The Jurgen Klopp era continued in its rather inconsistent pattern this afternoon as West Ham United eased to a 2-0 win over the Reds in the last ever game between the two at Upton Park.
It is the first time in 50 years that the Hammers have recorded successive wins over the Merseyside giants, and while the visitors fared somewhat better than they did in the 3-0 loss at Anfield earlier this term, it was a reasonably miserable afternoon.
Michail Antonio controversially bested Alberto Moreno in a challenge within the first 10 minutes, bringing the Spaniard down. While there were calls for a foul, nothing was awarded and the former Nottingham Forest winger turned defence into attack in just 21 seconds as he raced down the park to nod home from close range.
To rub salt into their wounds, Andy Carroll doubled the advantage in the second half with a thumping header. The towering Geordie proved just how effective his style of play with a powerful header, in light of Christian Benteke’s struggles up top.
What did we learn? Well, have a read of these FIVE things.
Despite his match winning form going into 2016, the 25-year old endured a thoroughly miserable early afternoon in East London. The former Aston Villa ace had previously failed to truly convince he was a worthy signing at £32m, with suggestions he did not suit Klopp’s style of play.
To be fair, he was not afforded a whole lot in the way of service, but the Belgian’s repeated struggles to impose himself upon proceedings were exacerbated in light of Andy Carroll’s success.
The England international leapt like a salmon to beat both Dejan Lovren and Simon Mignolet in the air and nod home. What really was the point in selling Carroll and buying Benteke? They cost pretty much the same and offer very similar attributes.
Brendan Rodgers logic I guess.
The injury crisis at West Ham reared its ugly head again this afternoon as playmaker Manuel Lanzini was dragged off just before half-time with a thigh injury. It’s a shame for the Argentine ace, who had only recently returned from a similar injury. Before that, the 22-year old had the post with a fantastic effort.
However, there was signs of encouragement as Dimitri Payet returned to proceedings and reminded fans just what he can do. The Frenchman produced marvellous flicks and tricks in his cameo and showed no signs of rust having been out injured since 7th November.
The Hammers surely have a great chance on launch a European assault with the 28-year old in the side and other injuries letting up.
Dimitri Payet's Premier League season by numbers: 46 chances created 17 take-ons 3 assists 5 goals Key man. pic.twitter.com/3MNru1JhP9
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 2, 2016
Andy Carroll netted in consecutive games for the first time in almost a year as the 26-year old endeavours to stake an outside claim for making the England squad for Euro 2016. While the likes of Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane are currently the talk of the town, perhaps the former Newcastle man could force his way into the reckoning at international level.
After all, he provides a wonderful alternative to the pace of Vardy and the traditional all round centre-forward style of Kane. Question marks remain over Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Daniel Welbeck.
With a run of games under his belt, the Geordie ace could really give Roy Hodgson a selection headache. Remember his header in the last Euros? More of the same.
What really is the point in Roberto Firmino? The Brazilian was largely ineffective all day, and barring one good game at Manchester City, has been throughout his time at Anfield.
The 24-year old arrived with a big reputation but has struggled for form and fitness. Granted, his interplay with Philippe Coutinho during the rout at the Etihad was hugely exciting, but there has been nothing else. A truly poor return on the £29m spent.
He rarely produced anything remotely incisive behind Benteke and his passing was sloppy. He’s not a natural wide option. So what is he? A huge disappointment so far.
James Collins was in imperious form this afternoon, clearly buoyed over signing a new two-year deal to presumably end his top level career with the club he loves. At 32 years of age, there had been suggestions the Welsh international could be shipped off to Sunderland.
However, the Welshman put such speculation behind him and was a rock at the heart of the Hammers backline. A wonderful 23 clearances and three blocks capped off a truly dominant display for the Welsh international.
James Collins defensive game by numbers: 23 clearances 4 aerial duels won 3 blocks 2 tackles won Dominant display pic.twitter.com/jk0SsAdUKq
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 2, 2016