Liverpool’s 3-2 defeat at the hands of West Ham today was a hard pill to swallow for the Reds. After going 25 matches without a defeat, Jürgen Klopp’s men were outclassed by the upstart Hammers, and it’s hard to argue they deserved anything from the match.
Center-back Virgil van Dijk gave his take on the defeat in a post-game interview with Sky Sports. The Dutch defender thought the Reds did well enough in the first half despite a rocky start, but they got overeager to create goals in the second half, which ultimately cost them three points.
“It’s a proper knock,” Van Dijk told Sky. “We have to pick ourselves up and make sure we are ready after the international break.
“It was an intense game, I think first half there was nothing really wrong. We played OK, I think in moments played well. We tried to find the spaces in between their lines and obviously they defended well.”
After going down early, Liverpool were able to level the match before halftime, but Van Dijk thought the desire for a go-ahead goal in the second half left them open to West Ham’s dangerous counter-attacking play.
“We had to be patient and scored the deserved equaliser, in my opinion, then second half we were a bit too rash maybe. We wanted maybe to score the 2-1 a bit too much.
“Obviously they gambled on the counter-attacks with leaving players up, that’s obviously a strength of theirs and then it was quite an open game.”
An open game is usually to Liverpool’s benefit, but West Ham did well to maintain a disciplined defensive front and then transition to quick counter-attacks as soon as they regained possession. It was an effective strategic combination that Liverpool did not have an answer for.
They weren’t able to break down the Hammers, and the counter-attacks gave the Liverpool defense fits for most of the second half. It was the continuation of a trend that we’ve seen in several matches in recent weeks, and Klopp is going to have to find a way to tweak the defensive setup in order to stop these quick counters when Liverpool resumes play after the international break.