Now let's get something straight from the start. This is NOT a good Liverpool team. It is a shadow of the great Liverpool teams that have rolled us over year after year at Anfield. They were beaten at home by the King's Head, Blackpool for pity's sake! Yes they beat Chelsea, but Chelsea were without Lampard and Drogba - and look at the Plastics' last two results anyway! Gerrard didn't play either, and Liverpool lose 50% of their side when he doesn't make it on to the pitch. But even 50% of a very ordinary Liverpool team were enough to murder us!
Why? Because, just like last year, we arrived at Anfield without any heart, desire, belief or game plan. The decision to set up 4-3-3 was brave but utterly foolhardy. And the time it took Grant to change things around was pathetic. At one point, before Liverpool had scored, the commentator said, "Liverpool are comfortable and West Ham are compliant" and that said it all. Grant stood, Zola and Roeder like, on the touchline, doing nothing. We were yelling, "They're not closing, why the hell are they not closing" but Grant just stood there, looking glum, looking resigned, looking mournful, looking utterly clueless.
What in God's name was going on? Liverpool players ambled into acres of space between our defence and midfield, and absolutely NOBODY went with them. Nobody marked. Nobody tracked. Nobody closed. In fact, nobody in a white shirt bloody moved!
And nobody shouted either. Not Grant. Not Upson. Not Green. Nobody. There was no anger, no passion, no fury, no recriminations, no attempt to put things right. Green blinked. Upson stared. Grant glowered. But nobody said or did anything. They just waited for Liverpool to score. Then waited for Liverpool to score again. And then waited for Liverpool to score a third. Grant did revert to 4-4-2 eventually but it seemed like some sort of divine afterthought. Why the switch wasn't made after five minutes, by which time Liverpool had already had three shots, is completely beyond me.
In the stands, Sullivan and Gold also sat in silence but something will be said tomorrow, that's for sure. The fans, of course, found their voices, singing the name of Di Canio. I would favour Pardew personally.
Did anybody play well or even decently? Green made two superb saves but was hopeless the two times he was tested under crosses. Noble tried valiantly but what chance did he stand? The team had no shape and it was back to the very worst days of Zola. In fact, the performance was identical to our surrender last April at Anfield. So much so, that I was tempted to just copy last season's match report, but Gerrard played last year, and Torres this, so the Liverpool teams were different.
Outside of Green and Noble, the team were utterly useless to a man. Ilunga was out of position every time Liverpool attacked and made no attempt to hurry back. Gabbidon was hopeless. Upson was terrible. Boa was Boa. Kovac was Kovac. Cole was comatose, Piquionne anaesthetised and Obinna embarrassing. And Jacobsen looked like a Blackburn reject. Big Benni came on and did nothing. Barrera came on and did very little. Tomkins came on and was played out of position.
We needed to fight like Blackpool fought at Upton Park last Saturday. Instead, we set up deckchairs as if on Blackpool prom and let Liverpool pass round and through us. It was embarrassing and disgraceful and showed that these gutless bastards should be sacked to a man!
Player ratings: Green 6; Jacobsen 3, Upson 3, Gabbidon 1, Ilunga 1; Kovac 2, Boa 1, Noble 5; Obinna 1, Cole 2, Piquionne 3 Subs: McCarthy 1, Barrera 3, Tomkins 4