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Live Commentary: Liverpool 0-0 West Ham United - as it happened

Sports Mole brings you live coverage of the Premier League clash between Liverpool and West Ham this afternoon.

Liverpool were held to a 0-0 draw by a stubborn West Ham performance at Anfield this afternoon.

Steven Gerrard had the game's best chance as he picked up a loose ball inside the box and tried to place it into the bottom corner, but Joey O'Brien got back to clear it off the line.

West Ham also had an effort cleared off the line late on as Lucas hacked Jack Collison's header away.

You can read how an intriguing 90 minutes of football unfolded with Sports Mole's live play-by-play coverage below.

Good afternoon! Thank you for joining Sports Mole for today's match between Liverpool and West Ham. Let's get straight down to business.

We'll start by looking at Liverpool. The Reds still harbour faint hopes of stealing into a European spot this season, although those ambitions are becoming less realistic with every passing week. They can certainly rule out challenging for a top four spot now, so they will have to settle for the Europa League if they are to be in Europe next year.

Liverpool's most realistic target this year is now sixth place, however. The Reds are seven points behind fifth-placed Chelsea and, with seven matches left, that looks to be too big of a gap to make up, so their sights will be firmly on Everton in sixth.

A win today would see the Reds move above Everton, but sixth place is still very much in the Toffees' hands as they will have two games in hand over Liverpool by the time that this match is over. They face Tottenham later today, however, so they will do well to get anything out of that particular game in hand.

In terms of form, Liverpool are arguably enjoying their best spell of the season. They have won four of their last five league matches and five of their last six in all competitions. They have played good football in a lot of those matches as well, so confidence will be high for Brendan Rodgers' side.

However, even in this good form there is a sprinkling of the incosistency that has plagued Liverpool's season. They fell to a disappointing 3-1 defeat at the hands of Southampton earlier this month - a result that pretty much summed up their season coming as it did straight after a win over Tottenham.

West Ham, meanwhile, are in very mixed form. The Hammers have won three and lost three of their last six matches and look set for mid-table mediocrity this season.

The Hammers still aren't completely safe from relegation, particularly with Aston Villa and Wigan starting to find regular points, but manager Sam Allardyce must be pretty safe in the knowledge that his side will need a major collapse to return to the Championship next season.

40 points is usually the total where clubs generally consider themselves safe from the drop, and West Ham are currently on 36, so a win today would go a long well to ensuring their Premier League survival for another season.

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West Ham will still have hopes of finishing in the top half of the table this season, and a win today would see them move level on points with 10th-placed Fulham, which would make that ambition very realistic.

TEAM NEWS: The team news is in for both sides, and the headline is that Daniel Sturridge is once again left on the bench. Coutinho and Downing remain as Suarez's main support, while Jamie Carragher continues in defence ahead of Martin Skrtel. For the Hammers, there is no Andy Carroll due to the loan agreement between the two sides, so Carlton Cole starts up front. Full teams news coming right up...

LIVERPOOL STARTING XI: Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Enrique; Lucas, Gerrard, Henderson; Downing, Coutinho; Suarez

LIVERPOOL SUBS: Jones, Skrtel, Coates, Shelvey, Suso, Assaidi, Sturridge

WEST HAM STARTING XI: Jaaskelainen; Demel, Collins, Tomkins, O'Brien; O'Neil, Diame, Jarvis, Vaz Te, Nolan; Cole

WEST HAM SUBS: Henderson, Collison, Maiga, Taylor, Pogatetz, Chamakh, Potts

So, what can we make of those lineups? Well, I'm slightly surprised that Rodgers has again left Sturridge on the bench, but at the same time Downing and Coutinho have found a bit of form lately and I can understand his reluctance to change a winning formula. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Liverpool's danger man will, as always, be Luis Suarez. The Urguayan is the front-runner for player of the season and the only real challenger for that award is Gareth Bale. Suarez can make something out of nothing and has been a match-winner for Liverpool on plenty of occasions already this season.

Elsewhere, Steven Gerrard is always a threat for the Reds. He is not only capable of weighing in with a goal or two here and there, but he can create chances and dictate the tempo of matches as well. Coutinho has made a bright start to life at Liverpool as well, and he is also more than capable of creating or scoring a chance.

