Classic Match: Volume Fourteen: West Ham United 2-1 Liverpool (AET) February 2016

West Ham United

In the 14th edition of our Classic Match series, we dig deep in the archives once more to take you through a memorable clash from down the years, this time around, we relive a certain FA Cup Fourth Round replay with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at the Boleyn Ground.

Cast your minds back to the late winter of 2016, “Pillowtalk” by Zayn Malik was at the very summit of the British Music Charts and Storm Imogen had just battered the United Kingdom, causing mass power outages and thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Meanwhile, in the World of Football and more specifically the Premier League, West Ham United were enjoying their first season under Croatian Manager Slaven Bilic, their fourth after Promotion back up to the Top-Flight.

Heading into an Emirates FA Cup Round Four replay at home to the Reds, the Hammers sat sixth in the Division in the wake of a rare away defeat at the St Mary’s stadium in their last outing, only a second loss in 12 games in all Competitions.

Meanwhile, the team from Merseyside made the trip to East London after a frustrating Sunday afternoon home draw with Sunderland, they occupied ninth position in the League and were enduring a mixed first half-season under Klopp the German.

The Irons had defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 at Upton Park to progress to this stage of the Tournament, whilst the Reds needed another Replay to get past Exeter City.

The tie was to be played on a Tuesday evening, as cold night in E13 and what many believed was going to be the final ever FA Cup match at the soon to be demolished Boleyn Ground.

The two sides had drawn 0-0 at Anfield ten days earlier in the first clash and while there went many stand-out performers on that evening, they could clearly be spotted in the two teams when they were announced this time around.

For the hosts, star man and French winger Dimitri Payet had been setting England alight all season-long though man in-form Michail Antonio was also going to pose a threat, whereas, the away side had the likes of skillful Brazilian Philippe Coutinho and prolific Belgian striker Christian Benteke in their ranks.

When the eagerly-awaited encounter could finally get underway, set against the backdrop of an electric atmosphere under the lights in the Capital, a thrilling end-to-end matchup would ensue.

Both Bilic’s and Klopp’s boys went close in the first-half, veteran full-back Joey O’Brien and Payet striking the post for the hosts and youngster Joao Teixeira coming inches within finding the bottom corner for the visitors, but the scoring was finally opened just before the break.

A clever run and cross from Ecuadorian Enner Valencia found Antonio at the far post, the Englishman twisting his body and guiding the ball into the far corner.

Bilic’s boys were able to see it out until half-time, although in the second period, they were met with an entirely different Liverpool animal, who soon levelled.

It would take a piece of pure magic from Coutinho, steeping up from a free-kick in the very edge of the West Ham area, sliding the ball under the wall and past Darren Randolph.

The Irons enjoyed the better of the chances in what remained of normal time, never quite coming close enough to stealing a winner and the matchup was going to extra-time.

In this period, it would be role-reversal, with Klopp’s boys creating more, and Benteke spurning two fantastic openings, the first being a volley he dragged wide from just inside the box and the second a one-on-one that was stopped by Randolph.

However, there was one last twist in the tale, Payet swung a wide free-kick in, during the first minute off added-time with penalties looming, there to meet it at the far post was former Juventus centre-back Angelo Ogbonna, heading the ball across goal and past Simon Mignolet.

The strike raised the roof on Upton Park and sent the majority of fans home with smiles on their faces, although the Hammers’ dreams of FA Cup glory were shattered by Manchester United in the Sixth Round.

Having looked like Champions League contenders for much of the campaign, West Ham eventually missed out on the top four, finishing seventh with their highest ever PL points tally.

Whereas, the Reds went on to lose out in two Finals, the EFL Cup and the UEFA Europa League under Klopp, ending 2015/2016 in eighth place in the Top-Flight Standings.

However, one question does remain, will it be a happy Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round outing for David Moyes’ West Ham United on Saturday afternoon away at League One Wigan Athletic? Think you know? Be sure to head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter to cast your early score predictions for the clash and join the pre-match discussion.

About the Author

Luke Glanville
Lead Writer and Site Manager of MTJAC, Sub-Editor for the Falbros Media Group.