West Ham pulled off another upset on Monday night as they came back from one down to draw with league leaders Liverpool at the London Stadium and surely sent Manchester City fans into hysteria, as the gap at the top of the table is now reduced to just three points.
The Hammers desperately needed a boost against the Reds, having lost their last four in all competitions – including a 3-0 loss to Wolves and a giant-killing at the hands of Wimbledon in the FA Cup – and put in a performance to be proud of as they snatched a point.
The Reds were definitely not quite at the races, but Manuel Pellegrini’s side were on top form – even Angelo Ogbonna, who has been scapegoated for West Ham’s frailties in recent weeks, was immense at the heart of defence.
If West Ham are to achieve a respectable finish in the Premier League this season considering their expenditure in the summer, then getting the best out of Felipe Anderson on a consistent basis is an absolute must – any doubters of his quality prior to Monday night’s clash, though, are surely silenced now.
Despite playing on the left flank, the Brazilian was at the centre of West Ham’s creation and was influential pretty much every time the Irons looked to hit Liverpool on the break; completing four key passes – a figure bested only by James Milner in the game – Anderson was constantly involved going forward.
Far from a spectator when his team were required to batten down the hatches and defend, the former Lazio man completed three interceptions – a joint-match-high with Ogbonna – capitalising on some sloppy Liverpool passing to seize the ball and set his side away on the attack.
Milner was the bright spark in an otherwise lacklustre Liverpool side but even he struggled to deal with Anderson, who completed three dribbles against a team boasting the league’s best defensive record.
The 25-year-old may not have got on the scoresheet in the style that he has done on many occasions this season – he loves to cut in from the left onto his favoured right foot and let loose a long-shot – but his all-round performance deservedly earned him the man of the match award.
Not for the want of trying though, Anderson did take one shot on goal, but it was a pass that got fans on their feet, as opposed to a 25-yard screamer. The number 8 was stood over a free-kick with Robert Snodgrass, who laid it off and allowed for Anderson to slide a ball around the wall to the onrushing Michail Antonio, who found the corner of Alisson’s net.
The assist was something quite special and had clearly been practised on the training ground – hopefully we see more of these routines going forward as, if they work against Liverpool, they could work against anyone.
Anderson’s Monday night showing was surely one of his best against top-six sides this season if you are looking at his game by numbers – he and Pellegrini will be hoping a similar standard will be produced in a few weeks’ time, when the Irons visit champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
The speedster outshone all of Liverpool’s revered front three – not an easy feet – and his boss must be loving it after the criticism the £42m man received in his underwhelming first couple of months as a West Ham player.
Who is West Ham’s worst ever signing? Check out the video below for a pretty strong candidate for the dubious honour…