West Ham's Top Dec is a match for leaders Liverpool
PUBLISHED: 16:30 05 February 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
It was another excellent day for Declan Rice as he helps the Hammers to a draw against the leaders
There were 41 minutes gone when West Ham carved out a glorious chance to go in front against pace-setters Liverpool.
Felipe Anderson swung in a free-kick, Declan Rice found himself in the box completely unmarked, but he somehow managed to head over the bar.
“I didn’t know I had that much time,” admitted the 20-year-old midfielder after the 1-1 draw.
“Without a doubt I should have done better, I broke the trap and I should have put it away, I was unmarked.”
It is a sign of just how well West Ham performed in this match, that Rice is regretting a miss and he pointed to other chances that the Hammers created.
“We started really well,” he said. “‘Cress’ had a shot and they were frustrated. It was a deserved point and we were unlucky not to come away with all three because we had some other great chances.”
They did, including the goal which must have originated on the playing fields of the Rush Green training ground.
“Felipe always puts them where you want it and if he is close to the box, he is going to put some in,” said Rice. “He does it all the time in training and we are lucky to have him.
“The free-kick for the goal we have had all season. Sometimes it gets blocked off, but well done to Felipe and Michail Antonio for putting it away.”
As mush as Rice likes to attack, it is defending that is his bread and butter and he did that admirably on Monday.
“Everyone was up for it and ‘Nobes’ said just do your jobs and that is what we did,” said the youngster.
“The shape was excellent. I think with me, Nobes and Snodgrass in the middle it stopped them. Their tactic is to play through the middle and we didn’t let them do that.
“They had to play wide a lot and they haven’t got a target man to play it in to, so we frustrated them a lot I think.”
It was all a far cry from the last three away games when the Hammers have fallen well short of the levels they need to get to.
“It was a massive result,” said Rice. “I think where we have had some bad results in January, we needed a big performance from everybody and I think we deserved our draw.”
It shows how far Rice has come that he is an integral part of this team and almost the first name on the team-sheet.
The fact that he was also gutted at not putting away his chance is a sure sign of maturity, a need to improve all the time.
He scored the winner against Arsenal, almost did the same against Liverpool and in every game he just impresses more and more.
The Premier League has some great young players, but none are better than the young Hammer.