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West Ham: Flynn Downes failed David Moyes’ test v Liverpool

To quote the theme tune of famous sitcom FRIENDS, West Ham have felt like they’ve been “stuck in second gear” this season, with the Irons never truly setting the world alight during the course of the opening few months of 2022/23.

It marks a stark contrast to last term when David Moyes’ men were firing on all cylinders. European football was the ambition and they achieved that for another year while reaching the semi-finals of the Europa League in the process.

The task to qualify again is a tricky one, though, particularly with the Hammers now sitting in 13th on just 11 points.

Their new signings haven’t quite fired but there have been more encouraging signs in recent weeks. Indeed, Gianluca Scamacca had scored in consecutive outings before taking on Southampton and then losing 1-0 to Liverpool on Wednesday evening.

Although the Reds have been below par this campaign, Anfield was always going to be a difficult place to go, particularly after their revitalising 1-0 triumph against Manchester City last Sunday.

Moyes’ side could easily have left with a share of the spoils, however, after Jarrod Bowen saw a penalty saved excellently by Alisson.

That miss and indeed Scamacca’s anonymity were big negatives but there was one positive; the performance of Flynn Downes.

There have been several calls for the summer signing to start of late and after a run on the continental stage, he was finally given his first Premier League start against Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Although he was substituted with 16 minutes still left to play, it was still a superb performance from the 23-year-old who has already earned comparisons to Declan Rice since his arrival.

Downes was able to mop up play astutely with his all-round attributes firmly on show against one of the best sides in the division.

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West Ham United manager David Moyes applauds the fans

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From a defensive point of view, the midfielder made an impressive four ball recoveries, while making one headed clearance. Clearly hard-working, the former Swansea technician played two passes into the final third as he looked to put his team on the front foot, while he also had one shot blocked after finding room inside the penalty area.

It felt like Downes, who took 32 touches, was everywhere on what was a “massive night” in terms of his West Ham career – as per journalist Malik Ouzia.

Given an opportunity to finally impress from the off in a top-flight encounter, he evidently grabbed the chance with both hands and staked his claim for a regular spot in the starting XI.

When they face Bournemouth next Monday, the all-action midfielder simply has to be unleashed again.

Article title: West Ham: Flynn Downes failed David Moyes’ test v Liverpool

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