Even as Jurgen Klopp was honest to admit in his pre match press conference that a 4th round replay of the FA Cup is not the best thing for Liverpool who have a busy month of February, a second string side drew blanks against the Hammers to take the tie to Upton Park for a replay.
However, this result was better than what the senor team got in the first match of this year and it must be said that Klopp, after the match looked not too distort with yet another fixture adding to his team’ schedule.
Klopp ringed in the changes for this game as Simon Mignolet on goal was the only player to have started both the league cup semi-final and this game. Cameroon Bannagan, Kevin Stewart, Brad Smith and Joao Teixeira were all given starts while the penalty shootout hero Joe Allen was given the arm band to capoff an excellent month for the Weshman.
Slaven Bilic had to play Tomkins on the flank due to the injury to Jenskinson but had more bad news as Tomkins had to be off the field after a collision with Allen after which the West Ham manager also bought on Nikita Jelavic to help his team hold the ball up front.
However, the whole story was around the mid-field duo of Stewart and Brannagan who were in their comfort zone for most of the game. Chances fell to either side but the lack of commitment to score a goal from either side saw the teams go into the final whistle without a goal being scored.
Payet created a number of half chances for his team but was just not able to break the dead lock but the best chances fell to the home side who were not able to capitalize on their good build up play.
Christian Benteke who had a point to prove given a start seemed to have no clue of what the point was as he was hardly mobile in the final third. He was not his usual Aston Villa self as he hardly gave Reid and Ogbonna any challenge as the Hammers were comfortable with the Belgian.
But the youngsters in the Liverpool team had a completely different attire as they had Randolph diving left and right to save and keep West Ham in the game till the final whistle.
Brannagan and Stewart were at the middle of everything good happening for the home side with both players taking turns to sit in deep and drive the ball forward into the attacking third.
Ibe provided some width to the play but had no consistency as Teixeira found his feet as the game progressed but failed to create clear goal scoring opportunities.
Brad Smith was superb on the flank and though was caught out of position at times, he was more than happy to drive up front to give Liverpool an extra dimension to their attack.
All this while, the new defensive pairing of Dejan Lovren who was back from injury and Steven Caulker who was give his first start as a defender were strong and solid at the back giving the visitors almost no space and time on the ball.
Though a 0-0 score line is far better than what Liverpool could get from the Hammers this season in two games, they will fell that they missed out on an opportunity to knock West Ham out at Anfield and get themselves a break later in the month.
But a trip to Upton Park awaits the Reds in February where Klopp will once again have some selection headaches. However, it will be a good opportunity for the German to get another close look at his academy graduates who played their heart out against a superior opposition on the night.
The replay of this 4th round fixture did not seem to effect Klopp as he looked comfortable with players like Coutinho, Sturridge and Skrtel coming back from injury.
Klopp has already found one way into Wembley, it will be interesting to see if he can book another ticket to the national stadium, a feat achieved by Liverpool 4 years ago. The Reds face a crunch tie against Leicester City in their next game on Tuesday.