Liverpool FC seemingly overcame their results crisis and followed up their well-received victory over ManCity with another three-goal win over West Ham at Anfield. The Reds won 1-0 against West Ham at Anfield and the victory was undoubtedly deserved, although the game could well have ended differently.
Liverpool presented themselves against West Ham from the beginning dynamic, running and convincing with their counter-pressing. Unsurprisingly, the Reds quickly gained a few field advantages and also had the first notable chance of the game through Darwin (15th). The Uruguayan, along with Alexander-Arnold, Tsimikas, Henderson and Fabio Carvalho, was one of five newcomers Jürgen Klopp had brought in for the 1-0 win over Manchester City (Milner, Robertson, Fabinho, Diogo Jota and Elliott were no longer involved) – and it was he who put the home team ahead: from Tsimikas’ cross, Darwin got the better of Kehrer and headed in textbook fashion for 1-0.
It was also his first ever league goal at Anfield (22nd). He could have added the second soon after, but Darwin failed to beat Fabianski (24). The Polish goalkeeper had to be on his guard several times as Liverpool pressed for the 2:0 – but it wouldn’t come: Salah first flicked narrowly wide (35th) and then shot into Fabianski’s arms (38th), before Darwin hit the post (39th).
West Ham, with Zouma, Downes and Pablo Fornals in place of Coufal, Emerson and Lucas Paqueta for the 1-1 draw at Southampton, had been offensively ineffective so far – and yet the Hammers had a great chance to equalise when Gomez ran down Bowen in his own penalty area.
Alisson prevents West Ham from making a comeback
After a VAR call, the visitors were awarded a penalty, but Bowen was unable to capitalise as Reds keeper Alisson made a superb save to scramble the ball out of the left-hand corner (45th) and preserve his team’s slender half-time lead.
What was not so nice was that van Dijk had kicked once with gusto into the penalty spot shortly before the penalty was taken to make it a bit more uneven – not forbidden, but certainly not the fine English, or in this case Dutch, way either.
Either way, the Reds went into the second period with a 1-0 lead, which then resembled the first in many ways: Liverpool were better in many respects, played clearer and were in control. But despite some promising opportunities (Henderson, 48th, Darwin, 56th, Firmino, 63rd, Jones, 75th), the Reds still did not add to their lead, so that their lead remained thin – and the tension in the game.
West Ham did not give up, fought passionately until the end, but simply lacked the means to seriously challenge Liverpool, who defended with concentration. And yet, as in the first half, the Hammers had a great chance to equalise, but this time not with a penalty. Instead, Soucek was wonderfully played free, but he failed to score from close range against Milner, who had come on as a substitute and was now defending stoutly, to secure the Reds a minimal victory (87th minute).
The Reds return to action on Saturday (1.30pm), but then away to Nottingham Forest, while West Ham do not return to action until Monday (9pm) with a home game against Bournemouth.