For West Ham, they will no doubt miss the significant presence of a certain Andy Carroll up front, but Carlton Cole can be just as hard to play against when on form. Agger and Carragher are both good defenders but they do tend to struggle against strong strikers so Cole will be looking to use his power this afternoon, I'm sure.

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The Hammers will also threaten through the likes of Ricardo Vaz Te and Kevin Nolan, both of whom have plenty of goals in them.

There is no doubt that Liverpool have more quality throughout their starting 11 than West Ham, but that rarely matters to the Hammers. They are such a hard team to play, and their style - as with any Sam Allardyce side - aims to disrupt teams who may be more technically gifted than themselves. It is a very effective method, and Allardyce has forged a very successful career from it.

So, Liverpool have the edge when it comes to form and quality, but what does history say about this fixture?

Well, that is also steeped heavily in Liverpool's favour. West Ham have only won one of the last eight meetings between these two sides, and that came in 2011 courtesy of goals from Scott Parker, Demba Ba and Carlton Cole in a 3-1 win for the Hammers.

Liverpool and West Ham have only met once since then, and it was the Reds who came out on top earlier this season. Glen Johnson, Joe Cole and a James Collins own goal gave Liverpool a narrow 3-2 win.

One thing that is consistent with this fixture is goals. There have been 28 in the last six meetings between these two, with one side scoring at least three on each occasions. More of the same today please!

Overall, these two sides have met each other 102 times, and Liverpool have come out on top in 56 of those matches. West Ham have won 20, and the remaining 26 ended in draws, the last of which came in 2008.

PREDICTION: Liverpool's inconsistency makes them a very tough team to predict, but I think they will have enough to beat West Ham today. The Hammers never make it for any team, but Liverpool have more quality throughout their squad and that, coupled with home advantage, should be enough to see them through. I'm going to go for a 3-1 win for the home side.

The good news for West Ham is that Liverpool haven't exactly swept all before them at Anfield this season. The days of 'fortress Anfield' have gone, and the Reds' record in front of their own fans this season has been pretty average. They have picked up 27 points from their 15 games, which is only the eighth best record in the league.

The bad news for West Ham is that their away record is not great either. In fact, the Hammers have been poor on their travels this season, losing 10 matches away from home - the same amount as joint-bottom Queens Park Rangers. Their tally of 11 points from 15 matches is the sixth worst in the league this season.

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There will be another match going on while this one is, and it could have a big impact on Liverpool's season. Tottenham take on Everton in a 2.05pm kickoff, and you can follow live commentary of that one here.

We're nearing kicoff at Anfield and the players are filtering out of the tunnel as I speak.

There is a minute's silence before kickoff for as everyone remembers the 96 fans who lost their lives in the Hillsborough tragedy. It is the first anniversary since the shocking truth was discovered, and it is impeccably observed by both sets of fans.

KICKOFF: And we're off, as they may have said in this part of the world at the start of Aintree yesterday. It's another sunny day in Liverpool today.

West Ham win an early free kick after Lucas mis-timed a challenge, but O'Neil wastes the chance to flex their aerial muscles early on as Reina comes out to claim the ball.

Coutinho thinks that he has broken free early on but he was just offside as Gerrard threaded the ball through to him. That one was very close.

Liverpool have made a bright start to this match but Suarez has given the ball away on a number of occasions already. I'm sure Rodgers won't mind too much as Suarez is trying ambitious flicks and tricks, which shows confidence, but if he is not on form then Liverpool will struggle to break through.

SAVE! Jaaskelainen is called into action for the first time today, but he deals with it well. Coutinho cuts inside onto his right foot before drilling a low strike towards goal, but the West Ham keeper gets down well to stop it.

Gerrard releases Suarez down the left and the Uruguayan cuts back before lofting the ball invitingly to his skipper on the edge of the box. Gerrard has made a career out of smashing goals in from this sort of range, but he doesn't get hold of his volley this time as it bounces harmlessly wide.

Coutinho again cuts inside and beats the full-back all too easily, but this time his strike is blocked by Collins. He had far too much time to shoot there, though.

