It was far from a vintage performance, but once again Liverpool proved that they have enough grit and determination to edge these tight encounters.
After another slow start it felt inevitable that West Ham would take the lead, and that happened within 20 minutes as Pablo Fornals took advantage of the space afforded to him on the edge of the penalty area to fire home off the post.
But the Reds had won each of their previous nine Anfield games in which they had fallen behind, which provided confidence that the situation could be recovered.
There was a feeling that this would perhaps be the evening that would see that run come to an end, but a double substitution changed the game as Diogo Jota and Xherdan Shaqiri came off the bench to take the finely-poised game by the scruff of the neck and shove the home side over the line.
The football wasn’t great and there were a number of lacklustre performances among the Liverpool players, but three more points on the board will please Jurgen Klopp greatly – especially considering West Ham’s recent good form.
With Don Kopleone taking an entirely underserved day off, Daniel Moxon was on hand to rate the Reds…
Ali 6 – Will have been disappointed not to save Fornals’ opener. Can’t help but feel that we’ve said that a few times too many already this season. A bystander for the rest of the evening.
Trent 6.5 – Crosses not as piercing as usual, and a couple of really tame free-kicks. Not his best night, but not his worst either.
JoGo 7 – At fault for the West Ham opener, heading straight at Fornals under no pressure and then failing to close down the Spaniard before he fired home. Much improved after that, though he continues to struggle in aerial battles.
Natty 7.5 – Won a couple of early headers against Haller to settle nerves. Was fairly busy throughout but coped fairly well with most of what was thrown at him. Not a perfect performance, but a very good one considering it was only his second Liverpool start.
Robbo 6.5 – Tried channelling his inner John-Arne Riise with a first-half volley which whizzed over the bar. Tried to bring some danger down the left and got into some decent attacking positions, but little by way of genuine threat.
Hendo 7 – The holding man of the midfield three, but often allowed Fornals far too much space on the edge of the penalty area in the first half. Saw more of the ball than any other person on the pitch and was tidy in possession, but we’ve come to expect more from the skipper.Embed from Getty Images
Gini 7 – I must admit I’ve revisited this after re-watching the game. At first I didn’t feel like he was involved enough – and perhaps he could have got on the ball a bit more – but upon review his work ethic was superb and he was so efficient when he did have possession. A better performance than I first gave him credit for.
CJ 6 – Didn’t close down Masuaku early on as his cross led to Fornals’ opener. Relatively tidy in possession but we want to see much more from the young Scouser. An opportunity missed on his first Premier League start of the season.
Mo 6 – Drew the foul from Masuaku in the box, and then got up to calmly dispatch the penalty. An important goal, but other than that he wasn’t anywhere near involved enough here.
Bobby 5.5 – He’s knackered. We could forgive his struggles in front of goal when he was still doing all his other important work, but too many times of late he has failed to make any impact on a match, and it was no different here. The voices asking for him to be dropped are only going to grow louder.
Sadio 6.5 – Drew a few fouls in the first half, as usual. Largely ineffectual in spells, but the liveliest of the attacking trio that started. His challenge for the ball late on was deemed to be a foul on Fabianski and saw a Jota goal ruled out, but it didn’t cost his side.
Diogo 8 – Thought he’d won it with 10 minutes to go when he tapped home, but saw it chalked off after a VAR review, through no fault of his own. But then he did win it with an ice cold finish from Shaqiri’s through ball. Has yet to fail to look dangerous whenever he’s on the pitch. Did more in 20 minutes than any other attacker, so he’s my man of the match.
Little Shaq 7.5 – Broke the deadlock against Midtjylland with an incisive through ball, and did exactly the same here to win the game for his side. Hugely important impact in his last two appearances, after looking for a while as though his days as a Liverpool player were numbered.
Milly N/A – He’s old.
Never miss a thing
Get all of our content sent straight to your inbox — free of charge.