LIVERPOOL 2-0 WEST HAM UNITED: MATCH REVIEW
Liverpool earned a tenth successive league victory by overcoming Roy Hodgson’s Watford at Anfield yesterday. A Jota header separated the two sides at the break before a late Fabinho penalty sealed the win. Here’s a review of the match.
You can find player ratings from the game here:
° Lineup. Jürgen Klopp made four changes to the side that defeated Arsenal in the last league game. Gomez came in for Trent who was only deemed fit enough to be on the bench, whilst Jones, Salah and Firmino started in place of Fabinho, Mané and Diaz.
° Early Sarr effort. Roy Hodgson’s game plan was clear from the onset. The Hornets were going to keep bodies behind the ball and then hit long balls into the channels for their pacy forwards to chase on the counter. Ismaila Sarr got on the end of one such long ball and hit a dipping volley over Alisson’s goal.
° Cucho goes close. It was a good start from the visitors, with Cucho Hernandez next to go close. His near post header from a corner, after he had gotten away from Henderson and Robertson, was on target but well saved by Alisson.
° Another Alisson moment. Watford broke on the counter midway through the first half and Joao Pedro slid the ball in behind for Kucka. Alisson came to the rescue and made a huge one on one save. Just like at the Emirates when he saved from Odegaard, the Reds went up the other end and opened the scoring.
° Jota breaks the deadlock. Diogo bravely attacked Gomez’s inviting cross to glance the ball home. It marked his 20th goal of a remarkably productive season. Incredibly, it was the 13th time Jota had opened the scoring for Liverpool this season. It was also his 7th header in the league since joining the club, no one has more in that time.
Diogo Jota has netted double figures across all competitions in every season he has spent in England:
🐺 2017/18: 18 goals
🐺 2018/19: 19 goals
🐺 2019/20: 16 goals
🔴 2020/21: 13 goals
🔴 2021/22: 20 goals
He’s hit a new PB 📈
° First substitution. Fabinho was sent on for Jones after the hour mark. That move provided more steel in midfield and as it turned out, Fabinho would go on to seal the game. Jones was once again hit and miss. No one created more chances (3) than he did, but he let himself down with his decision making at times.
° Should we be worried about Mo? It was another quiet day at the office for Salah. It was just the second time this season he failed to register a single shot on target. It marked his eighth consecutive game for club and country without a goal from open play. Jürgen Klopp will need him to recapture his best form for this run in.
° Late pen seals it. Jota was wrestled down by Kucka in the box at a set piece and the Reds were handed the chance to seal the game from the penalty spot. Fabinho stepped up and put the ball in the top corner to give Foster no chance. It was the Brazilian’s 7th goal of a quietly productive season infront of goal.
° Gomez’s Trent impression. Joe Gomez came in for just his second league start of the season and put in a more than solid shift at right back. He earned his first assist of the season with a beautifully curled cross for Jota, with his display leading to Klopp promising him more minutes in his post match presser.
° Thiago runs the show. The Spanish international was rightly named Man of the Match last night after completely dictating proceedings throughout. There were some jaw dropping passes on show, married with a tenacity off the ball. It is absolutely crucial he stays fit for the rest of the season.
Thiago vs Watford:
• 100 touches
• 100% dribble success rate
• 85% pass accuracy
• 74 passes completed
• 10 ball recoveries (=1st)
• 11 long balls attempted (2nd)
• 8 long balls completed (1st)
• 7 duels won
• 3 interceptions (1st)
• 3 chances created (=1st)
• 2 tackles won (=2nd)
° A win is a win. With games running out in the Premier League and the stakes so high, the objective every game is simply to win. Performances become secondary and results become king. Liverpool were not at their best yesterday but got the job done regardless. I’d take 8 more performances like that if it came with the result.
° Setting things up for the decider. The win was Liverpool’s tenth in a row and it saw the Reds move top briefly, before City usurped them with a win at Burnley. It sets things up for the title decider at the Etihad next week in what is sure to be a clash for the ages.
° What next? It’s a return to the Champions League on Tuesday night when the Reds travel to Estadio da Luz to take on Benfica. It is the first leg of the quarter finals and the Reds could do with getting the job all but done before the second leg.
The second leg lies smack bang in the middle of two momentous clashes against Manchester City. Those two matches will practically decide the Reds fate in two competitions. It could be a crucial advantage if Jürgen Klopp could afford to ring changes in between that.