Looking to maintain their momentum after beating Manchester City on Sunday (October 16), Liverpool welcomed West Ham United to town for their Premier League tussle on Wednesday (October 19).
The Merseysiders were not always in control of the game but did well to seal a 1-0 win in front of their fans at Anfield. Summer signing Darwin Nunez scored the only goal for the game in the first half.
With the win, the Merseysiders have climbed up to seventh place in the Premier League standings. Having secured 16 points from 10 matches, Liverpool find themselves four points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea.
The Reds looked more comfortable than West Ham early on in the match but had to wait until 14 minutes to lodge their first shot on target. Nunez caught the ball on the half-volley from outside the box to send it swerving towards Lukasz Fabianski’s goal. The Polish goalkeeper made a crucial save to deny Nunez his first Anfield goal since joining from Benfica.
Eight minutes later, Nunez came again, only this time, his effort breached Fabianski’s resistance. Kostas Tsimikas curled in a beautiful cross from the left, and Nunez attacked it with intent, directing his header past the hapless Fabianski. A minute later, Nunez got the opportunity to double his tally but ended up guiding his header straight down the Pole’s throat.
In the 38th minute, Mohamed Salah went for goal with a curler. However, his effort was rather tame and was collected fairly easily by Fabianski. Just before the half-time whistle, the Hammers were awarded a penalty kick, courtesy of Joe Gomez’s foul on Jarrod Bowen. Bowen stepped up to take the kick but failed to convert, with his effort being comprehensively parried behind by Alisson.
Liverpool and West Ham traded blows in the second half, but both teams lacked composure in front of goal. Four minutes before the full-time whistle, Tomas Soucek looked destined to equalize for West Ham, but James Milner’s extraordinary last-ditch block ensured maximum points for the hosts.
Here are three players who impressed and two who missed the mark in Liverpool’s win over West Ham on Wednesday night:
Performed: Jordan Henderson
Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson produced a commendable performance against West Ham United on Wednesday. The Englishman worked tirelessly over the course of the match, carried the ball well into the opposition's half, switched play with his long balls, and even came close to scoring.
In the 48th minute, Henderson played a little one-two with Salah before going for goal with a chipped attempt from outside the box. Fabianski superbly tipped the ball over the bar to deny the Reds’ skipper.
On Wednesday, Henderson played two key passes, took more touches than any other player (106), and won all four of his ground duels. Additionally, he delivered six accurate long balls, attempted three tackles, and completed a dribble.
Underperformed: Trent Alexander-Arnold
Right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold was considerably below his best against the Hammers. He misplaced passes, ceded possession rather frequently, and was easily beaten in ground duels.
Against West Ham, Alexander-Arnold misplaced five of six crosses, saw seven of his 10 attempted long balls veer off target, and lost both his ground duels. He also lost possession 23 times, misplaced 14 passes, and was dribbled past twice.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson did not have the best of starts to the game, with him misplacing some early passes. However, the experienced Brazilian shot-stopper settled down as the match wore on. He was barely called into action in the first half but produced the goods when he needed to, saving a crucial penalty.
Gomez’s challenge on Bowen was initially dubbed fair by the on-field referee, but VAR asked him to reconsider and give the visitors a penalty. Bowen’s spot-kick was decent but it wasn’t good enough to beat Alisson, who heroically lunged to his right to deny him. Alisson made a total of three saves against West Ham, delivered seven accurate long balls, and had five recoveries.
Introduced in Thiago’s place in the 58th minute, Fabinho failed to put his best foot forward against West Ham. He was often slow to react, was turned around way too easily, and failed to get involved in the game.
The Brazil international made only 16 passes (76.2% accuracy), lost three of four ground duels, ceded possession six times, and committed a foul. He also lost the only tackle he attempted and was dribbled past twice.
Performed: Darwin Nunez
Liverpool’s marquee summer signing Darwin Nunez arguably produced his best-ever performance for the Reds on Wednesday night. Apart from applying a brilliant headed finish to Tsimikas’ cross in the 22nd minute, Nunez hit the post once and drew a couple of stunning saves from Fabianski. Had the Uruguayan had a bit of luck on his side, he could have walked away with a brace or better.
In addition to scoring the winner, Nunez won two duels, drew a foul, cleared the ball once, and made 12 accurate passes (85.7% accuracy) on Wednesday.