Two of the league’s least consistent sides met at Upton Park this weekend as West Ham hosted Liverpool. Prior to the match it was difficult to predict a winner with any confidence – would the West Ham that defeated Arsenal and Manchester City turn up, or the side that had won only one game in their previous 10? Similarly, Liverpool’s resurgence under Jurgen Klopp has also been stop-start, with the confidence generated from victories over Chelsea and Manchester City being tempered by comprehensive defeats against Watford and Newcastle United. Liverpool’s Christmas fixtures had proved profitable going into the weekend, with two Christian Benteke goals contributing to two 1-0 wins against Leicester City and Sunderland.
In spite of this after falling behind Liverpool rarely looked capable of turning the match around. Klopp’s team were too ineffectual in attack and the lack of depth in the squad was exposed by the paucity of match-winners on the bench. In contrast, West Ham looked athletic and far more penetrative on the counter attack.