Saturday 8 December 2012

Liverpool: The new West Ham

Sunday 9th December brings together West Ham and Liverpool for an intriguing battle where former Upton Park favourite, Glen Johnson will square up against ex-Red Yossi Benayoun. Recent years has seen considerable transfer activity between these two clubs such that a team composed of stars who have played for both clubs makes up an impressive  ‘West Pool XI’.  Dave Hammer and Walter Scouser give their verdict on how well these players performed during their spells at each club.  

Dave Hammer says:

Walter Scouser says

Hilarious character. Very talented keeper and all round fun guy. He almost single-handedly kept the Hammers afloat during the relegation season of 2003 but stayed faithful to the cause for a season in the Championship until Man City came a calling. Verdict 8/10
The only goalkeeper to have played for both clubs and one of the most talented of his generation, ‘Calamity’ never realised his potential. Career highlight? Had to be ‘that suit’ at the 1996 FA Cup Final. Verdict: 6/10

Drafted into a sinking ship as a mere 17 year old he showed remarkable maturity but Uncle Trev’s heroes couldn’t dodge relegation and Chelsea pounced. His subsequent career has never quite realised that early potential but he was excellent for the Hammers. 8/10.
The arrival of Brendan Rodgers has finally got Glen playing like he did at West Ham. Rob Jones, whose single appearance for the Hammers in the 1999 Intertoto Cup, made him eligible for selection, almost gets the nod at right back, though. Verdict 7/10

Had a decent two year spell at Upton Park helping us to a European placing in 1998. Always pushing the limits, Naughty Neil picked up more than his fair share of bookings usually for hauling back opposition forwards as his declining pace became a millstone. Verdict 7/10.
Provided much needed steel to Liverpool’s defence when signed from Spurs in 1993 for £2.5million. Didn’t survive long after the arrival of Gerard Houllier in 1998 and was transferred to West Ham for £300,000. Verdict 6/10

Signed for £2.5m from Liverpool to replace Rio Ferdinand in 2000. Did not live up to expectations. Verdict 4/10
Performed reasonably well for the Reds but mainly as a right back. Never quite matched his International success and slipped off the selection radar before being released to West Ham. Verdict 5/10.

Absolute legend. 100% uncompromising and committed. His skilfulness was often underestimated by opponents, including a deadly left foot. Amazingly for a defender, he averaged a goal every five games over a 262 game Hammers career! Verdict 10/10.
An uncompromising left back who came to Liverpool in a swap deal involving David Burrows and Mike Marsh. Why? Verdict 3/10

Although he upset Hammers faithful during a messy departure,  he was a top performer whilst at the club. Ironically his greatest performance was probably vs Liverpool in a 4-1 League cup mauling where he scored all 4 Hammers goals. Verdict 8/10.
The ultimate box to box player. Came to Liverpool after a successful career with West Ham, Manchester United and Inter Milan. Like Neil Ruddock, was one of the infamous team of Spice Boys who did not survive the arrival of Gerard Houllier. Verdict 6/10

One half of the crazy signing that ultimately cost the Hammers much financial heartache. Appeared lost and strangely out of his depth during his spell in East London and seemed relieved to escape to Liverpool. Verdict 4/10.
Signed from West Ham in 2008 and dubbed a ‘monster of a player’ by Rafa Benitez. Two seasons that established him as one of Europe’s finest central midfielders were to follow before a £24 million transfer to Barcelona. Left a gap in midfield which Raul Meireles struggled to fill. Verdict 9/10

All round likeable guy, young Joey was a thrilling prospect who delivered lots of eye catching trickery but without major product whilst at West Ham. Another for whom circumstances conspired to force a premature exit but fondly remembered at Upton Park and don’t outrule a return. Verdict 7/10
Though arrived to the club as Roy Hodgson's first signing, has failed to deliver the form he showed for Chelsea. A lengthy loan spell with Lille, his recent Europa Cup performance against Young Boys suggests he may be another who will benefit from the Brendan Rogers system. Verdict 3/10

Classy midfielder who performed with gusto during his first Hammers period and has looked the real deal since his recent return. Hammers fans will be hoping that he is fit for the fixture vs his former employers. Verdict 7/10. 
Moved to Liverpool from West Ham in somewhat, ahem, controversial circumstances in 2007. Was starting to really develop as a player until transferred to Chelsea in 2009. Known to pub quiz afficionados as ‘the only player to score Premiership, Champion’s League and FA Cup hat tricks ‘. Verdict 8/10

An ‘interesting’ character – moody and unforgiving of underperforming colleagues but a real gamechanger with his pace and finishing. Hammers career blighted by injury and  petered out as we came off the rails (again) allowing him to go to Man City for £14million. Verdict 6/10
Joined Liverpool in 2006 and after one moderately successful season (involving an alleged incident with a putter), became West Ham United’s record signing in a £7.5 million  transfer. Returned to Anfield for another season in 2011, which saw him partner well with Andy Carroll. Verdict 6/10

Hammers fans wondered what Big Sam was on about when he suggested that signing Carroll would make the difference between struggling to stay up or not but he has justified Allardyce’s faith and despite only scoring his first goal last weekend, he has proven a game changer making the Hammers a difficult team to play against. Verdict 8/10
With Nando Torres on his way to Chelsea for £50 million, Andy Carroll’s £35 million transfer from Newcastle made him the most expensive British footballer of all time (hard to believe Luis Suarez cost ‘only’ £23 million on the same day). Now on loan at Upton Park, will West Ham make the move a permanent one at the end of the season? Verdict 7/10

 Substitutes: Paul Konchesky, David Burrows, Don Hutchison, Robbie Keane, Titi Camara.
So, with the exception of Javier Mascherano, there is a clear pattern of players performing better whilst at the supportive and homely atmosphere at West Ham compared to the pressure of expectation at Liverpool.  Maybe more underperformers at Anfield should head south to realise their true potential?


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