West Ham vs. Liverpool: Final score 2-3 as Joe Cole sparks Reds comeback

Scott Heavey

So that was fun. Liverpool battled back from a 2-1 deficit at Upton Park to claim a vital -- and surprising -- victory. Outplayed by West Ham United for much of the match, the Reds seized a surprising equaliser through Joe Cole and didn't look back, closing out a 3-2 victory in comfortable fashion.

With Luis Suarez out, Brendan Rodgers' men needed a scoring threat, and for the opening fifteen minutes it was Glen Johnson who provided it. The right back did his best Lionel Messi impression, proving essentially untackle-able as he waltzed through the Hammers' defence at will, and he put Liverpool 1-0 up with a superb strike 11 minutes in. There wasn't much of a threat when he cut in from the right, but the defender unleashed a thunderbolt straight into the top corner, leaving Jussi Jaaskelainen utterly helpless.

The visitors couldn't maintain their frenetic pace, though, and West Ham slowly got a foothold in the match. By the time they got their equaliser, the hosts had been the dominant force for almost twenty minutes, and although the penalty call against Joe Allen was perhaps harsh, West Ham certainly deserved a goal -- Mark Noble sent Pepe Reina the wrong way to draw the Hammers level.

But that state of affairs didn't last long. Steven Gerrard is used to giving Liverpool important leads, but this time he handed West Ham the advantage by deflecting a free kick into his own net 43 minutes in. For most of the rest of the match, it looked as though the hosts would be adding to their 2-1 lead rather than conceding again. That was mostly thanks to Mohamed Diame, who was absolutely dominating the midfield for the second match in a row.

That changed when the former Wigan man pulled up with a hamstring injury injury 73 minutes in, denying West Ham their dynamo. Liverpool took full advantage, restoring parity with a thoughtful finish from Joe Cole before James Collins deflected a Jordan Henderson cross into his own net while under heavy pressure from Jonjo Shelvey.

The customary West Ham aerial bombardment began shortly thereafter, but they never seriously threatened Reina's goal again, and Liverpool closed the match out fairly easily. It wasn't the prettiest win, but it was a win, and the Reds find themselves in the top half of the table for the first time this season.

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