A cruel defeat for Liverpool to take, it was largely undeserved on the run of play. A mixed side of youth and experience took on a full strength West Ham outfit, and held their own for the majority of the game. After Coutinho’s equaliser cancelled out Antonio’s volleyed opener, Liverpool took the initiative but could not bury their chances- particularly the wasteful Christian Benteke. In the 120th minute, Ogbonna headed the winner from a Payet free kick to dump Klopp’s side out of the FA Cup, leaving Liverpool with only the League Cup final and the Europa League as realistic objectives in this most painful of seasons. Here’s how I rated our players on the night.
Simon Mignolet- 6/10
After his error against Sunderland at the weekend, Mignolet retained his place in goal and made a couple of smart saves from Payet and Noble. However, he remained unconvincing when challenging in the air, flapping at high balls, whilst his distribution remains highly erratic.
Jon Flanagan- 6/10
Typically robust and committed as ever, Flanagan was most solid in defence and got forward well on a few occasions, most notably setting up a late Sturridge chance. Also had a near-post header cleared off the line from a corner. Allowed too many crosses to come in from his side, however, and was dragged out of position in the build up to the opening goal.
Tiago Ilori- 6/10
His score would have been higher, if he had not clearly dragged over Valencia for what should have been a stonewall penalty. Otherwise, it was an impressive display by the Portuguese defender who read the play well and proved strong in the challenge. A few nervy passes but generally sound in possession.
Lucas Leiva- 8/10
Again, he would have earned at least one mark higher had he not conceded the needless late free kick which invited the pressure and allowed West Ham the chance to score the winning goal. Aside from this, Lucas was impeccable at centre back, constantly in the right position and organising those around him. Just a shame he let himself down with the unnecessary foul in the last minute.
Brad Smith- 5/10
Terrific going forwards, timing his runs well and providing a constant outlet on the overlap, with the delivery to go with it. However, he got beaten too easily on several occasions in defence and was caught on his heels as Antonio was left free to score the opener at the back post.
Pedro Chirivella- 6/10
His first ever start for Liverpool, and the 18 year-old Spaniard did not look out of place against a team of established Premier League players. He moved the ball around swiftly and accurately and was never afraid to show for the ball. Not remotely overawed by the occasion. Did his credentials no harm.
Kevin Stewart- 8/10
Stewart has been a fixture in Liverpool’s cup sides this season but this was by far his outstanding performance. The amount of crunching tackles and perfectly-timed interceptions he made to break up play was immense. Showed plenty of confidence to stride forward with the ball, and provided a robust physical presence at the base of midfield. After this display he is surely pushing for a Premier League start.
Joao Teixeira- 5/10
A few fleeting moments of skill and some clever touches, but not enough substantial influence and generally spent the game on the periphery, before being replaced on the hour mark. Missed a good opportunity from the edge of the area in the first half.
Jordon Ibe- 5/10
Made some purposeful forward runs but rarely found himself in a position to threaten the West Ham goal, aside from a well-struck 20 yard effort towards the end of normal time. Sometimes lazy in tracking back.
Philippe Coutinho- 7/10
Adds a touch of class to this Liverpool side and looked bright on his return from injury. Unlucky to hit the post in the first half from Benteke’s cut back, but scored the equaliser with an audacious and superbly creative free kick as he anticipated the wall to jump, calmly rolling the ball underneath and into the net. Pure genius.
Christian Benteke- 3/10
I don’t normally like to single out individuals when Liverpool lose, but Benteke’s wastefulness in front of goal cost his team dear. The Belgian could easily have had four or five goals to his name, but repeatedly failed to convert, most notably when shooting straight at the keeper at a one-on-one situation- a repetitive feature this season. Also found himself needlessly offside on several occasions. Very, very poor.
Daniel Sturridge- 7/10
Considering he hasn’t played for 2 months, Sturridge looked remarkably sharp, and immediately injected Liverpool with his pace and quality on the ball. Showed plenty of clever touches and came close with a fierce 25-yard drive and a near-post flick at the end. Great to have him back…for now.
Divock Origi- 5/10
Operating from the left flank, Origi had a limited effect on the game and missed a decent opportunity from a tight angle when sent through on goal by Sturridge.
James Milner- N/A
Very quiet cameo appearance, replacing Chirivella in extra time.