Trent Alexander-Arnold was the clear standout, while Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane were on target as Liverpool beat West Ham United 3-2 on Monday.
Liverpool were hot off the gates as Georginio Wijnaldum put them in front, heading in from an inch perfect Trent Alexander-Arnold cross. However, against the run of play, West Ham United brought the game back on level terms, as Issa Diop nodded in the equaliser from Robert Snodgrass’s corner. West Ham then took a shock lead through Pablo Fornals early in the second half.
With half an hour left, it looked like Liverpool suffer their first Premier League defeat of the season. However, goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane completed the comeback, with full-back duo Andrew Robertson and Alexander-Arnold the assist providers. Liverpool are now just four wins away from winning the title and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Alisson Becker: 6/10
Alisson was not tested a great deal on the night, even though West Ham posed a great deal of threat over the course of the game. However, the Liverpool no. 1 should have done better when dealing with Issa Diop’s headed effort in the first half. The Brazilian, though, made amends with two saves later on, with the one from Jarrod Bowen’s shot being notable.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 9/10
Trent Alexander-Arnold has already equalled his assist record for last Premier League season… and it’s only February 😳 pic.twitter.com/cWRwIJs7s5
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 24, 2020
A clear choice for man of the match. Alexander-Arnold was a class apart from the get-go, showing incredible poise to deliver the precise cross for Georginio Wijnaldum to head in the opener. Over the course of the game, he would send in a further 18 crosses – truly a tremendous figure. Incredibly purposeful all throughout, the English international created a game-high 6 chances.
And, after providing the assist for Sadio Mane’s goal as well, Alexander-Arnold has now equalled his own record tally of assists provided in a single Premier League season by a defender (12). On another day, he could have even ended with a goal for himself and a hat-trick of assists. Simply phenomenal to say the least, Alexander-Arnold.
Joe Gomez: 5/10
This was a rare game in which Gomez was not quite impressive at the heart of the Liverpool defence. One of those culpable for letting Diop score West Ham’s first goal, Gomez failed to keep a track of the French defender. Gomez also needed to react better when Pablo Fornals put the visitors in front in the second half. A night to forget, but the Englishman should ideally address the issues.
Virgil van Dijk: 7/10
While his partner might have been a little lacklustre, van Dijk was in his elements for large parts of the game. The Dutchman could have perhaps, organised the backline better when Fornals netted his goal. Otherwise, van Dijk was top class, completing a game-high 88 passes, winning 7 aerial duels while making 8 recoveries. Solid.
Andrew Robertson: 7/10
A game of hits and misses for Robertson, who dealt well with the threat of Robert Snodgrass for the most part, but struggled when Jeremy Ngakia charged forward from his flank. Going forward, he was not as influential as Alexander-Arnold, but still created as many chances (6) while also providing the assist for Mohamed Salah’s goal.
Naby Keita: 5/10
Coming into the team in place of the injured Jordan Henderson, Keita had a chance to impress. However, this was a mixed bag of a performance, with the Guinean working hard off the ball, but being rather frustrating when moving Liverpool forward. While he made two key passes, he also lost the ball a few too many times. An opportunity missed.
A solid effort by Fabinho, although there still appear to be a few chinks in his armoury. The Brazilian created two chances on the night while making 11 recoveries and winning 8 duels. However, he struggled when he had to cover up for Keita’s mistakes, almost having too much to do at times. Still, he seems to be making good progress and is starting to look sharp.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 7/10
Wijnaldum made the perfect start to the game, nodding in from Alexander-Arnold’s cross to hand Liverpool the lead. Thereafter, he performed as he usually does. A bundle of energy, the Dutchman ran his socks off. However, like some of his other teammates, there were periods wherein he, too, looked sub-par with the ball at his feet. Nevertheless, Wijnaldum did his bit.
Mohamed Salah: 7/10
If there is one player who is symbolic of the rusty nature of Liverpool as a collective since returning from the winter break, it is Salah. For much of the game, Salah was a bit too predictable with his movements and was a little loose in possession.
However, he delivered when it mattered the most, scoring a close-range goal, although he also had Lukasz Fabianski to thank for his howler. Up to 15 Premier League goals for the season now, just two behind joint-leaders Jamie Vardy and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the Golden Boot race.
Roberto Firmino: 7/10
In typical fashion, Firmino dug in and worked his socks off to drag the opposition defenders out of line. However, the Brazilian’s finishing boots were seemingly missing on the night, scuffing his shots horribly. Even so, his work off the ball, helped Liverpool immensely.
Sadio Mane: 7/10
Another game, another important goal by Mane. Much of the game was a rather frustrating affair for the Senegalese, missing a number of chances. But, as was the case last weekend against Norwich City, Mane was in the right place at the right time to convert Alexander-Arnold’s cross for the win.
Soon after, he thought he had scored another, only to have the goal ruled out for offside. Still, this was yet another outing wherein Mane had won the game for Liverpool. Such a difference maker.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 7/10
On for Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain paved the way for Liverpool’s turnaround. While the English midfielder was not especially exceptional with the ball at his feet, his movement made a world of difference, enabling Salah and Mane to bomb inwards whilst providing Alexander-Arnold more time to send his deliveries in. Quite the game changer.
Joel Matip: N/A
A late introduction, Matip gave away a free-kick soon after coming on. Heart in mouth stuff, but no harm done in the end.