WEST HAM UNITED 1 - 3 LIVERPOOL
West Ham: Dawson 87’
Liverpool: Salah 57’ 68’, Wijnaldum 84’
After a poor run of form, Liverpool seemingly bounced back in their last game against Tottenham Hotspur. It’s imperative that that momentum is kept going if we are to stay in the top four, or even challenge Manchester City, who currently sit seven points higher in the league table, for the title. West Ham will be looking to make a statement today, having had six consecutive wins recently in various tournaments. But Liverpool have more wins against them than against any other team, so we hope the trend continues.
With Sadio Mane out and Bobby Firmino benched, Mohamed Salah is joined by Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri in the attacking lineup. We also have a heavily possession-based midfield in Thiago, Gini and Milner. Nat Phillips partners Jordan Hender at centre-back in Fabinho’s absence. Friends, we can make it through this. I think.
Our unconventional attacking trio has Origi down the left, Salah down the center or right, and Shaqiri wandering. West Ham look organized and show a surprising amount of finesse in their passing game. Their initial energetic press is slowed down by Liverpool as the latter look to take control of the game about 5 minutes in. Liverpool end up with over 70% possession but ultimately end the half with only one shot on target and three corners not capitalized on. Declan Rice sets off a slick team move around 24’ that gets West Ham close to scoring but Robertson heads it away. This was a great half for Shaqiri and Phillips - the former has been great on the press, the latter has been great aerially and has used his towering frame to ward off threats from the likes of Antonio. This was a terrible half for Divock Origi, who looks listless, has missed a number of shots, and has hit passes backwards instead of goalwards. Especially frustrating since much of our attacking play has been down the left flank. Somewhere Sadio Mane is fuming.
The second half sees Liverpool getting more shots in. Origi hits one wide right, but it lacks precision. A beautiful pitch-length soaring pass from Henderson at 53’ is headed weakly by Salah into Fabianski’s arms. Milner is subbed off at 53’ and replaced by Curtis Jones, who has an immediate impact passing the ball forward assertively to Trent, who assists Salah and we have a GOAL!
At 67’ Liverpool intercepts a West Ham corner, and Trent hits the ball immaculately down the pitch to Shaqiri, who passes to Salah and we have another GOAL! Incredible team counter, perfect clinical finish by Salah. What a goal.
GOAL again at 83’ - a delightful one-touch sequence between Trent, Firmino and Oxlade-Chamberlain, which is then slotted in powerfully by Gini. Joyful, wonderful football.
GOAL for West Ham at 86’ - Craig Dawson ruins our clean sheet scoring from a West Ham corner. But the scoreline ends in Liverpool’s favour.
This was an interesting game of lineup permutations/combinations and impact subs. While we saw many glimpses of Liverpool’s return to fiery form, the win was somewhat hard fought - in the first half at least, with Mane and Firmino unavailable. The reliable Milner-Gini-Thiago possession trio, the Curtis Effect, the possible end of Divock Origi, sensational scoring Salah - there are many sub-plots to today’s match, most of them in the second half. But most of all, it’s incredible what this team displayed today and against Spurs despite the near-catastrophic injury situation. I don’t feel like writing off that consecutive title win just yet.