Liverpool vs West Ham: Fans with long memories may disagree but West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic believes their last-gasp, extra-time win over Liverpool on Tuesday will go down as one of the London club’s greatest triumphs.
Angelo Ogbonna’s header in the dying seconds of extra time secured a 2-1 victory that sent West Ham into the fifth round of the FA Cup where they will face second tier Blackburn Rovers.
They were playing a weakened Liverpool side and were often under severe pressure, however, with emotions in the stands running high as the club prepare to end their 112-year stay at Upton Park, the victory was particularly sweet for Bilic.
“It will go down in the history of West Ham’s greatest games,” the Croatian told BT Sport.
“Liverpool, our last season at Upton Park, a night kickoff, goal in the last minute, and we deserved it. I am very proud of the guys. They left their hearts on the pitch.”
It was West Ham’s first FA Cup win over Liverpool in eight attempts, with their most recent and probably most painful defeat to the Merseysiders arriving on penalties in the final 10 years ago.
Success in any competition has been rare for West Ham in recent years, with the club failing to win a major trophy since 1980 when they beat Arsenal at Wembley to land their third FA Cup.
Having already completed a Premier League double over their opponents this season, Liverpool held no fear for the Londoners and their third victory in four matches against Juergen Klopp’s side was the best of the lot for Bilic.
“If we produce a performance like this then we are capable of beating any team in England,” he said.
For Liverpool manager Klopp, who returned to the dugout after missing their match on Saturday to have his appendix removed, it was a frustrating evening.
He welcomed three influential first-team players back as Philippe Coutinho started the tie and scored with an impudent free kick while Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi made encouraging substitute appearances.
“It’s hard,” said Klopp. “We were the better team, created chances and played good football but we didn’t use them.
“The door was wide open for us … but it was not enough.”