Full-time - 90'
0 - 3
16:30 +00:00, May 9, 2009
Upton Park, England
Referee: Alan Wiley
FULL-TIME: A handsome win for Liverpool who are top tonight on goal difference. A stroll really for the Anfield outfit who will be hoping the sky blue half of Manchester can do them a big favour tomorrow.
Liverpool are keen to add to their goal tally here and Gerrard (with an eye on Liverpool's goal difference) indicates he will not be taking the corner, presumably to make the most of his abilities in the box. He will be delighted then that the corner is played short and possession lost to West Ham almost immediately. Full-time here.
Gerrard's shot is blocked by Noble as it hits the sidenetting and Liverpool have the corner. West Ham clear and then Kuyt caps a fine game by falling on his derriere after he mishits a shot.
Ilunga does well to block Kuyt's cross out on the right. Not many West Ham fans are left to see it though as the home crowd head for the exits with their side well beaten.
Dossena clatters in to Lucas Neill who had provoked him with a couple of firm challenges prior to that.
Some rather faint chants of 'We're gonna win the league' can be heard from the Liverpool fans. You suspect even they know that is unlikely but if Manchester City can do them a favour in the derby tomorrow then it will certainly be an interesting run-in.
Great tackle from Upson on Gerrard who looked poised to add gloss to the scoreline as he raced towards goal.
GOAL: Three for Liverpool as Ryan Babel bags his first goal of the year. It came from a sweeping break from Liverpool with Gerrard finding Kuyt who had time to look up and pick out Babel. Green blocked his header but was helpless to prevent Babel blasting home the loose ball from close range.
Benayoun is now off and Andreas Dossena is on. Josh Payne has also replaced the fuming Luis Boa Morte who has not had the best of days the poor little lamb.
Great one-two between Gerrard and Benayoun with the Israeli showing a nice touch to find his skipper.
Boa Morte is moaning once more after Mascherano went to ground following his challenge.
Diego Tristan is fractionally offside as he looked to race through on goal.
Noble - who has been the pick of the West Ham players - finds space out on the right but can't get his foot around the ball to direct his cross towards the Liverpool box. Goal-kick to Liverpool.
Benayous is lucky to avoid a booking for a late tackle on Noble.
Nippy bit of play from Sears to get in behind the Liverpool defence and put in a cross but he overhits it and nobody in a West Ham shirt had bothered to get in the penalty area anyway.
Boa Morte threads a ball through which Skrtel belts behind for a corner. It comes to nothing as a West Ham player had strayed offside. Fernando Torres departs and is replaced by the speedy Ryan Babel.
Kuyt tees it up for Gerrard who fails to control it adequately allowing Tomkins to slide in for a well-timed tackle. Meanwhile Di Michele is taking out of harms way and Freddie Sears will take his place.
The atmosphere at Upton Park is as flat as a bottle of champagne opened in Holland three weeks ago. The Hammers crowd seem to know this game is passing them by. Meanwhile Di Michele shoots wide.
Benayoun slinks through the middle and throws a couple of feints before curling a shot just wide.
Ilunga is well forward and advances in to the Liverpool box before Reina puts a stop to his attacking intentions with a clearance.
Di Michele - again - shows terrible control and you can sense the Upton Park crowd losing patience with their misfiring front man.
And there indeed is the stern looking figure of Fabio Capello taking notes on the game from the stands.
Noble curls it over but Liverpool clear and tear up the park with Gerrard on the ball. He finds Kuyt but he tries to lift it over Green and the England man makes a good save.
Boa Morte is bundled over by Skrtel then holds his hands up in expectation of a free-kick which he receives.
Stanislas is off and Collison is on to huge cheers of approval from the Upton Park faithful.
Gerrard warms Green's hands as Torres dummied nicely to leave it for his skipper. A low raking shot from Gerrard but Green gets down to make the save.
Jack Collison is being primed for action by Gianfranco Zola on the touchline.
Groans of dismay from the West Ham fans as a stray Lucas Neill pass going out of play signals the end of a Hammers attack.
Emiliano Insua has come on for Liverpool to replace Aurelio.
Corner to West Ham which Noble delivers but the Liverpool defenders do their job and block all routes to goal. Meanwhile Torres has a header which is towards goal but a foot too high to trouble Green.
Kuyt looks up, sees Benayon unmarked and responds with a cross from the right that the Israeli races towards. He connects about five yards from Green's goal but is a fraction too late to direct his effort on target and it goes over the bar. Lucky for West Ham.
Noble sprays it to Ilunga on the left but he loses out and is out of position as Liverpool break. Gerrard receievs the ball but is heavy with his touch and the ball goes behind for a goal-kick. Meanwhile another yellow card this time for Aurelio for a foul on Boa Morte.
Good play from Noble but he looks to the heavens in dismay as Di Michele gives the ball away cheaply from Noble's pass.
We are a minute in to the second half and it is my duty to inform you that the sum total of nowt has taken place in that time.
HALF-TIME: Liverpool are heading back to the top of the table unless West Ham can make some pretty drastic alterations to the shape of this game. David Di Michele is available for children's parties by the way and comes with very competitive rates.
Torres goes close with an effort that is inches away from putting Liverpool in cruise control here but a shrill blast of the whistle signals a temporary halt to West Ham's misery as the teams disappear for half-time.
Craig Burley's dismebodied squawk had earlier announced that that was only the second penalty Steve Gerrard has missed in a Liverpool shirt. Extraordinary - Liverpool fans won't mind if he misses them all like the one today.
