LIVERPOOL 1-0 WEST HAM UNITED: MATCH REVIEW
Liverpool earned a hard fought 1-0 victory over David Moyes’ West Ham at Anfield last night. A Sadio Mané strike in the first half decided the game, with the Hammers dispatched despite a decent showing. Here’s a review of the match.
You can find player ratings from the game here:
° Lineup. Jürgen Klopp made eight changes to the side that took on Norwich in the FA Cup on Wednesday. Alisson, Konaté and Henderson were the only players to retain their place, with the rested personnel restored to the XI.
Naby Keita was passed fit and he took his place alongside Fabinho and the skipper in midfield. Interestingly, Sadio Mané continued in the striking role with Luis Diaz again starting on the left wing whilst Jota took his place amongst the substitutes. The visitors meanwhile, were without the influential Declan Rice.
° Early Salah chance. When Vlasic was caught offside after two minutes, there was only one thing on Alexander-Arnold’s mind. He restarted play with a brilliant long ball for Salah, who had run in behind Cresswell. The Egyptian took the ball in his stride and opened his body up, but failed to finish past Fabianski.
° Antonio targets Ibou. It is common practice for opposition strikers to avoid Virgil Van Dijk and play on his centre back partner instead. Can you blame them? This means whoever partners the big man usually has more to deal with defensively.
Gomez has had that in the past, as has Matip. Last night was Konaté’s turn as Antonio targeted him early on. A run in behind the Frenchman saw the striker latch onto a pass and sting Alisson’s gloves early on. A few minutes later, he cut inside the 22 year old centre back too easily, only to see Alisson claw his shot behind.
° Mané breaks the deadlock. In the 27th minute, Sadio showed his predatory instinct to tap home Trent’s cross-shot. The goal was eerily similar to the one he scored at home to Atletico Madrid. He’s adapted well to the new striking role and has now scored 5 goals in his last 5 matches.
° Trent to the rescue. A minute after cutting back for Diaz and then Salah in quick succession, Trent was racing back to his own goal to hook Pablo Fornals’ chip off the line. It was a goal saving clearance that showed the defensive acumen his detractors weirdly ignore.
Alexander-Arnold vs West Ham:
• 125 touches (1st)
• 100% tackle success rate
• 82% pass accuracy
• 74 passes completed (2nd)
• 10 ball recoveries (1st)
• 8 long balls completed (1st)
• 5 chances created (1st)
• 3 duels won
• 2 interceptions
• 1 goalline clearance
• 1 successful dribble
• 1 assist
° Pretty even game. Liverpool led at the break but West Ham had given as good as they got. They matched the Reds for attempts (10) and had managed to get 5 of theirs on target compared to 3 for the home side. Antonio was causing problems and Fornals should have equalised when clean through.
° Robertson’s recovery. West Ham had the first chance of the second half after Van Dijk’s header under pressure from Antonio, fell to Bowen. It looked a certain goal with the in form Bowen set to pull the trigger with his favoured left foot. From nowhere, Robbo came flying in to make a brilliant block to keep his side’s lead intact.
° Missed chances. The rest of the game was a tale of missed chances. Diaz cut in on the left wing but didn’t put enough curl on his shot as it flew past the top corner. Lanzini missed an even easier chance, blazing over from a few yards with only Alisson to beat. Salah also had a few bites but couldn’t make it count.
° Keita’s block. West Ham worked a brilliant counter late on to set Antonio away on the right. Robertson came back to get a touch to delay the shot but Antonio skipped inside him and looked set to shoot, only for Keita to put in a huge block to deflect the ball behind for a corner.
° Grinding out the victory. It was that kind of game last night, a true collective defensive effort. West Ham caused more than a few problems but Klopp’s side held firm. They battled their way over the line for their sixth clean sheet in their last eight.
° Heaping pressure on City. The win moved Liverpool within 3 points of Manchester City. The Citizens host the Manchester derby later today knowing anything other than a victory will see the advantage swing towards Merseyside.
° 12 in a row. It is now twelve consecutive wins in all competitions for Jürgen Klopp’s men. A truly amazing feat considering some of the opposition they’ve faced in that run. It’s the first time in 18 years that the club has put together such a lengthy winning streak. Long may it continue.
° What next? The Champions League returns to Anfield on Tuesday night when Inter Milan arrive with a two goal deficit from the first leg. The Italians thrashed Salernitana 5-0 last time out and will know the tie isn’t over.
Should they manage to net the first goal, the tie will be wide open again. The Reds will have to once again be at their best to see them off. Get the first goal themselves and the tie will be all but over. The big games keep coming.