West Ham 3 - 2 Liverpool
West Ham: Alisson 5’ (OG), Fornals 67’, Zouma 74’
Liverpool: Alexander-Arnold 41’, Origi 83’
Everyone seems to think this is a big match because of where West Ham are on the table but it’s only November. Sure we could use the points and losing away always sucks but after the way our form has been and the resurgence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (look I know that faith in him is maybe misguided), I feel pretty neutral about today. Knock on wood.
Four minutes in and that above statement came back to bite me. West Ham win a corner, Alisson uncharacteristically panics, and West Ham have a goal (or it’s an own goal on Ali, jury is still out). Now the Hammers are trying to control the game by fouling everyone all over the place - including a high boot on Henderson that was somehow not ruled a red card. With this small of a lead so early in the match, though, West Ham have started to sit back and hold on.
This is the first of many matches without Roberto Firmino as he recovers from a hamstring injury, and early on we see the results of that absence as the midfield struggle to find a rhythm with the final third. Trent Alexander-Arnold looks to be playing more narrowly and forward than we’re used to, but it looks like he’s trying to help out in the midfield - although leaving us vulnerable in the back right.
Liverpool finally find an equalizer through Trent scoring a beautiful curler from a free kick - even as West Ham literally laid a man down the base of the wall to keep him from rolling it through. Now the Reds have a little more confidence, a little more momentum to carry them through this first half and start charging for a second. That’s definitely helped by the added 6 minutes at the end of this half. West Ham, to their credit, have been well organized and able to counter better than Liverpool were maybe expecting, and have caused a lot of trouble for us.
(There’s been a LOT of fouling going on, just in general, and Craig Pawson has been a dismal referee today but I hate talking about the officiating so that’s why it’s been relegated to a parenthesis at the end of the first half).
The second half gets underway without any major changes. Liverpool are back to the mission of finding weaknesses in this well organized West Ham and find that all important winner. The first half ended so late that it’s strange to see the second half start right at 45 again, but that’s where we are. West Ham nearly score from a corner but Declan Rice’s effort hits the crossbar, and not long after is an effort from Sadio Mane deftly blocked by Fabianski.
Both teams have settled considerably by the 60th minute as they both look for their second goal to seal the three points, making the match decidedly less exciting and more stressful. It was only five minutes after that for West Ham to find a second goal through Pablo Fornals, catching Alisson well into the box and tossing the ball low into the net. Liverpool use the delirious celebrations as a chance to bring on Thiago in exchange for Chambo to try and get a little more control in the midfield - and they get a decent chance through some work by Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson to get the ball to Diogo Jota - but Jota’s header goes wide and hits the side netting on the wrong side.
Liverpool need to find some composure if they want to get two more goals, although with twenty minutes left at this point, there’s plenty of time. Would really hate to just hand Danvid Moyes his first win against Jurgen Klopp, honestly. Liverpool are making it too easy as West Ham have another easy chance at 73 minutes in, but Alisson makes sure to block this one and keep them from scoring a sitter. Even Virgil Van Dijk has to actually do some work and scream at the rest of the squad to figure out what is going on.
With the way the Reds are looking, West Ham’s third goal, another from a corner, looks like the nail in the coffin for this match. Divock Origi comes on now for Diogo Jota - which means it must be really desperate - after all we have fifteen minutes and some change to score three and... uh, confidence isn’t high unless these lads get their shit together. Klopp makes his last change, bringing on Takumi Minamino for Fabinho at the 76th minute - honestly, I might have brought on Minamino earlier but what do I know.
Liverpool finally find a second to try and stop some of the damage, Origi scoring in style to keep us in it for maybe ten more minutes. The Redmen look truly gassed in these last few minutes, but with four minutes added on as stoppage and a free kick just outside the area, there’s a chance for an equalizer again... that goes wide after Mane barely gets a head on it. Unlucky.
Final Thoughts and Man of the Match
To their credit, West Ham knew what they were doing, and did it really well. We... did not, as the lack of Firmino magic really hindered the connection between our attack and midfield. This international break is definitely welcome as a lot of players look like they need a break, as well.
Man of the Match
This poll is closed
Virgil Van Dijk
Nobody, this match didn’t deserve one.