Liverpool’s Little Man Is Their Big Game Player
Philippe Coutinho has been out for nine games and Liverpool have missed him massively in that period.
The Brazilian showed just how important he is here with an exquisite free-kick with a difference. He showed the nous and the ability to simply stroke the ball under the jumping Hammers wall and make Darren Randolph look a fool.
The top four looks a little beyond them now but with plenty of other trophies to be won, getting their number 10 on the field could prove crucial. They may have lost here but he gave glimpses of what he can do. Big players produce big moments and he is massive for the Reds.
Reid-less West Ham Could Be A Worry
Winston Reid is probably one of the most underrated centre-backs in the Premier League and it baffles as to why none of the perceived ‘bigger clubs’ have made a move for him.
He is pivotal to this West Ham outfit and it will have been a real worry to Hammers supporters that he went off clasping his hamstring and will surely be out for a number of weeks if not months.
The east Londoners are fighting for a place in Europe, maybe even the top four in the Premier League and the absence of the Kiwi will be a huge blow. It also appeared that his replacement James Collins was then struggling with a knock. A defensive crisis would be a cruel blow.
Brad Smith Should Be Playing In The Premier League
The Australian full-back has been bigged-up quite a lot by those in the know at Anfield. He has impressed in the youth setup and he caught the eye again here.
He grabbed a goal against Exeter in the last round and his persistent forays down the left flank meant he was a constant threat, his delivery isn’t too bad either. The Reds could have had at least two goals from his intelligent balls into the box this evening.
At Upton Park he showed his attacking talents once more but also looked calm and composed in defence. Alberto Moreno hasn’t exactly pulled up any trees this term and Klopp could do a lot worse than giving the academy gradute a shot at the bread and butter.
Antonio Is A Happy Hammer
The signing of Michail Anotnio wasn’t greeted with any real fanfare but it stood out as quite a clever bit of business by West Ham. A powerful, quick winger with an eye for a goal. What is not to like?
He didn’t really feature in the starting XI much at the start of the campaign but in the second half of the season he has really started to make his mark.
He grabbed a goal here with a superb technical finish as he volleyed across Mignolet from a left-wing cross. One of his greatest strengths is coming in from his wing to meet crosses from the left and he has already bagged a few this term, including in the league against Liverpool. He’s slowly becoming a key player for Bilic.
Positive Signs For Studge
Daniel Sturridge after what feels like his 138,000th lay off since he signed for Liverpool and while he didn’t really pull up any trees, he looked sharp and his touch was good.
The England man is one of those players who always takes a while to find his feet and match fitness again. It appeared that might be the case when he dallied on a through ball soon after he came on but after that he was alert and alive.
His movement was good and his build up play will have impressed Klopp. So often on his returns the ball has bounced off him and he has struggled to get up with the pace, that wasn’t the case here and he was massively unlucky not to get his goal in extra-time.