The slightest hopes for a top-4 league finish remain as Liverpool bounced back from a 1-0 deficit early in the match to secure three points and the team’s third-straight win with a 2-1 triumph at West Ham United. The Liverpool boss shared his happiness with the victory after the match, saying that not only do the Reds “need three points, we also need a performance, and one we can build on.”
A third-straight win, and a fifth-straight Premeir League result with at least a point, is significant to a team that’s struggled to keep any momentum at any time this year. Simply looking at the results suggests Liverpool is on the right track at the right time of year.
So should the fans be optimismistic?
Jurgen Klopp was forced into one change from the starting XI that beat Nottingham Forest a few days earlier. Defender Ibrahima Konate was deemed unfit and was replaced by Joel Matip. However the change proved beneficial as Matip’s solid performance was rewarded after a rocket header that broke a 1-1 tie and would end up being the difference.
Trent Alexander-Arnold continued in his new hybrid role, moving from right-back forward into the midfield at times. His play wasn’t as remarkable as it was in this role versus Forest but with Declan Rice and a physical West Ham midfield to contend with, it showed a work in progress, as it will be for the rest of the year.
The right side got exposed a few times as TAA vacated the area for a more central-midfield position, which caused problems for an already weak defensive line. Virgil’s lack of quality this season featured on West Ham’s first goal and on Jarrod Bowen’s goal that was ruled out by VAR due to offside.
The VAR call was correct but was razor thin, and Liverpool also got a break when the referee didn’t call handball on Thiago in the box with just one minute remaining. Way too close for comfort for a team looking for a “performance” down the stretch.
Conceding two goals to Forest, another relegation threatened team, also suggests things are very precarious on the defensive side, despite the wins.
GAKPO AND SET PIECES
Klopp will certainly focus on the positives though, such as Cody Gakpo’s continued surge at the front of the attack. His goal from outside the box showed his ability and why he was so sought after by LFC. Gakpo’s improved play, along with Jota’s recent scoring surge, has left fewer minutes for Darwin Nunez. Finding him more time will certainly be a focus down the stretch.
Liverpool’s set pieces were on display finally as Andy Robertson delivered a brilliant ball off a corner kick to produce a free header for Matip and the game-winner. Liverpool will need every advantage in its last six games and getting back to scoring at a high-rate from set pieces, as they’ve done in the past, is paramount to applying the pressure that’s so needed in Liverpool’s attack.
Momemtum must continue and Klopp will need everything clicking to avoid missing out on any European competitions next year.