It was a result to savour for Liverpool in their 2-1 win against West Ham, one which saw Digo Jota continue his fine form at a ground which has not seen a league defeat in over three years.
It was by no means a vintage performance from the champions but amid a growing injury list and a congested schedule, it only needed to be a case of job done.
And by securing all three points against West Ham the Reds returned to the top of the table and made it four wins on the bounce across all competitions.
It was a special evening for Nat Phillips and a record-equalling one for Klopp’s side at Anfield, and here are five key statistics to emerge from Liverpool’s latest league win.
Jota Follows Garcia
The 23-year-old has seamlessly settled into life at Anfield, so much so that he has now found the net in all three of his home league appearances.
Jota was a second-half substitute on Saturday evening and within just eight minutes had made his presence known, only for a VAR review to deny his close-range strike.
Not to be denied, however, he would continue to find himself in all the right places and a sublime defence-splitting ball from fellow super-sub Xherdan Shaqiri would be duly converted to seal the win for the Reds.
It was his second successive match-winning goal in the league, following on from his header against Sheffield United to take his Anfield tally to three.
A return which made him only the second Liverpool player to score in his first three home Premier League appearances after Luis Garcia completed the same feat in 2004:
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 31, 2020
Garcia’s run ended after three and so a new record is on the line for Jota, one he could make his own with four from four against Leicester following the international break.
But talk about starting as you mean to go on!
Day to Remember for the Debutant
From nearly making the move to a college in the United States, to signing for Liverpool in 2016 before looking destined to leave in the summer only to make his Premier League debut for the Reds – it has been some ride for Phillips.
With injuries to key players at the back, an opportunity even he could not have expected at the start of the season came his way, and he took it with both hands.
He did the simple things well and allowed his aerial ability to rise to the fore – including a crucial stoppage-time header – in an assured outing which saw Jamie Carragher rightly name him Man of the Match.
In what was his second Liverpool appearance, Phillips ended the game with the most clearances, six of which were headed, and his 96 touches returned a passing success rate of 81.5 percent – traits which are key for the Reds’ centre-backs:
? Man of the Match, Nat Phillips
PL debut & second senior app for @LFC
9 clearances (6 headed), most in match
6 times possession gained
1 chance created
96 touches pic.twitter.com/g9NnH2GpcO
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) October 31, 2020
In a season where more games are set to come his way, it was a confident and assured start and one which provides the ideal foundations for the weeks and months ahead.
-1 Handicap? No Problems Here
It isn’t what Klopp or fans would prefer as you could do without the heart palpitations, but Liverpool are getting into the habit of giving the visiting side an early advantage only to cancel it out and emerge victorious anyway.
With Arsenal, Sheffield United and West Ham all capitalising on early errors at the back only to end the 90 minutes on the losing side, Liverpool became only the second team in Premier League history to concede the first goal in three consecutive home matches but to still win the game.
The first to do so was Blackburn Rovers in November 2009.
While it has worked out well in the end so far, it isn’t a record Liverpool should be eager to make four when the Foxes arrive in town.
There are, of course, mitigating factors at the back amid a series of injuries but they need to rediscover their defensive steeliness which saw them concede just 16 at Anfield across the entirety of the 2019/20 season.
A campaign which saw them concede the first goal just three times across all 19 league matches at home.
Top 100 for Trent
At just 22, Trent Alexander-Arnold has crammed a lot into his fledgling career having cemented himself as a key pillar of Klopp’s side.
His durability and creative ingenuity at right-back has seen him not only help guide the Reds to a Champions League and Premier League title, but establish himself in the top echelon of players in his position.
The 99 games which followed are ones where he has scarcely tasted defeat and, in fact, he is second behind only Man City‘s Ederson in winning more games in his first 100 in the competition having been on the winning side 77 times out of 100:
77 – In his 100th @premierleague game today, Trent Alexander-Arnold earned his 77th win; only Ederson (79) won more of his first 100 appearances of any player in the competition’s history. Winner. #LIVWHU pic.twitter.com/FFhvzOGKl9
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 31, 2020
It’s an incredible record and one he himself has proved instrumental in having scored six goals and set up an astonishing 28 from the right-back position.
Here’s to 100 and more league outings, Trent!
Klopp’s Men Stand Alongside Paisley’s
By avoiding defeat against the Hammers, Klopp’s side wrote their names in the club’s record books alongside Bob Paisley’s team from 1978-1981 having now gone 63 games unbeaten in the league at Anfield.
The Reds’ current run has seen them win 52 and draw 11, with 166 goals to their name and just 42 coming the way of the opposition.
The run started after the defeat to Crystal Palace in April 2017 and 27 different clubs have looked to plot Liverpool’s downfall, only to fall short.
And now the chance for Klopp’s side to make the record their own with 64 games awaits against Leicester and beyond that Chelsea‘s run of 86 games, the longest in English top-flight history, is the only one left to chase down.
This team truly is something else.