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Liverpool have dominated possesion early on here and West Ham look to have shut up shop already. When the hosts have the ball West Ham are packing everyone behind the ball and dropping the wingers into defence so that they effectively have a back six.

Andy Carroll's name is being chanted by the away fans at the moment. It is safe to say that the striker han't justified his £35m price tag at Anfield so far but he will return to Liverpool in the summer and Rodgers won't let him go cheap, despite Allardyce's admission that he wants to keep Carroll beyond the end of his current loan deal.

West Ham are just crowding the area whenever Liverpool get near it and the hosts are finding it hard to get through. Downing and Henderson do well to work space to shoot, but both of them see their shots blocked by one of the many blue shirts in the box.

PENALTY SHOUT! Liverpool want a penalty as O'Brien slides in on Johnson as the full-back looked to burst into the box. It was a clumsy challenge, but Johnson's fall was belated and the ref was right to wave it away. Any foul that may have occurred would've been outside the box anyway.

Johnson floats a lovely ball behind the defence to Downing, who has all the time in the world to either shoot or pick a pass. The angle is tight so he chooses the latter, but he only succeeds in finding a West Ham man. He should've done better there.

Tomkins finds Demel down the right with a fine pass, but the West Ham full-back makes a mess of his effort. The visitors haven't really got themselves into this game yet.

SHOT! Suarez has an uncanny knack of nutmegging people, and he does it again here as Collins is the unfortunate defender to be humiliated. Suarez takes his shot very early when he could have pushed on further, however, and his effort is dragged wide.

SAVE! A cross into the box misses everyone and bounces to Downing, who has stolen in unmarked at the far post. The ball is too high for him to volley, so he tries to poke a header goalwards, but it is easy for Jaaskelainen to gather.

CHANCE! West Ham's best moment of the game comes as Diame wriggles through two challenges inside the box before hammering a shot over the bar. That was a very good run, but Liverpool looked scared to touch him!

LIVERPOOL SUB: Liverpool have been forced into an early change here as Downing is forced off with an injury to be replaced by Daniel Sturridge.

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CHANCE! Fine link-up play by Liverpool there as Suarez feeds the ball to Coutinho inside the box. The Brazilian lays the ball back to the Uruguayan with a lovely little touch, but Suarez's first-time effort is well saved by Jaaskelainen.

Liverpool have enjoyed the lion's share of possession in the opening half an hour here, but they are struggling to break West Ham down. It's been a disciplined defensive performance from the visitors so far.

CHANCE! A mistake gifts Cole the ball on the edge of the Liverpool box, but his powerful strike is brilliantly blocked by Agger. That one was goalbound!

Again Liverpool build a good attacking platform, but once more it breaks down due to a poor pass. Johnson is the guilty party this time as he passes it behind Suarez, allowing Diame to steal the ball.

The Anfield crowd aren't happy as Enrique kicks the ball out so Diame can get treatment. At first glance it looked like the West Ham man had fouled Carragher, but it appears that he has done more damage to himself.

Enrique wins a corner by pressuring Vaz Te in defence, but Gerrard plays it short and then puts far too much on his cross when he gets the ball back. It just isn't happening for Liverpool at the moment.

A good move from Liverpool almost provides Sturridge with a chance, but it just doesn't sit up for him to shoot. Instead, he slips Gerrard in down the right side of the box, but his shot is blocked. West Ham have defended valiantly today.

Jarvis swings a dangerous ball into the box and Cole gets in front of Carragher but sends his header wide. Carragher did just enough there, and the ball looked to have taken a deflection off him on its way wide, but the referee points for a goal kick.

West Ham are starting to come into this one more in the closing stages of the half. This time O'Brien swings a cross in to Nolan at the near post, but he gets too much on his header and sends it wide.

SHOT! A ball forward finds Suarez, who just nudges the ball back to Henderson. It all opens up for the Liverpool midfielder, who advances with the ball before shooting from just outside the box, but his effort deflects wide.

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There will be one minute of added time at Anfield

Suarez takes an early corner which almost catches West Ham off guard, but they eventually hack it out for another corner, which Liverpool don't have time to take before the ref blows for half time.

