West Ham are left wanting after dismal show against four-midable Liverpool
PUBLISHED: 14:30 13 August 2018
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Opening day nightmare for Pellegrini and new-look team
All the hype, all those high expectations of a team that can live with the best in the Premier League disappeared into the Anfield grass like the West Ham dreams of most of their trips here.
Perhaps we should have expected it. The last four clashes with Liverpool have seen West Ham concede four, but this was going to be different right? This was going to be the Hammers rubbing shoulders with the best.
In the end it was less rubbing shoulders than chasing shadows as the rampant Reds ran West Ham ragged.
There were few plus points. Jack Wilshere and Michail Antonio both lasted 90 minutes, but the latter in particular was pretty awful.
Felipe Anderson showed some nice touches, but that is all very well on the left wing, he needs to do that in the danger areas and he didn’t.
Marko Arnautovic worked hard and conjured a good chance out of nothing which slipped just wide, but all in all this was the old West Ham with some different personnel, getting thumped by a side who are surely going to challenge for the title.
West Ham were overrun in midfield, while the pace and one-touch football of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino were overwhelming.
It was all simple enough. Liverpool would get down the flanks, cross low and every time there was a chance of a goal.
They managed three, although the third was clearly offside, but it could have been more such was their dominance.
New West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini is a man of few words. His press conference following the game looked a huge trial for the Chilean.
But in truth there was little you could say after that.
“I recognise that Liverpool were the better team, but when the score was 1-0 we had two or three opportunities to level,” he said.
“But in the last seconds of the first half they scored and so where it could have been 1-1, it was 2-0.
“The second goal was a blow psychologically for us, as it’s such a difference to come in at half-time 1-0 down instead of 2-0.”
Of course, it is important to stay positive, but there were so many things that were not right about this performance.
Lukasz Fabianski made a couple of good saves, but his tendency to punch rather than catch put his team in danger.
Ryan Fredericks had a poor debut and was not really in the game. Antonio struggled to hold on to the ball, while Mark Noble was very much a peripheral figure.
Pellegrini is not one to panic. He has been preparing his squad in pre-season meticulously and he is sticking to his guns.
“We are positive for the season ahead,” he said. “This is the first game, we have nine new players and we played one of the best teams in the Premier League.
“We are not happy, of course, when we lose 4-0, but we are sure we are going the correct way.”
That remains to be seen, but don’t panic just yet.