Liverpool FC 3 - 2 West Ham United
Reds: Wijnaldum 9’, Salah 68’, Mane 81’
Hammers: Diop 12’, Fornals 55’
Liverpool are going for a stunning, record-equaling 18th win in a row here. That it would heap further misery on David Moyes is only an added benefit. More importantly, a win would once again widen the lead over Manchester City to 22 points. And it would mean that Liverpool would need just 12 points in their remaining fixtures to secure their first Premier League title. At home, under the lights, against a relegation side coached by Moysey? This should be a big win for the boys in Red.
Captain Virgil van Dijk leads the lads out. No offense Hendo. You know I love you. But it looks good on Big Virg.
The Reds start brightly, with some testing balls in behind, and winning a couple of corners early. Then Naby Keita nearly catches Fabianski out with some high pressing, but it goes out harmlessly for a goalkick. Good signs, regardless!
GOAL! Some lovely interplay between Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Naby Keita in the box creates a shot for Bobby. His shot is blocked, but Trent Alexander-Arnold picks up the scraps, sending in a dangerous cross for Georginio Wijnaldum to nod home.
Goal. Well, that lead was fun while it lasted. After being more or less imperious on corners all year, the Reds concede their second in as many matches. Issa Diop manages to beat Joe Gomez to the header, beating Alisson near post. It’s still probably nothing to get too worked up about. For now, we can mark this down as “football things that happen.”
Liverpool are immediately back on the attack, winning a free kick in a dangerous area, which eventually leads to a good effort from Salah in the second phase of play, which had Fabianski at full stretch to save it.
Sadio Mane doing NSFW things in the box. Might want to keep the kids away from the highlights after what he just did to that defender.
Another throw-in routine nearly leads to another goal for the Reds. Bobby did well to pick out TAA’s run into the box, but the young fullback could not turn his shot on target.
Two more big chances for Liverpool left wanting. Mane wins a free kick in a dangerous position, and Alexander-Arnold’s free kick goes just wide after a deflection from a West Ham player. Then Van Dijk hits the bar with a header from the ensuing corner. Getting closer.
West Ham will be very happy to hear the halftime whistle and still be on level pegging. Other than the corners West Ham have offered next to nothing going forward. The only other moment came when Virgil was caught out of position and Gomez made a rare mistake, but Alisson was quick off his line to deal with the situation. For the Reds, more of the same in the second half should see them comfortably walking away with all three points.
Firmino’s poor finishing at Anfield...continues. Trent plays him into space in the box within the first minute of the half, but Bobby blazes his effort well over the bar. He’ll want that one back.
Goal. Wow. The Reds are behind. At Anfield. It’s a simple cross and a simple finish from a poorly-tracked runner in the middle of the box.
For what it’s worth, Klopp is wasting no time in bringing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain off the bench for Keita. Liverpool respond with a flurry of chances, including about a million corners (approximate). They just need to make them count...I write as Firmino blazes his header over the cross bar.
GOAL!! Mo Salah equalizes after a Robbo cut-back! Fabianski has done fantastically well to keep Liverpool out so far, but that one went right through his hands (and then through his legs).
Since equalizing, Liverpool are mostly on top, but West Ham have threatened a couple of times on the counter. Also, we’ve been denied two penalty shouts by Jon Moss. So, we’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way. Sorry, make that three penalty shouts after Van Dijk was taken out in the box.
GOAL!!! Another scrappy goal! Does it matter? It. Does. Not. Gomez decides to have a crack from distance, it takes a deflection and Alexander-Arnold is there to pick up the scraps. Fabianski saves the initial effort, but Mane is there to slot home into an open goal.
Mane nearly makes it four, but is correctly ruled to have been offside. At the other end, Bowen nearly makes it 3-3, but Alisson provides the biggest of interventions to keep the nervy lead. Liverpool survive yet another scare at the death to walk away with all three points.
If I’m being honest, I never thought West Ham would give us this much of a game. But they did. Still, despite his very best efforts, David Moyes leaves Anfield on the end of yet another defeat. Four more wins until Liverpool are champions of England.