babel.
"Liverpool will do without the suspended Lucas Levia and the injured Steven Gerrard in the midfield, instead it will be two summer signings working the middle of the Reds midfield with Meireles and Poulsen trying to control the tempo.
"There is only one upside to Gerrard's injury: Meireles will play in his preferred position The Portuguese international arrived from Porto this summer as a box-to-box midfielder, and Hodgson has yet to play him as one. Meireles has been pushed out wide in recent weeks — even played underneath a lone striker as an attacking midfielder — and he hasn't looked comfortable there. He is neither a winger nor an attacking midfielder with goal-scoring prowess. He is a hard-working, quick, and determined central midfielder who wins the ball across the field and can pass and flick with the best.
"The downside to the Lucas suspension — Poulsen moves into the holding midfielder role.
"The Dane moved over to Anfield in the summer from Juventus, and he hasn't found his feet in England yet. The pace and power of the Premier League has left him in the dust, for the most part. West Ham provides a perfect challenge for Poulsen. The Hammers don't break out into the attack like a Manchester United, or pass around opponents like Arsenal, or break teams down like Tottenham can. Nope. West Ham plays deep, holds the ball in their own end, and try to break out with Carlton Cole, not a feared striker in England by any stretch.
"If Poulsen cant hold up today than he may want to find a way to move back to the Serie A in January because there won't be an easier game for him to control the midfield — especially if Parker doesn't play — this season."
11:30 a.m.: We're about an hour away from the start of this one and we have our first bit of analysis from guest analyst Kevin Koczwara. Read his pregame preview below.
Kevin Koczwara: "With the injury to Steven Gerrard, West Ham manager Avram Grant and his squad should be glowing. Gerrard pumps Liverpool's blood from the backline to the front. He is the team's lifeline and can come up with a moment of brilliance at any time, something the Hammers supporters know all too well.
"West Ham (1-6-6, 9 pts) hasn't beaten the Reds (4-4-5 16 pts) in five matches. Grant and company need to take at least a point away from the match if they hope to move out of the relegation zone anytime soon. Hodgson's side may not be in the relegation area any longer, but they aren't far off in 11th place behind the likes of Stoke City, Bolton, and newly promoted Newcastle United. A loss home today could kill off the team's chances of a wishful fourth spot altogether, something Reds fans and the team's top players don't want to hear in November.
"Some positive news has come out of Anfield today as the reported rift between Hodsgon and his England international right back Glen Johnson was nothing more than a disagreement this week and all is well. Johnson should be in the starting line up today after returning from injury and providing some width to the Liverpool attack.
"West Ham's midfield man Scott Parker is doubtful due to a chest infection. Parker has been the Hammers best player for a while now. His battle with Gerrard looked to be the one to watch this weekend until both players were hampered by injury.
"West Ham hasn't won at Anfield since 1963. A staggering statistic of home dominance. But with the way this Premier League season has gone, there are no safe bets and no records or streaks are safe, just ask Peter Cech and his Chelsea teammates."
9:00 a.m.: Nothing's a given, obviously, but Liverpool has to feel a little bit better about seeing West Ham across the pitch on Saturday given LFC's recent injury woes.
That's because they'll be taking on a West Ham squad that is struggling mightily this season to the tune of a 1-6-6 record.
Things could still be difficult for an incredibly banged-up Liverpool squad, especially given the recent injury news in regards to captain Steven Garrard, who could be out for up to a month with a hamstring injury he suffered this week while playing for England.
LFC has history on their side as well. The Reds are unbeaten in their last 38 home league matchups with West Ham.
Be sure to checck back for updates throughout the match including match analysis from Kevin Koczwara of The Soccer Guys blog.
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