Trent Alexander-Arnold reached the 100 Premier League appearance milestone for Liverpool as a late winner by Diogo Jota saw the Reds claim all three points against a well-drilled and stubborn West Ham side.
Jürgen Klopp made six changes from the side that featured against FC Midtjylland in midweek, with Gini Wijnaldum, Sadio Mané, Firmino and Salah all returning to the line-up. The shifted XI also saw Curtis Jones pick up a start, as well as 23-year-old Nathaniel Phillips who made his Premier League debut for the club alongside Joe Gomez at centre-back.
The Reds started the better of the two sides however were behind in the opening 10 minutes following a well placed Pablo Fornals effort.
Typical of Liverpool’s season so far, Klopp’s leaky defence was unable to clear the danger properly with Gomez’s headed clearance falling at the feet of Fornals on the edge of the area. The Spaniard, who was unchallenged, took a touch before setting himself and releasing a scuffed effort which crept inside Alisson’s post and into the back of the net. The goal means that the Reds are still without a clean sheet at Anfield in the Premier League this season.
As expected the goal knocked the wind out of Liverpool’s sails initially but the Premier League champions slowly started finding their groove again.
With this being said, West Ham managed to keep the Reds at bay for the majority of the half, but a clumsy challenge by Arthur Masuaku on Salah in the penalty area gave Liverpool a golden ticket to get back on level terms.
The Egyptian stepped up himself to take charge of the dead ball, expertly dispatching it down the centre of Lukasz Fabianski’s goal to continue his fine scoring start to the season.
The equaliser no doubt changed Klopp’s half-time team talk as both sides entered the break on level terms with Liverpool looking the likeliest to find the go ahead goal. The Reds started the second period the better of the two teams, keeping the ball well and penning the visitors back.
But the lack of creative ability in the Liverpool midfield ranks was clear to see as West Ham’s solid block suffocated the space and made it difficult for Klopp’s midfield three to carve out any semblance of a chance.
The lack of a creative presence on the pitch saw Klopp shuffle the pack with 20 minutes to go, removing Firmino and Jones – both of whom had somewhat underwhelmed – and introducing Diogo Jota and Xherdan Shaqiri into the fray.Embed from Getty Images
The substitution almost instantly proved to be an inspired one by Klopp as Jota had the ball in the back of the net minutes after being introduced, only for VAR to rule out yet another Liverpool goal this season after Mané was deemed to have fouled Fabianski in the build up.
Despite the disappointment in having yet another goal disallowed, the Reds continued to push and press West Ham in search of a winner which eventually came through the Portuguese substitute in the 85th minute.
A bit of keep ball on the edge of the West Ham area saw Liverpool search for any opening in the David Moyes’ backline. The ball found its way to Shaqiri on the edge of the area, with the Swiss international playing an inch perfect through ball into the path of Jota who blasted it over Fabianski and into the net. No VAR needed this time as Jota reeled away in celebration.
Liverpool are next in action on November 3 when they travel to Italy to face Atalanta in their third group game in the UEFA Champions League.
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