Irvine was in charge in the dugout once again as Moyes was watching on from home during his final day of self-isolation having tested positive for Covid-19 last week. Moyes was once again communicating via telephone with the bench through first team coach Stuart Pearce.
The Hammers got themsleves back in the tie 25 seconds into the second half when Robert Snodgrass curled home a sublime equaliser to make it 1-1. Ten minutes later they were beind to Richarlison’s deflected effort but the management team deemed no reason to throw on some fresh legs.
The likes of Arthur Masuaku, Jarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals and Tomas Soucek were namked among the substitutes but didn’t see any game time as Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko and Manuel Lanzini all failed to have an impact.
After perfoming well in two Carabao Cup victories against League One opponents over the past forngitht there had been claims to give the aforementioned trio Premier League minutes, something they have struggled to come by this season. However, on this evidence they won’t be getting much any time soon.
Irvine told fooball.london at his post-match press conference when asked why there were no changes made at all during the 90 minutes, the Scot said: “Well, first of all, got a group of players that have done well in the previous games in this competition and they have been looking for their opportunity to show what they can do against a Premier League team because we had the situation where you perform well against a couple of League One teams and people saying it is unfair to judge them on that, perhaps they don’t get the credit that they deserve.
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“We were certainly mindful that those boys got another good run out and of course, they are all first team players. You are talking about players who have played a lot of games at this level, international players who came to the club for a lot of money so it certainly wasn’t a case of fielding a weakened team.
“There were also some players we needed to protect a little bit and look after because of what is coming up as far as the league is concerned. Those were the reasons and we felt in any case, at 2-1 we were very much still in the game.”
“Seb’s overhead illustrated that and Yarma had a chance with a header but it wasn’t a case of thinking ‘oh, we are out of this now’. Unfortunately the third goal came 15 minutes to go and probably made it a real struggle for us. As I said already, you are wondering if at that stage you should take a chance with one or two other players we are trying to protect.”
A hat trick from Dominci Calvert-Lewin added to Richarlison’s deflected effort saw off the Hammers on Merseyside as Moyes made eight changes to the side that thumped Wolves 4-0 in the Premier League at the weekend.