Liverpool have gone into the international break with a winning momentum as they enjoyed a comfortable 4-1 win over West Ham United on Saturday
The hosts began the game strongly as Andre Ayew gave Simon Mignolet a scare by striking the post. But after the first few minutes, Liverpool slowly grew into the game, before eventually breaking the deadlock midway through the first half.
A devastating counterattack from a West Ham corner resulted in the Reds grabbing the lead as Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah broke through with pace, before the latter scored past Joe Hart. Three minutes later, the visitors doubled their lead as a helpless Hart saw Joel Matip tap the ball into his net.
The Hammers posed a defeated look for the remainder of the half, but approached the second period with renewed vigour, and pulled one back in the 56th minute when Manuel Lanzini flicked the ball past Mignolet.
Good work, boys! 🔴 pic.twitter.com/xjIjiyQE8S
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) November 4, 2017
But, that was as far as their comeback hopes went as the visitors re-established their two-goal lead as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored on his first start for the club. The result was then put to bed when Salah grabbed his second by drilling a low shot into the far corner.
The result put Liverpool level on points with Chelsea and Arsenal, and out of the Top 4 on just goal difference. With the Reds entering the latest international break on a positive note, The Hard Tackle runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Simon Mignolet: 6/10
Handed the captain’s armband in the absence of Jordan Henderson and James Milner, Mignolet started the game in nervy fashion as he was slow to react to Javier Hernandez’s deflected pass before the post saved him from Andre Ayew’s chipped shot.
The Belgian shot stopper then had an embarrassing moment in the dying moments of the first-half, as he tried to let the ball run out of play, but Ayew ended up claiming possession instead. However, he did well to claim a dangerous cross headed towards Andy Carroll, and was at no fault for West Ham’s goal in an otherwise quiet night.
Joe Gomez: 6/10
Handed his first international call-up this week, Gomez had some moments that were rather unbecoming of an England international. None more so though, when he was caught napping against Manuel Lanzini, who pounced just moments later to give his side a glimmer of hope.
That, though, was a rare momentary lapse in concentration after which the Englishman moved on quickly to end the game on a strong note.
Joel Matip: 6/10
— Liverpool FC Photos (@LFCSnapped) November 4, 2017
A first goal of the season notwithstanding, it was one of the better defensive performances by Matip, who has been a shaky customer at the back in the games gone by. While he did start the game slowly, looking a little hesitant off the ball, the goal did wonders for his confidence.
In particular, the Cameroonian dealt smartly with a barrage of crosses in the second half against the imposing figure of Andy Carroll. Such a performance would go a long way in a marathon of a campaign, as Jurgen Klopp looks to instill confidence in his men, and particularly a senior defender like Matip.
Ragnar Klavan: 6/10
A quiet night for the Estonian defender, who is another player who is growing in confidence at the right time. Although he was slow off the blocks, Klavan grew well into the game to hold fort alongside Matip, while his passing was smart and crisp.
Alberto Moreno: 7/10
One of the few Liverpool defenders who have been able to hold his own so far this season. Celebrating his first Spain call-up, Moreno produced another solid performance, dealing with most of the threats coming his way with ease. But, he would have liked to contribute more in the final third, where he wasn’t as involved as desired.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 7/10
Klopp on Gini replacing injured Henderson: “Wijnaldum came with us just so he could be close to the doctor. He had no boots with him!” pic.twitter.com/hpTT9mr713
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) November 4, 2017
A surprise starter after Jurgen Klopp claimed that he had bleak chances of starting. Having replaced Jordan Henderson in a late decision though, Wijnaldum produced a solid performance, keeping things tight in the middle, and stifling the West Ham charge as he visibly played through pain.
Emre Can: 7/10
Following up his stupendous performance against Maribor in the Champion League, Emre Can was lively once again. Starting in a deeper role once again, the German provided excellent cover to the back-line, while controlling the tempo of the game. Such outings would make Liverpool fans jittery as his future remains uncertain.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 7/10
Making his first Premier League start for Liverpool, Oxlade-Chamberlain was an anonymous figure for much of the first half, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane being the main troublemakers. Post the break though, the Englishman burst into life as he got more involved in attack.
His growing confidence was exhibited by the fact that he found the back of the net with scuffed shot to break his league duck for the Reds. A major confidence boosting performance though, for the former Arsenal man.
Mohamed Salah: 9/10
Mohamed Salah for @LFC:
🔴 Games: 16
⚽️ Goals: 12
🎯 Assists: 3
Signing of the season 😎🇪🇬🔥 pic.twitter.com/bLL42RCKOP
— SPORF (@Sporf) November 4, 2017
Composed, clinical, menacing. All these adjectives and more wouldn’t be enough to do justice to Salah’s performance on Saturday, with the Egyptian growing in stature with each passing game.
Deployed in a central role on the night, he showcased the threat that he possesses with great effect, grabbing a well deserved brace, while also combining brilliantly with Mane. What a signing he is turning out to be for Liverpool.
Roberto Firmino: 8/10
The Brazilian may not have a goal to show for his efforts on the night, but he was as dangerous as any of his partners up front. His movement was menacing for the West Ham defenders to deal with, as they did not have a clue to mark him, and it also helped create space for Salah and Mane to prosper.
Firmino also played a major role in Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goal, although he would have liked to cap off a strong performance with a goal.
Sadio Mane: 8/10
Another surprise starter on the night, Mane was a major influence in Liverpool’s commanding win. The Senegalese did look a bit off-pace, and understandably so, for much of the first half, but he showed just what the Reds had been missing for the last month or so in a steady performance.
Sadio Mane v West Ham
3 aerial duels
Wasn’t meant to be fit for another month! 😂 pic.twitter.com/2m2Ds4jt8m
— LFC Stats (@LFCData) November 4, 2017
A big threat throughout his stint on the pitch, he also had two assists to show for his efforts, and his return makes Liverpool a force to be reckoned with, with Philippe Coutinho set to return soon as well.
James Milner: 5/10
On for the last 15 minutes, Milner donned the captain’s armband towards the end of the game, adding an element of defensive solidity at the centre of the pitch.
Dominic Solanke: N/A
Salah came on late for Firmino and barely had time to make any sort of impact on the night.
Dejan Lovren: N/A
On for the last few minutes, Lovren help see the game out, and would have enjoyed a quiet cameo.