The Goals Keep Coming for Liverpool
The Reds, at least temporarily, moved into 2nd place after a repeat of the result from the Olympic Stadium earlier in the season. The Hammers had a couple of chances in the first half, including a chip from Marko Arnautovic which was tipped onto the crossbar. However, it was a different Liverpool that turned out for the second half, dominating their opponents and punishing them regularly. On another day Liverpool could’ve scored 7 or 8, but every Reds fan will be pleased to see this excellent run of results continue.
Loris Karius – 7: Was only seriously tested on three occasions on a quiet afternoon for the stopper. He brilliantly denied Arnautovic twice in the first half, but couldn’t do anything to stop Michail Antonio.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8: This kid is special. Another mature performance from a player whose mental and technical abilities are incredible for a lad of his age. TAA’s crossing was a particular highlight in a game where his all-around talent shone through.
Joel Matip – 6: Similar to previous games, Matip again failed to justify his place ahead of Dejan Lovren. He didn’t make any glaring mistakes beyond gifting Arnautovic an early chance, but he still doesn’t play with confidence.
Virgil Van Dijk – 7: VVD also gifted West Ham a chance or two, but made up for it with the other 99% of his actions. He was largely untested for the majority of the game, but was again a strong presence at the back.
Andrew Robertson – 9: The bargain signing of the season. Like TAA, it’s easy to forget how young Robertson is. It’s a joy to watch him as he plays with his heart on his sleeve and fights for every pass, tackle and cross.
Emre Can – 7: Despite getting a goal and an assist, Can had a fairly quiet game. Considering the way the rest of the team were able to dominate West Ham, it was a surprise to see Can not getting more involved.
James Milner – 8: Milly has become an indispensable part of this squad. His leadership is invaluable, but it’s not his sole contribution, as his passing recently has been phenomenal. Should’ve had an assist when he played a perfectly weighted through ball to Firmino but the Brazilian failed to convert.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 8: The Ox was one player who turned it up in the second half. He grabbed two assists and almost scored himself as he ran riot over West Ham’s defence. It was a surprise to see him start, but he’s given Klopp something to think about after that performance.
Mo Salah – 8: Salah is now level with Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot, and he is still not showing any signs of slowing down. He was unfortunate to hit the post in the first half and he then headed over moments later. In typical Salah fashion though, the chances kept coming, and he inevitably found the back of the net.
Sadio Mane – 7: Couldn’t quite carry over his Champions League form into this game, but he was still a constant threat with his movement. He missed a couple of big chances but was duly rewarded with a goal eventually.
Roberto Firmino – 9 (Man of the Match): He’s simply brilliant. Firmino was at the heart of every attack and again showed his brilliance. A cheeky nutmeg was followed by an outrageous no-look shot as he added another goal to his tally.
Adam Lallana – N/A (on for Firmino – 82′): No time to make a difference.
Alberto Moreno – N/A (on for Mane – 86′): No time to make a difference.
Dominic Solanke – N/A (on for Salah – 86′): No time to make a difference.
Jurgen Klopp – 8: Klopp had plenty of time to prepare for this fixture, so there could be no excuses if Liverpool walked away with anything less than 3 points. Thankfully the team were sharp and the tactics employed paid off spectacularly. A running theme with Klopp, the only criticism is that he again didn’t give his subs enough game time after the match had already been won in the 77th minute.
A good habit Liverpool are falling into is scoring in every game, usually more than once. The other encouraging sign is that despite the front three, and especially Salah, dominating the headlines, it’s not just them who are scoring. The defenders and midfielders are chipping in with goals and assists as well showing tremendous all-around attacking potency throughout the team.
It’s arguable that Klopp has now more or less found his current best XI. The only real questions are whether the Ox or Gini WIjnaldum should start in midfield, and who should partner VVD at centre back between Lovren and Matip. The core of the team is well and truly established and have been consistently putting in impressive attacking and defensive displays.
Another Week Off
Liverpool have a week to prepare for the next game at home against Newcastle. Rafa Benitez’s side will look to steal a result as they did against Manchester United, so Klopp will need his players to repeat yesterday’s efforts. The upcoming game against United may appear more important, but it is vital that Liverpool are in a position to secure 2nd place by not dropping points against Newcastle.
You’ll Never Walk Alone
Cieren O’Dea for Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – on 25/02/2018