Football

Steven Gerrard double sends Liverpool top

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On a controversial afternoon at Upton Park, Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League thanks to a brace from captain Steven Gerrard. 

In truth, the game never really got going for 40 minutes. Chances were few and far between, with Luis Suarez proving the main tormentor to the West Ham goal in the opening period.

The Uruguayan struck a free-kick early on which just crept over Adrian's goal, and mid-way through the first half he was denied by the cross bar, as his inspired chip rebounded off the wood-work.

West Ham – despite not creating much – were doing enough to prove they were in the game, and with Andy Carroll causing the Reds back-line a few problems, the Hammers were fighting and battling for every ball.

But, as the game continued, Liverpool were starting to find their rhythm, and with Steven Gerrard dictating play in the middle of the park, the likes of Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge both had half chances for Rodgers' side.

With minutes remaining in the first half, a piece of Suarez magic gave Liverpool the chance to take the lead, as James Tomkins handled in the penalty area and was consequently booked.

Up stepped Gerrard as he calmly slotted the ball past Adrian to give the Reds what looked like a half-time lead.

However, West Ham had other ideas, and with a minute remaining in the first half they scored in controversial style.

From a corner, it appeared that Andy Carroll had fouled Simon Mignolet in the Reds goal as Guy Demel smashed home from close range. The linesman consequently flagged for the foul, however referee Anthony Taylor over ruled him and the two sides went in level at half-time.

The second half started in similar fashion to the first with Liverpool controlling things, but struggling to create clear cut chances.

A couple of timid Daniel Sturridge efforts weren’t really threatening the West Ham goal.

Then – on the hour mark - came the moment Andy Carroll had been waiting for, as the ball from the right-wing was hit with perfection, but the forward struck the cross bar and failed to give his side the lead against his former colleagues.

With the game two thirds of the way through, yet another controversial decision overshadowed the afternoon as the Reds were handed a second penalty after Adrian brought down Flannagan, despite it appearing that he took the ball first.

And Gerrard - just as he did at Old Trafford last month - scored his second penalty of the afternoon.

The goal gave Liverpool a boost in confidence, and the Reds almost extended their lead after some nice play by Sterling and Co, but Suarez fluffed his lines for once.

West Ham kept going, but offered little from open play throughout. Suarez – like he did in the first half – struck the bar again, but the Reds failed to extend their lead in front of the travelling away support.

The striker once again came close at the end, but it didn't matter as the Reds held out and returned to the top of the Premier League table. Led by the brilliant and inspirational Gerrard, this Liverpool team really could be celebrating the title next month.

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Topics:
Football
Liverpool
West Ham United
Premier League

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