Brendan Rodgers rues early West Ham goal

West Ham won their first league match at Anfield since 1963 and inflicted a first loss of the season on Liverpool in a game featuring two red cards.

The Hammers produced a masterclass of counter-attacking football, with Manuel Lanzini impressing on his debut.

He scored the first and set up the second for Mark Noble, who became the second player sent off after Philippe Coutinho was red carded for Liverpool.

They were the first goals of the season conceded by Liverpool, whose defence was a shadow of the one that had impressed against Stoke, Bournemouth and Arsenal.

Liverpool have been rightly praised for the way their defence has performed to keep clean sheets in each of the first three Premier League games of the season.

However, the Reds’ back four will deservedly be pilloried for their display against the Hammers.

Martin Skrtel’s poor clearing header from a cross allowed Cresswell to pick the ball up and cross low for Lanzini to finish from close range to give the Hammers the lead.

Even worse was the dreadful mess made of a simple clearance by Dejan Lovren, who mis-controlled on his own byeline and allowed Lanzini to nip in and provide the half-cleared cross from which Noble followed up to slot in the second goal.

The moment made a mockery of the pre-match praise heaped on the £20m defender by Brendan Rodgers – who switched to a three-man defence in the second half to little effect, with Sakho punishing them a third time for hesitancy at the back.

Lanzini leads the charge

Liverpool’s calamitous defending should not take away from West Ham’s counter-attacking excellence, particularly in the first half.

In contrast to the diamond midfield utilised in the away win at Arsenal on opening day, the Hammers matched Liverpool’s 4-3-3, but used the system to much better effect.

A committed and disciplined back four was protected superbly by the energetic trio of Pedro Obiang, Cheikhou Kouyate and Noble, allowing Dimitri Payet and Lanzini in particular the freedom to do damage in the Liverpool half.

The midfielder’s debut showcased a willingness to pick up the ball deep and drive forward at pace and also an eagerness to work for the team by closing down opponents to force mistakes – something he did to optimum effect for the second goal.

In contrast, Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino, brought in from £29m in the summer, was a peripheral figure and was substituted after an hour.

The Brazilian was not the only Reds player to underperform, though, with Lovren’s 55th-minute shot – easily saved by Darren Randolph – their only one on target during.

Source: bbc sport

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