sport

Big Sam eager to keep up momentum

West Ham must sustain the momentum they have built up in recent weeks to keep picking up points, according to manager Sam Allardyce.

The Hammers lost 3-2 at home to Liverpool yesterday following victory over European champions Chelsea the week before.

During a tough run of Premier League fixtures, West Ham have also taken points from Newcastle, Stoke and Manchester City.

And Allardyce is keen for his players to use those results as a catalyst to get back to winning ways against West Brom.

"We need to keep the levels of confidence and energy that we have shown, and hopefully we will continue to perform and get some positive results," he said.

"We knew Liverpool would continue to keep possession but what we perhaps did not do in the first half was close them down high up enough."

Allardyce saw his side fall behind to a fantastic goal from former West Ham youngster Glen Johnson, but then take the lead before the interval through a Mark Noble penalty and a Steven Gerrard own goal.

Allardyce said he was hoping his side could maintain their first-half form, but ultimately succumbed to second-half goals from Joe Cole and an unfortunate own goal from James Collins to finish the game empty-handed.

"We wanted to start the second half as we finished the first, we sat back a little too much in the beginning of the first half and it made counter-attacking a lot more difficult to do," he said.

"I was waiting for us to break out and try and get the third goal but the own goal came as a real killer.

"If (Jonjo) Shelvey had touched the ball it would have been a wonder goal but it hits Collins and goes in - 99 times out of 100 it does not end up in the net."

West Ham's afternoon was made worse when midfielder Mohamed Diame was stretchered off during the second half and the Senegal international could now be sidelined for three months.

Allardyce admitted losing the 25-year-old is a big blow, especially with the club already suffering the strain of a lengthy injury list.

"We had a massive blow when Momo Diame pulled up and had to come off because everything good about us going forward was generally coming from Mo," he said.

"The trouble we have now is the injury tally is mounting up, we have little or no options in most positions and going into December you want to be able to rotate.

"It gets harder and harder to perform especially in your first season back in the Barclays Premier League. When it gets down to the nitty-gritty you want all your players fit but we do not have that."

Liverpool got back into the game when Cole levelled with just 14 minutes remaining.

Former Hammer Cole, 31, was introduced off the bench after 27 minutes and took a while to get himself into the game, but the England international was delighted to get on the scoresheet.

"It was a good feeling to score again and an even better one to win for our fantastic supporters," Cole told liverpoolfc.com.

"When I came off the pitch after scoring against Young Boys, considering I haven't done much for Liverpool, the reception I got from the fans was amazing and it meant a lot to me.

"The fans can see I want to do well for this club and it was great to score a goal for them and get the three points."

Cole is one of the more experienced members of Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool squad who, after a slow start to the season, now find themselves just four points off the Champions League places in the table.

Cole reckons the team are developing well and reserved special praise for 18-year-old winger Raheem Sterling.

He said: "I really do think this team is making good progress. The players are getting better and better and really responding to the things the manager wants us to do.

"It's great to play alongside the young lads with the talent and enthusiasm they have got."

"It was a great pass from Raheem for my goal. That's what he's capable of, he is a real livewire and is always a threat. He never stops running and working hard for the team and never looks tired, and for an 18-year-old kid that's unbelievable.

"He is going to be a top player and he is at the right club to do that."