Reds: Mane 27’
Jürgen Klopp makes eight changes from the side that defeated Norwich City in the FA Cup on Wednesday. Despite several injuries to contend with, Liverpool have a very strong side on the field to take on the Hammers. The Reds have an opportunity to keep the pressure on Manchester City with a win, pulling back within three points while even on games played. West Ham are part of the crew who all seem to be avoiding taking over fourth place in the table.
Liverpool got a quick start to the match, with Trent Alexander-Arnold playing Mohamed Salah through on goal down the right wing in the first minute, but Fabianski stayed big and made the save on the 1v1 chance. Mo then had another opportunity a couple of minutes later, this time having the ball slipped to him into the box by Jordan Henderson, but the ball is tackled away with a last-ditch challenge. Salah wants a penalty, but nothing doing. Good early pressure from the Reds though.
Luis Diaz is really good you guys. He just did a quick juggle in the box, flicking the ball over his own head before swiveling to hit a volley that was unfortunately blocked. The ball rebounded to Salah, but again he was left wanting, sending his shot dribbling wide of the post.
John Moss continues his streak of being an absolute git, several times refusing to call a penalty in Mohamed Salah’s favor despite the Egyptian King getting mugged all over the field.
GOAL LIVERPOOL!!! And it’s Sadio Mané who gives the Reds the lead! Liverpool patiently work the ball around the offensive third, and Naby Keita squares the ball across to Trent Alexander-Arnold. Trent takes the ball out of the air with his chest and then hits a bouncing shot on the volley. Mané follows the shot in, and gets a toe to it to tuck it home from close range ahead of the keeper and a defender. VAR has a look for offside, but Sadio timed his run to perfection and was just on!
Luis Diaz is absolutely electric! The Colombian shoes his turn of pace, starting a run from well inside the Liverpool half, twisting and turning around defenders. It looks like he just might have a chance to get a shot off, but gets fouled just outside the West Ham box.
Trent and Mo combine on the free kick that almost doubles the Liverpool lead. Trent touches the ball to Mo, who stops it with his studs. Trent steps into his strike and sends it curling just over the wall, and barely to the outside of the near post. Fabianski was absolutely rooted.
HOW DO LIVERPOOL NOT SCORE A SECOND THERE! Some great interplay down the left between Hendo and Robbo moves the ball down the field, and then Henderson sends it across to Fabinho. The Brazilian spots the run of Trent Alexander-Arnold in behind on the right and plays him in. Trent cuts the ball back to Diaz, who hits a shot that is cleared off of the line. Mo has the ball come to him with his back to goal just a yard out, but he can’t control the ball and it bounces out to a West Ham defender to clear.
Liverpool left scrambling as West Ham hit a counter down the middle through Pablo Fornals. The run looks to be offside, but the flag stays down. Alisson comes out to the top of the box and Fornals scoops the ball over him, leaving the keeper stranded. Trent races back and clears it off the line. Liverpool can’t scramble the ball clear, and it comes to Nikola Vlasic, who gets off a shot from close range that Alisson partially blocks in the middle of the box. Trent again is on hand to clear the ball off the line and out for a corner. The linesman never raises the flag, but the replay shows the initial run was a good yard or so off. If it had gone in, it would definitely would have been overturned, but instead it will go down as two clear chances for West Ham.
Liverpool start the second half off controlling possession, keeping the ball in the West Ham half for the first few minutes. West Ham get a lucky bounce on a long clearance up towards Antonio, and Jarrod Bowen catches Konaté sitting too deep, making a run in behind him to get to the ball. Andy Robertson races back and slides in to clear the ball back off of Bowen to divert danger and give Liverpool a goal kick.
Bowen goes down with what looks like an ankle or calf injury during the next sequence, and has trouble bearing weight as he is helped off the field. West Ham are forced to make their first sub, with Said Benrahama coming in for Bowen in the minute 54th minute.
The linesman again holds the flag for an obvious offside, but Liverpool clear the danger and start a counter. The flag then finally goes up and Jonathan Moss blows the whistle as Liverpool steam forward to bring the ball back for a free kick. Peak Premier League officiating, that.
A Liverpool fan has a large inflatable cat head, and the fans are chanting “a cat, a cat” towards Kurt Zouma.
West Ham make their second sun in the 60th minute. Mark Noble comes on for Vlasic.
Liverpool work the ball quickly down the field from right to left, going from Mo to Sadio to Luis Diaz. The Colombian makes a quick cut inside to his right foot at the top of the box and hits a shot towards the far post, but the ball curls just to the wrong side of the post.
Yikes, Lanzini with a chance from close range, but Lanzini puts it high over the bar. He received the ball in the center of the box after a nice cross from Soucek, and made a great cut to sent Trent Alexander-Arnold sliding past him before thrashing the shot over. It was a terrible defensive line by Liverpool there to give Lanzini the opportunity.
Liverpool create another couple of shooting opportunities, but both chances go begging. First, Mohamed Salah decides to take a shot from distance despite several players making runs ahead of him, and the shot is blocked. Then Liverpool work the ball around before it comes to Diaz, who takes a shot from the edge of the box, but he fails to put it on target.
It has not been Mohamed Salah’s night. Trent plays a great ball into the box for Luis Diaz, who turns and makes a sharp run to the end line. Salah cuts towards the goal, and Diaz feeds the ball into him, but Salah’s first touch is poor and the ball bounces away from him.
That ends up being Salah’s last contribution for the match, as Diogo Jota is brought in for him in the 79th minute.
West Ham again break forward and put Liverpool under pressure on the counter. The ball is spread right to Michail Anotnio, who sets Andy Robertson up and cuts inside of him. Naby Keita steps in and tackles the ball away before Anotnio can get the shot off, thankfully.
Klopp decides to bring in some fresh legs in the midfield the 90th minute. James Milner is introduced for Naby Keita, who quietly had a very solid game.
The fourth official raises to board showing five minutes of extra time.
Sadio Mané wants a penalty after striking a shot that hit off the hand of Kurt Zouma. Moss, of course, waves it away. The replay shows the ball did indeed hit Zouma’s hand, but his arms were down by his side, and the shot came from about a yard away. Would have been harsh to call.
West Ham make ine final change, bringing on Daniel Chesters for Pablo Fornals in the 93rd minute.
Meanwhile, Klopp decides to bring in Curtis Jones for Luis Diaz in the 95th minute. Jones immediately gets the ball high on the left flank, and does a good job holding the ball to see out the last seconds of the match.
Final Thoughts and Man of the Match
Liverpool were dominant early, but only put away one of their many opportunities. West Ham pushed hard for an equalizer, and missed a big opportunity from Lanzini. The Reds managed to hang on and see the game out to pull back within three points of Manchester City to keep the pressure on the Cityzens ahead of their derby match tomorrow. The win takes Liverpool’s streak to seven wins in a row.
Who was Liverpool’s Man of the Match against West Ham?
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