We knew it wasn’t going to be easy but we can take heart from the fact our recent run of games have gone a lot better than it could have been. We’re not the only ones who suffered under the man who’s in the zone at the moment.
Yes, our defence may have been pulled apart by Gareth Bale at White Hart Lane, and there was a certain naivety to the way we approached the match there but the way we regrouped at Old Trafford shows we have a spirit, a fight and a resolve that West Ham teams of two years ago and before would never have displayed. Last Wednesday was one of those great good old fashioned midweek calendar nights – getting home from work and settling down in front of the TV with eight channels of glorious Premier League matches to flick through back in the warmth of Dubai.
It’s somewhat fortuitous this weekend’s opponents were making the trip to White Hart Lane merely days after our defeat and with their kick off fifteen minutes before ours it was a good chance to see whether Liverpool were able to do any better than us. It’s worth remembering that before the game Liverpool had actually gone eight games undefeated in the Premier League since their 2-1 reverse against Manchester United back in September, a game they were unlucky to lose. OK, they’d drawn five of those matches but from a shaky start it seemed Brendan Rodgers had been increasingly stamping his authority on the team.
But they were also undone by a certain Mr Bale and a whirlwind start from Tottenham who’d gone two goals up just as we were going one goal down. And a whirlwind start is exactly what we need this weekend. We cannot afford to be sluggish at kick off like we’ve seen already a little bit too often this season. Hit the ground running and attack and get our noses in front as soon as possible. Liverpool looked particularly vulnerable down the wings with Johnson struggling to contain Bale (although anyone would struggle at the moment), so it’s vital we get the ball to Jarvis as early as we can for him to pelt down the wing, find his range, and start delivering those pinpoint crosses in to the danger area. It will be tough, it will require stamina, determination and 100pc attacking belief and focused concentration in defence.
Liverpool are sometimes guilty of passing for the sake of passing, a criticism leveled at Brendan Rodgers the season before with Swansea, so if we harry and press we’ll have a good chance of breaking up their play before it reaches our danger area and ensure the ball doesn’t get through to Sterling, with his pace, nor Suarez. Obviously Liverpool are a good side, they wouldn’t be in the Premier League if they weren’t, but are they any better than say West Brom, Everton, Fulham, or Swansea? Probably not. In this case the table doesn’t lie and one win away says as much, four draws away says a whole lot more.
And if we need any more motivation and incentive remember 20 months ago, West Ham lifting themselves off the bottom of the league with an exhilarating 3-1 victory, again on a Sunday, again at 4pm, and at Upton Park.