HALF TIME: Liverpool 0-0 West Ham

The referee brings an end to a tight half that has seen Liverpool struggled to break their opponents down. They have dominated possession but West Ham have simply come to Anfield and challenged Liverpool to play through them, which they haven't been able to do so far. The hosts have had some sights of goal, but overall the Hammers have done a good job of keeping Liverpool at bay.

Suarez hasn't quite been in full flow today, which may be the main reason for Liverpool's failure to break West Ham down. The Uruguayan has shown slight glimpses of what he can do, but he has been nowhere near his best.

West Ham haven't really threatened in an attacking sense, and you get the feeling that Allardyce would be more than happy with a point today. They have had one or two sights of goal but overall their focus has been very much on defensive duties.

So, what will both managers be saying to their players at the break? Well, Brendan Rodgers will be imploring his side to show the quality that he knows that they have got. They have had plenty of the ball and will continue to do so in the second half, so it is up to them toplay through West Ham.

Allardyce, meanwhile, will be asking for more of the same. His gameplan is very obvious, and his side have acted it out to perfection so far. If they can repeat their defensive performance in the upcoming half then Liverpool will do well to break them down.

I do still expect Liverpool to win this one, though. The pressure on West Ham's defence will only increase as time goes on and they will eventually find the breakthough, I'm sure.

The Liverpool side are already back out on the pitch but they are being kept waiting by West Ham. Rodgers evidently said everything he had to say pretty sharply in the dressing room!

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The Hammers are spilling out onto the field now and we're just about ready to kick off this second half.

KICKOFF: Here we go again, Liverpool get us back underway.

Carragher's going to get a nosebleed he is so far upfield! He races (I use that term loosely) beyond the full-back but his cross is put behind for a corner, which comes to nothing.

It's Agger's turn to come forward now, and Rodgers seems to have told his side to bring a defender up from deep to disrupt West Ham's defensive rhythm.

We know Agger can hit them from range, and he tries exactly that, letting fly from a good 30 yards. It hits Collins in the box and the crowd call for a handball, but the ref is right to wave it away.

Gerrard releases Suarez with a fine pass with the outside of his foot, but agains Collins steals the ball off the toe of Suarez. Collins has won almost all of the one-on-ones he has had with Suarez today.

CHANCE! Gerrard is trying to make things happen here and, with a little slice of luck, he almost does. His pass deflects off a West Ham man and Gerrard races on to meet it himself, but his cutback is well cleared out for a corner by Demel.

Jarvis races into the box and takes on Carragher well. The Liverpool man can't deal with his pace and Jarvis cuts it back, but Agger makes a vital interception.

OFF THE LINE! Massive chance for Liverpool to take the lead! Suarez dribbles his way past Collins in the box and tries to drill it into the middle, but his cross is intercepted. The ball only falls as far as Gerrard on the edge of the box, but his effort is cleared off the line by O'Brien. Big, big chance, and Gerrard should have scored.

Half chance for Diame, who gets behind the defence and is found by a lofted through ball. He is under heavy pressure and doesn't seem to be sure what he should do. He ends up doing nothing and Reina comes out to collect.

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Coutinho threatens to race away onto a long ball forward, but Demel drags him down with an arm on the shoulder. The ref accrues the wrath of the home fans by telling him to get up, but I have seen them given! There wasn't a lot of contact, but Demel definitely had his hand on Coutinho's shoulder.

CLOSE! Suarez hasn't been at his best today but he is still capable of making things happen. This time he takes it past Jarvis and O'Brien before fizzing a shot right across goal. That was very, very close.

WEST HAM SUBS: Sam Allardyce opts to make a double change as he looks to hold out for the last half an hour. Nolan is replaced by Matt Taylor, while Jack Collison comes on for Vaz Te.

Johnson does his keeper no favours by sending a powerful backpass to him. Reina's clearance falls straight to Taylor, but his subsequent cross is glanced well wide by Cole.

DISALLOWED GOAL! West Ham seem to have stopped playing as they think there was a handball in the build-up to the disallowed goal, but the ref hasn't blown. The ball falls to Henderosn on the edge of the box and his low strike is diverted in by Sturridge, who is just offside.

