Liverpool were sent on a rocky path that could shape the season to come as the Reds are now left playing catch up in the league.
After success in Europe, this will hard to stomach for Liverpool fans as the team begins what is going to be a busy Premier League season already with the Champions League fixtures added to the Liverpool agenda.
A visit to Upton Park was supposed to be a formality on the way to another successful season, and a visit from Aston Villa to Anfield equally a match that was expected to bring the points to the cause. In reality, Liverpool have crashed and burned with only a short few games in. This latest outing is more than the message taken from last week’s game, it was the dent in confidence Liverpool needed to avoid as the team contemplates a season without Suarez adding his dimension to the Liverpool attack force.
It was a weekend Liverpool could have caught up by 2 points with Chelsea and Man City, but is now one where despite only dropping a point behind the team’s two main rivals, new threats to the Liverpool campaign to remain in the Champions League could start to come from Tottenham and Arsenal; while luckily Manchester United are still suffering during their post-Ferguson era.
It was a hard game to watch as Liverpool once again dominated possession, but just couldn’t seem to hold to it long enough to make anything worse. The team did break a record, and that was because Sterling hit in a 26 minute goal meaning Liverpool are now the only team in top flight football to have scored 17 successive away games.
62% of the ball and 11 shots with 5 on target is usually more than enough for Liverpool to close up shop and take the points, but West Ham were just as pushy as we have seen Liverpool play in the past. West Ham took 2 more attempts on goal then Liverpool and 7 of those were on target, again 2 more on target than Liverpool, and it was this that made the difference between Liverpool at least walking away with a point.
West Ham attacked quickly and goals from Winston Reid (2nd Minute) and Diafra Sakho (7th Minute) already put Liverpool on the back foot who spend the rest of the game looking worried about letting in a third rather than try to catch up on the early deficit.
After Liverpool gained a little rhythm, the team started to shine and Sterling grabbed a goal to close the early gap after he latched onto a rebound from a Balotelli shot. It was great to see the impact of the new Italian sticker taking its toll on West Ham as he forced the pressure to bring the goal. Balotelli was booked as emotions ran high and he clashed with West Ham keeper Adrian.
More bad news to Liverpool as the match resulted in another player being added to a long list of injuries already being build up at Anfield. New signing Manquillo had to be replaced by Sakho as the injury meant he could not continue.
It is tough to know what Liverpool can take from this fixture. A shockingly unlucky start shows that the team need to more lively from the off. Only the draw between City and Chelsea makes the league table still not looking so bad in terms of points gaps still with Chelsea running away with it.