Liverpool FC continued their resurgence, beating West Ham United 1-0 at Anfield. Despite dominating the first half with an incredible display of effort and shoot-at-will theatrics from Darwin Nunez, the game got incredibly nervy in the second half, with the Reds ceding control to the Hammers and unable to get the ball away from their half.
Many observers would probably point to the substitutions of Thiago Alcantara and Darwin Nunez as the turning point where the game shifted. Thiago was having one of those sublime games where he just seemed to glide around the pitch, and Darwin was giving the West Ham defense fits with his ball recovery and ability to get shots off at goal. Manager Jürgen Klopp explained the reasons for the substitutions in a post-match interview with Amazon:
“He [Nunez] felt a little bit the hamstring at half-time, so then you have to make early changes, which is absolutely fine, we can do that.”
“We have to consider different things. Thiago stretched once on the pitch, which is for me a warning sign that we have to react pretty much on everything, so it was clear we had to change him.”
“With Darwin, at half-time, everybody said ‘no it’s fine, it’s fine’. But when somebody is five minutes on the bed then I’m concerned as well, it was a precaution.”
“Then we needed a bit more size because immediately. With Harvey coming on, we get a bit smaller, and against West Ham, set pieces are a massive feature for them, so we had to figure out how we could deal with all the different situations.
“They’re all okay, I think we picked them all in the right moments.”
Liverpool are already down two key attackers and will be playing every three days until the season breaks for the world cup mid-November, so yeah, probably a good idea by the manager to exercise some caution there.