Liverpool moved to the top of the Premier with a hard-fought 2-1 win over West Ham United at Anfield. The Reds went a goal down early on but once again showed an incredible mentality to battle on and steal all three points. We weren’t at our best but the result is the most important thing, especially in this horrifically congested, soulless season.
In goal, Alisson had very little to do and didn’t have much of a chance for the West Ham opener, in my opinion.
The back four included a surprise starter in Nat Phillips. Rumours before the game suggested Rhys Williams would be given the nod, but Jurgen Klopp elected to go with the former and what a decision that turned out to be. In his first ever Premier League game he didn’t look out of place for a second. No, he’s not the greatest on the ball like we’ve become used to with our other centre-backs, but he did exactly what was asked of him – win his duels and get rid of the ball when it comes into dangerous areas. Next to him, Joe Gomez had a more difficult evening. He made a big mistake for the Pablo Fornals goal, failing to get any distance on his header away following a cross. Not only that, but his long passing was noticeably poor. In Van Dijk’s absence we need one of our central defenders to ping 60-yard balls out to the wings and, unfortunately, right now Gomez isn’t stepping up to the plate.
In midfield, Curtis Jones started alongside Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum. Neither Jones or Henderson played particularly well, however I thought Gini had one of his best games in a while. He was tenacious, aggressive and extremely hard to dispossess. It wasn’t an easy game for any midfielder to have an impact on, with West Ham playing incredibly deep with everyone behind the ball at all times, so I will cut the Englishmen some slack.
In attack, it was the usual front three that were handed starts. Despite Firmino’s ongoing wretched form, he was still selected over Diogo Jota. Unsurprisingly, the Brazilian was terrible once again and the team looked far better once Jota and Shaqiri came on. Mo Salah got us the equaliser from the spot after winning the penalty following a clumsy tackle by Masuaku. Diogo Jota got the winner off the bench after a quite sublime through-ball from Xherdan Shaqiri just 5 minutes from time. Surely Jota has to start over Firmino for the foreseeable future.
As for Man of the Match, I’m going to go with Nat Phillips. Everyone was concerned coming into this game, knowing we were going to have to play an inexperienced defender. Phillips, though, put in a very solid performance and proved himself to be a genuine option for us at the back with all our injury troubles.