Kurt Zouma, Declan Rice and Pablo Fornals stood out as West Ham United eked out a 3-2 win over Liverpool at the London Stadium on Sunday.
The game began on the worst possible note for Liverpool, as West Ham United grabbed the lead just four minutes in, as Alisson Becker deflected the ball into his own net from an incoming corner by Pablo Fornals. After that, it was all Liverpool for the remainder of the first half, but they could not threaten Lukasz Fabianski from open play.
However, the Reds did get back on level terms four minutes ahead of half-time, thanks to a brilliant free-kick by Trent Alexander-Arnold. Liverpool were unable to hit the ground running post the interval, though, and West Ham duly pounced by growing into the game before scoring two goals in the space of seven minutes through Fornals and Kurt Zouma.
Late in the game, Liverpool pulled a goal back through Divock Origi, who was brilliant with his first touch from a looped pass by Alexander-Arnold before unleashing a snapshot into the bottom right corner. However, they could not rescue a point from the game, as West Ham held on to grab all three points and leapfrog them in the standings. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both sets of players.
Lukasz Fabianski: 6/10
Fabianski was unfortunate to concede the two goals, but he stood no chance at stopping either Trent Alexander-Arnold or Divock Origi. The Pole made three smart stops to keep his team on top.
Ben Johnson: 8/10
Johnson might be inexperienced, but he showed that he has a stable head on his shoulders on Sunday. With help from Tomas Soucek, he shut off Sadio Mane brilliantly and never looked overwhelmed by the enormity of the task at hand.
Kurt Zouma: 9/10
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 7, 2021
Zouma continues to go from strength to strength at West Ham, and on Sunday, he was instrumental in shutting off the threat of Diogo Jota, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. He also popped up at the end of a ghosting run to score what would be the match-winner. What an asset for David Moyes!
Angelo Ogbonna: N/A
Ogbonna, along with Michail Antonio, harried Alisson Becker in the build-up to the opener. However, his evening ended early as a couple of blows forced him off the pitch.
Aaron Cresswell: 8/10
A top-class performance by Cresswell, who played a key role in neutralising the immense threat of Mohamed Salah. The Englishman was not a major threat in the final third, but a colossal defensive showing helped West Ham to the win.
Tomas Soucek: 8/10
This was a game in which Soucek was not as involved in the final third as he usually is, but he still played a key role in cutting out the threat from the wide attacking options that Liverpool had, helping out Johnson ably.
Declan Rice: 9/10
Declan Rice’s game by numbers vs. Liverpool:
91% pass accuracy
75% total duels won
21 attempted forward passes
18 successful forward passes
10 ball recoveries
6 attempted tackles
5 successful tackles
Believe the hype. ⚒ pic.twitter.com/Rk2MKJg3U1
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) November 7, 2021
Rice has come into his own this season, and on Sunday, he played a key role in ensuring West Ham were rarely ever troubled by Liverpool. The West Ham skipper conceded the free-kick that converted Alexander-Arnold converted, but that was about the only thing he did wrong in the game.
Jarrod Bowen: 8/10
Bowen has been in fine touch of late, and he continued his good form on Sunday. The Englishman constantly had Andrew Robertson on the ropes, and he released Pablo Fornals smartly for the second West Ham goal.
Pablo Fornals: 9/10
Fornals played the game of his life as he was constantly on Fabinho’s toes and ran off him smartly. The Spaniard saw his corner going into the net via Alisson early in the game and produced a composed finish for his goal. Job well done.
Pablo Fornals loves playing Liverpool
3️⃣ Goals pic.twitter.com/2udvby4dmb
— Goal (@goal) November 7, 2021
Said Benrahma: 6/10
Benrahma was in fine form last Thursday, but he could not influence the game as much on Sunday. The Algerian gave the ball away too easily at times and never really came into a position to score. There will be better days.
Michail Antonio: 7/10
He might not have scored, but Antonio played a major role in West Ham’s win. The veteran forward used his experience well to rattle Alisson in the two set-pieces that resulted in goals. He bullied the Liverpool defenders smartly, bringing Bowen and Fornals into the game.
