David Moyes has raved about an unsung West Ham hero who went under the radar in the excruciating defeat to Liverpool.
West Ham were beaten 1-0 by Jurgen Klopp’s title challengers at Anfield. But goodness knows how.
The Hammers created more chances than any other side away at Liverpool during Klopp’s entire tenure.
But after conceding an ugly goal in the first half West Ham spurned five or six golden chances to get something out of the game in their own battle for the European places.
Pablo Fornals, Nikola Vlasic, Michail Antonio, Jarrod Bowen, Tomas Soucek and – most sickeningly – Manuel Lanzini all wasted chances to score.
West Ham can take great heart from the performance, though, particularly with Sevilla on the horizon on Thursday night.
There were some excellent individual displays from West Ham’s players, especially in light of the absence of Declan Rice.
But one player in particular caught Moyes’s eye for his impact on the game in the second half, captain Mark Noble.
Moyes raved about the unsung hero who went somewhat under the radar after the excruciating defeat to Liverpool as Noble rolled back the years.
“We lost the game again, but at least today I can take it,” Moyes told West Ham TV after the game.
“I thought today’s was a good performance, so if we can keep the standard up… and there are signs that our football is beginning to come back playing a bit better.
“Mark Noble was terrific today when he came on, and we’ve played well here without Declan Rice.”
Noble has barely played this season and that has – at times – showed when he has been given a run out.
But the Hammers skipper was top class when he came on, helping West Ham keep the ball and work their way into a position to try and get at Liverpool.
Some of his one and two-touch passing was masterful. And his brilliantly executed Pirlo-esque, outside-of-the-boot through-ball over the top for Michail Antonio deserved a goal but the striker made a mess of it.
Had West Ham got something Noble would have been lauded by the pundits after the game. But they didn’t and he barely got a mention bar some brief praise from Bobby Zamora on Sky, on the rare occasion he could get a word in alongside Graeme Souness.
Noble showed he could yet have a big say in that role in the final months of his West Ham career.