The match is just starting to open up a bit now and I can see a goal coming in the final 20 minutes or so. Liverpool are pushing forward in numbers now and West Ham are looking to catch them on the break.

CLOSE! Coutinho cuts inside onto his right foot and aims a bending shot towards the far post, but it takes a deflection off Collins on its way through for a corner.

PENALTY SHOUT! Tomkins is a very lucky man! Gerrard cuts inside the West Ham defender inside the box and he goes to ground under a sliding a challenge. Tomkins doesn't look like he got any of the ball and he certainly made contact with the Liverpool skipper, but the referee only points for a corner. That looked like a penalty to me!

Gerrard tries to slide a pass through to Johnson, who has found space on the right. The pass is just too heavy, however, and another good attacking platforms comes to nothing for Liverpool.

Suarez gets the better of Collins for once before sliding the pass into Sturridge, but the England international let the ball run across his body, which allowed Tomkins to nick in and clear the ball.

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SHOT! Gerrard is really trying to make things happen here. He attempts a trademark strike from the edge of the box but he puts too much on it and it goes high and wide.

West Ham make a rare break and Jarvis has all the time in the world on the edge of the box. He plays a square ball to Taylor, whose eventual shot is blocked by Agger. Both Jarvis and Taylor had far too much time there, though.

SAVE! Gerrard slips a little pass into Sturridge on the edge of the box and the striker uses his skipper's run as a decoy as he turns and fires in a low strike towards the near post. Jaaskelainen is down well to save it and hold on to it, however, as another chance goes begging for Liverpool.

Liverpool break free and Enrique just tries to slip a pass in behind the defence to Suarez. The Uruguayan looks to race on to it, but Jaaskelainen is very quickly off his line to collect it before Suarez.

UPDATE: Tomkins is down and receiving treatment at the moment, so I will take this time to bring you up to speed with the Spurs score. They are currently drawing 1-1 with Everton at half time

CLOSE! Liverpool are getting closer! They work the ball across to Agger, who lets fly from about 30 yards for the second time this afternoon. This time the ball goes all the way through, spinning just wide of Jaaskelainen's post via a slight deflection.

WEST HAM SUB: Tomkins won't be able to continue after his injury, and he is replaced by Emanuel Pogatetz.

YELLOW CARD! O'Brien becomes the first man in the referee's notebook as he is shown a yellow card for time wasting.

OFF THE LINE! West Ham come so close to stealing what would have surely been the winner! Collison gets his head to a corner and guides the ball towards the back post, but Lucas is on hand to knee the ball to safety.

We have three minutes of normal time left, and Liverpool are still pushing for the opening goal. Will they be able to find it in time or will West Ham hold out?

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A quick throw in threatens to release Suarez inside the box, but again Collins is there to deny the striker. Collins has been brilliant this afternoon.

The Anfield crowd is handed a renewed sense of optimism by the official's board, which signals a minimum of five minutes added time.

Coutinho wriggles his way into the box and lays a clever pass off to Johnson. The full-back could shoot, but instead opts to try and take it past Taylor, who puts in a fine tackle to stop him in his tracks.

SAVE! Suarez almost sneaks the ball past Jaaskelainen with a cheeky effort at the near post. He controls the ball instantly before toe-poking an effort low that the West Ham keeper kept out with his feet.

Agger has a chance to set up Sturridge on the edge of the box having controlled the ball in the area, but he opts to go alone and his effort is blocked. There is just no way through for the Reds.

FULL TIME: Liverpool 0-0 West Ham

The referee brings an end to a frustrating game for Liverpool, who have been kept at bay by a very stubborn West Ham performance. The Reds dominated the match pretty much from start to finish, but just couldn't find a way through the Hammers, who put in a very disciplined defensive performance.

Both sides had efforts cleared off the line, but the best chance of the match fell to Steven Gerrard, who tried to guide his strike into the bottom corner, only for O'Brien to get back and clear. Brendan Rodgers will be wondering how his side haven't win this match.

Right, that's about it from me today! Thank you for joining Sports Mole for what as an intriguig battle, and certainly a more entertaining match than the scoreline suggests. I will leave you with Liam Apicella's match report, and be sure to stick around for the analysis, which will be up within half an hour. Goodbye!

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