Egyptian international Mohamed Salah was at his clinical best as Liverpool thrashed West Ham United 3-1 at the London Stadium on Sunday.
In an affair where Liverpool needed to be decisive to spoil the party for West Ham United, Mohamed Salah’s influential skills in the second half helped the visitors to surpass David Moyes’ side.
The first half of the encounter started in a rustic manner, as Jurgen Klopp’s men were not able to penetrate the opponents’ defensive line, and their lack of intent in the final third was visible. The Irons’ showcased a sturdy performance at the back which allowed them to keep the champions at bay for the first forty-five minutes.
However, the clash completely drove to a different dimension after the break, as Salah broke the deadlock in the 57th minute, as his left-footed curler found the net after being se up by Curtis Jones, who came on as a substitute just a few seconds before the goal.
The big moment of the event came in the 68th minute of the clash, as a breathtaking counter-attack was exquisitely finished by Salah yet again, rattling the Hammers who were pushing for an equalizer. Georginio Wijnaldum put the game to bed in the 84th minute, finishing a chance that was crafted by Roberto Firmino.
West Ham centre-back Craig Dawson snatched a consolation goal for his side in the 87th minute. With this much-needed triumph over the Hammers, Liverpool now sit on the third spot of the Premier League table. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at how the Reds’ stars performed on the night.
Alisson Becker: 6/10
The Liverpool goalkeeper didn’t have to face many difficulties between the sticks. Looked convincing as ever in his position. However, he’ll be disappointed as he yet again conceded a goal in the dying minutes of the game which deprived him of a clean sheet.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 6.5/10
The young Englishman was not able to venture around the attacking half from the right flank freely, as he kept the defensive line intact in most parts of the first half. His long diagonal pass to Xherdan Shaqiri started off an outrageous counter-attack, leading to the Reds’ second goal. Trent completed 58 accurate passes out of 68, and with 10 recoveries he showcased his ability to cut off any threat from the opposition.
Nathaniel Phillips: 7/10
📊 | Nathaniel Phillips vs West Ham:
1 blocked shot
100% tackles won
100% dribble success
7 long balls
2/3 ground duels won
7 aerial duels
Another game, another solid performance. Becoming a norm for Phillips. pic.twitter.com/YDNYvIjUEb
— The Anfield Buzz (@TheAnfieldBuzz) January 31, 2021
Liverpool’s No. 47 had a point to prove to his manager, and with such a promising performance, the player could breathe a sigh of relief. Phillips was sensational throughout the full ninety minutes, and along with that, his ability to clear the aerial threats on crucial occasions played a crucial role for the Reds.
Jordan Henderson: 7/10
Another standout display of leadership from the back, as Jordan Henderson stabilized the defensive unit with his game-reading ability, while he pushed the midfield forward whenever it was required. The commander of Jurgen Klopp’s side had a passing success rate of 90 percent, and his natural instincts to adopt to any position came to the fore again.
Andrew Robertson: 6.5/10
The Scottish international guided his way through the left side, as he tried to influence the attack from his favoured region. The Liverpool No. 26 was accurate with his distribution and responsible in his defensive duties, without really hitting top gear on the night.
Thiago Alcantara: 7/10
Thiago Alcantara vs. West Ham
89% Pass accuracy (91/102)
4/7 Accurate long passes
2 Chances created
13/16 Duels won
Thiago has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water. A really really talented duck. A duck I could watch play for hours. Cheers, Bayern. pic.twitter.com/SE6f3vhwvd
— The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) January 31, 2021
The player to watch in our match preview, Thiago tried to pull the strings from the midfield region, as his visionary asset created uncomfortable moments for the Hammers. The Spaniard completed the most passes in this outing (93). His task was to dictate the flow of the game upfront, and with his creativity, he offered an extra edge to trouble the opposition backline.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 7.5/10
Regarded as the unsung hero for The Reds, the Dutch international roamed around the centre of the park with energy. Offered a sense of fluidity and showed his ability to rise up to the occasion in critical moments. His goal in the 84th minute killed the game off, as his brilliant link-up play with Firmino was visibly mouthwatering.
James Milner: 6/10
The ever so young Englishman’s professionalism flourished around the central areas, as he was maintaining the pressure upfront to find the opening. The midfielder completed 45 passes out of 54 before being replaced by Curtis Jones in the 57th minute.
Xherdan Shaqiri: 7.5/10
Xherdan Shaqiri created more chances (3) than any other player on the pitch during Liverpool's 3-1 win vs. West Ham.
Mohamed Salah loved the assist. 😍 pic.twitter.com/7p471jMOua
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 31, 2021
A stellar evening for the Swiss international, as he produced one of those lurid highlights of the clash. His ingenious pass leading to Salah’s second goal wreaked havoc in the opposition territory. Throughout his time on the pitch, Shaqiri was constantly looking for a moment to seize with his lively passes and created three chances. Was substituted in the 69th minute.
Mohamed Salah: 9/10
The Egyptian forward was the man of the hour, as his sublime finishing took the game away from the opposition. Continuously breathing down the opponent’s neck throughout the second half. And West Ham were eventually hammered by the Liverpool No. 11 on two occasions.
His first strike, a lovely curling effort, opened the scoring in the 57th minute and the second one put Liverpool in the driving seat, as the breathtaking counter-attack and Salah’s touch and finish that followed, took the limelight.
21 – Mo Salah is the first player to score 20+ goals in all competitions in four consecutive seasons for Liverpool since Ian Rush did so six times running from 1981-82 to 1986-87. King. pic.twitter.com/JfqMJSluVc
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 31, 2021
Divock Origi: 5/10
His decision-making ability to affect the game in the final third was questionable, as he seemed clueless in most of the first half. The player has been going through a rough patch for a long time, and it could have been the stage to regain his momentum. The Belgian international needed to be more conclusive upfront.
Curtis Jones: 7/10
The 20-year-old Englishman came on to replace Milner in the 57th minute and within few seconds after his arrival, his assist to Mohamed Salah changed the scenario for Liverpool. His direct approach to extend the attacking intent, along with that his reliable runs towards the opposition’s box displayed the player’s confidence.
Jurgen Klopp brings on Curtis Jones.
— 90min (@90min_Football) January 31, 2021
Roberto Firmino: 6.5/10
Replaced Xherdan Shaqiri in the 68th minute. The Brazilian international’s link-up play with Wijnaldum helped secure all three points.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: N/A
Replaced Divock Origi with a little over 10 minutes left. Played a part in the third goal.