Craig Dawson: 7/10
Sent on early due to Ogbonna’s issue, Dawson was diligent in his duties and kept a check on Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah ably.
Vladimir Coufal: N/A
Sent late in place of Bowen, Coufal helped see the game out.
Arthur Masuaku: N/A
A late introduction, Masuaku helped see the game out without much of a fuss.
Alisson Becker: 4/10
Michail Antonio did harry him a lot in set-pieces, but that still does not excuse him for making feeble attempts to stop the ball. The Liverpool no. 1 also could have done better to deny Fornals his goal.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 6/10
Trent Alexander-Arnold has scored one goal and provided six assists this season.
Unreal from the right back ✨ pic.twitter.com/BY7Q2nWVLk
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 7, 2021
Sunday’s performance was a mix of the good and the bad from Alexander-Arnold. While he was top-notch on the ball and scored a superb free-kick, the Englishman’s defensive frailties were exposed, and he could not react when Zouma got acres of space for his headed finish in the third West Ham goal.
Joel Matip: 4/10
Matip has blown hot and cold at an alarming rate this season, and on Sunday, he was poor. Another Liverpool defender who was at fault for the second West Ham goal, the Cameroonian, was inexplicably sucked out of position by Bowen, enabling Fornals to run clean through towards Alisson.
Virgil van Dijk: 4/10
Yet another game that showed that van Dijk has some way to go before he is back to his best. The Dutchman struggled to organise the Liverpool backline, and Fornals outran him in the build-up to the second West Ham goal.
Andrew Robertson: 5/10
Robertson is just not managing to hit his stride this season for some reason. Sunday’s game was yet another instance when he was found wanting on both ends of the pitch. The Scot has to do better with Kostas Tsimikas waiting in the wings.
Jordan Henderson: 6/10
Henderson was not poor by any means, but he could not manage to influence the game positively. The Liverpool captain completed most of his passes and even played three key passes, but there was so much more that he could have done.
The injury still seems to be affecting Fabinho, as he could not provide the protection he so often does to the backline. For the second West Ham goal, Jarrod Bowen overran him with ease before releasing Fornals. Not what one expects from Fabinho.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 5/10
A bright spark for Liverpool, Oxlade-Chamberlain tried to make things happen and carried the ball confidently. However, his end product was severely lacking on the day, and he was rightly taken off for Thiago Alcantara.
Mohamed Salah: 5/10
Salah did get an assist out of the game, but that goal was all Alexander-Arnold. As for the rest of his outing, this was a rare occasion when he did not pose a great deal of threat, and he could not even muster a shot on target — an occasional blip for the Egyptian.
Diogo Jota: 5/10
Jota had the chance to impress in the absence of Roberto Firmino, but he could not get going here. With Kurt Zouma and Craig Dawson in top form, the Portuguese was kept quiet for much of the evening and has to do better in the next few games.
Sadio Mane: 4/10
A game to forget for Mane, who had two clear-cut chances to score but could not find the back of the net. With the first, he shot straight at Fabianski, while with the second, he inexplicably chose to head a low ball before heading it wide. The Senegalese forward could manage to get on top of Ben Johnson.
Thiago Alcantara: 5/10
On for Oxlade-Chamberlain, Thiago continued from where the incumbent had left off and struggled to make an impact. The Spanish international hardly ever lost the ball but did not utilise it smartly.
Divock Origi: N/A
9 – Only Daniel Sturridge (10) has scored more Premier League goals as a substitute for Liverpool than Divock Origi (nine), with today his first Premier League goal since July 2020 against Newcastle, 469 days ago. Lifeline? #WHULIV pic.twitter.com/b1dFKfnJT1
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 7, 2021
While Origi does not get a rating because he did not play enough, it must be noted that his effort, right from the first touch to the final shot, was simply top class and gave Liverpool late hope to salvage a point. Alas, they went home without anything in their kitty.
Takumi Minamino: N/A
On for Fabinho, Minamino could not do much late in the game to pull Liverpool back on level terms.