Anfield horror show

Fans calling for Rodgers' head

A dismal match for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers got worse after playmaker Philippe Coutinho was sent off in the second half of the Reds' 0-3 capitulation against West Ham at Anfield.
A dismal match for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers got worse after playmaker Philippe Coutinho was sent off in the second half of the Reds' 0-3 capitulation against West Ham at Anfield.PHOTO: REUTERS

LIVERPOOL • The Beatles were at No. 1 in the pop charts with She Loves You when West Ham United last won at Liverpool.

Since that 2-1 win in September 1963, their supporters have traipsed back to east London 42 times without tangible reward.

No longer. Nearly 52 years on, a second win finally and emphatically came for Slaven Bilic's side, who pulled off a shock 3-0 victory at Anfield on Saturday - a result which may spell goodbye for beleaguered Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.

Boos rang out at half-time from the Kop after Liverpool's aimless display saw them 0-2 down. Even before the end of the match, swathes of fans trooped away, returning only to fans' forums and social media to call for Rodgers' head.

Names of Carlo Ancelotti and Juergen Klopp were bandied about among the Anfield faithful as managers they most wish to see in the Reds' dugout, as their patience for the incumbent begins to wear thin.

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    This is West Ham's first league victory at Liverpool's Anfield ground for almost 52 years

Their reaction appears knee-jerk as, after all, the Reds had enjoyed an unbeaten start to the English Premier League season before Saturday's capitulation.

Yet, all that encouragement from a spirited start to the campaign disappeared in tandem with their new-found defensive prowess after a mere 148 seconds, as Manuel Lanzini shattered the Reds' aim of a fourth successive clean sheet.

"Our confidence had been really high until today, but a lot of this defeat was self-inflicted," lamented Rodgers, who found no answer to West Ham's deep defensive block.

"The overall performance was disappointing from the off. Once we conceded the early goal, we just couldn't get back into the game again. With and without the ball, we have to be much better."

The defeat was made the more bitter for Liverpool fans as, just a day prior, Rodgers had been indulging in hyperbole, praising centre-back Dejan Lovren for "proving himself" to be a top-class defender.

The Croat's defending against the Hammers was calamitous, as his shocking failure to control the ball led to West Ham's second goal by Mark Noble.

"It is three points but it is one of those games that for the club, for the supporters especially, it is more than three points," said West Ham manager Slaven Bilic.

"Fifty-two years without winning here. And I think we did it with style, we didn't nick it. It was a great performance.

"I am very proud of the players, the whole club, it is great for everyone and one of those games for the history books."

After seeing his team's unbeaten start to the season brought to an end in such alarming fashion, things may get even worse from here for Rodgers.

Up next, after the international break, is a visit to arch-rivals Manchester United, which promises to be A Hard Day's Night for Liverpool.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2015, with the headline 'Fans calling for Rodgers' head'. Print Edition | Subscribe