Di Michele has missed a sitter as he goes one-on-one with Reina after some slack play from Carragher. Di Michele looks extremely foolish as he falls to the floor in a heap before spinning a golden chance into a heap of dung. He appeals that he was tripped and he was - by himself. A woeful example of the art of finishing by a player hoping for a new contract.
Boa Morte needs to be careful here. He has been penalised for snapping at Dirk Kuyt and he is clearly harbouring a lingering sense of injustice that he would do well to lose before he gets sent off.
Corner to West Ham but Upson's header is wide of the mark and Reina guides it behind with his eyes for a goal-kick.
Luis Boa Morte - you silly, silly man. That goal, already, is looking as if it will kill this game.
GOAL: Green makes the save from Gerrard's spot-kick but the midfielder (striker?) follows up to bang home the rebound and his second of the afternoon.
Penalty to Liverpool as Boa Morte pushes Torres to the floor. It looks like a piece of needless petulance from Boa Morte following that Mascherano incident moments earlier.
Another late tackle from Mascherano should have resulted in a free-kick for the Hammers but it is not given by Alan Wiley.
Martin Skrtel looks like a tough cookie but I heard his yelp of pain from here as David Di Michele put in a very late tackle on him.
Good covering back from Kuyt to deny Mark Noble on the edge of the Liverpool penalty area.
Neat turn from Di Michele but Mascherano had scampered back dutifully to put in a well-timed tackle on him.
Reina punches a ball away with not a West Ham shirt in sight to trouble him.
Gerrard diverts a ball back to Reina in the Liverpool goal. It's been relatively comfortable so far for Liverpool.
Assured defending from young Tomkins there to thwart ex-Hammer Benayoun who had broken in acres of space.
Noble takes it and whips in a delicious free-kick which Reina cannot reach with his punch. Luckily for him Kovac heads it just over.
Arbeloa penalised after a nice Cryuff turn from Noble fooled him. Free-kick to West Ham out on the left.
A promising move from the Hammers ends with a woeful cross from Stanislas out on the left that ends up closer to the linesman than any of the players.
Good play from Gerrard in the midfield to win the ball back and break up a West Ham move.
Aurelio taps it to Gerrard who skies his shot high in to the stands. It's a popular destination from the sound of it.
Hasrh there from referee Alan Wiley who punishes James Tomkins for a foul on Torres. Free-kick to Liverpool about thirty yards out.
Great thumping header from Ilunga to clear as Benayoun lurked in the West Ham box.
Boa Morte shows good strength to battle in to the Liverpool penalty area but, once there, sheer weight of Liverpool numbers and a lack of supporting team-mates sees him lose possession.
Gerrard sends Torres on his way with a fifty yard ball. Liverpool then stroke it around looking for a way through but the Hammers win it back.
Ilunga totally misjudges the flight of a long ball and is forced to scramble back to put in a tackle on Kuyt for a corner. Green flaps at it and Torres then blasts an effort over the West Ham goal.
Torres is tumbled to the ground by Kovac who concedes a free-kick. The game has slowed down considerably though after that breathless opening.
Reina comes tearing out of his penalty area to reach a ball that Diego Tristan had claims on.
The only noise coming from Upton Park at the minute is the muffled chants emerging from the visitors section as the home crowd take time to digest the scoreline. West Ham have settled somewhat though and this time Boa Morte gets a better cross in but Dirk Kuyt is back to clear.
Luis Boa Morte speeds down the wing and flights over a cross that is too close to Pepe Reina. The Liverpool keeper takes it easily.
Benayoun almost threads it to Torres in the Hammers penalty area but Matthew Upson was able to block the ball's path.
Javier Mascherano shows Di Michele who is boss with a thumping tackle. Mascherano is of course returning to the ground where he started his Premier League career.
Zola is looking a little shocked on the bench as well he might. What a start for Liverpool.
Green had to look smart there to come from his line to claim a ball that Torres was eyeing covetously.
GOAL: Yowzer! Gerrard and Torres combine with devastating simplicity as the Spaniard slips it through to the onrushing Gerrard. He beats the offside trap and then West Ham keeper Rob Green as he rounds him to fire in his 22nd goal of the season. They're not bad are they those two?
Liverpool are playing in their dark green away strip and very nice it is too by the way.
Veteran duo David Di Michele and Diego Tristan lead the Hammers frontline and we are about to get underway. Some mutual backslapping between Benitez and Gianfranco Zola on the sidelines. Torres gets the ball rolling.
Fernando Torres also starts but fellow Spaniard Xavi Alonso misses out after the unwanted attentions of feral fiend Joey Barton last Sunday. West Ham are in with a great shout of the Europa League so this promises to be a tough match for Liverpool. Anything less than a win though will see their already slim title hopes fade to black.
Still though there's a title up for grabs and, even if the destination of that trophy is unlikely to be Merseyside it's best to give it a go eh? Liverpool will move top of the table today if they beat West Ham at Upton Park and they have Steven Gerrard back to help them in that task.
Spare a thought for Liverpool. Whilst three quarters of the big four ran a range of emotions in midweek from rank humiliation to triumphant joy and shattering despondency, Rafa Benitez's men were left with their nose pressed up against the window watching the Champions League drama unfold.
Join us at 1730 for commentary on Liverpool's crucial game at Upton Park against West Ham.