A dismal start turned into the worst day of the season so far as Liverpool lost their unbeaten run and dropped below West Ham in the table with a 3-2 defeat.
West Ham 3-2 Liverpool
Premier League (11), London Stadium
November 7, 2021
Goals: Alisson OG 4′, Fornals 67′, Zouma 74′; Alexander-Arnold 41′, Origi 82′
Alisson – 4 (out of 10)
Not an ideal start as he punched a corner into his own net. Not strong or sure enough on that occasion.
Sadly it didn’t get much better: he should have got more on Fornals’ finish for the second and might also have been better-set for the third, off another corner.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6
Absolute beauty of a free-kick to level up the scores, his first goal of the campaign.
A couple of dodgy defensive moments too, not clearing for the cut-back near the end of the half and heading straight to Antonio after the restart, but also deserves praise for sprinting back to cut out counters on more than one occasion.
Sleeping for the third goal when Zouma ran in front of him.
Joel Matip – 5
A decent hour or so for Matip, who was quick to cover spaces and stepped into midfield well at times, but our centre-backs were the absolute opposite of dominant when it came to tracking the runs on counter-attacks…or defending corners.
It’s not on Matip alone to stop those of course, but we need to mention it and among the centre-backs is the most pertinent area for that particular piece of defensive work.
Virgil van Dijk – 5
A strange moment in the first half saw Big Virg stroll back while we were outnumbered in defence against a counter, yet a few moments later he produced a huge block on the stroke of half-time.
Defended well one-vs-one and on aerials, but not so much against the counter-attack – save for the one he got back to deny Antonio.
Andy Robertson – 5
Had a very involved start when he ran down the wing several times and looked to get a few early crosses in, most of which were – sensibly – low along the ground, trying to get behind the defensive line.
However, his route to the final third dried up and his actual productivity was basically non-existent throughout.
Fabinho – 6
For much of the game he was actually decent, with Fabinho circulating the ball well in the first half, winning it back with regularity and covering the counters quickly.
But he was also responsible for losing possession too many times to allow those dangerous breaks from midfield, with nobody behind him – including for that Fornals goal.
Jordan Henderson – 5
Another who looked very comfortable in the first half when the Reds had all the ball and none of the defending to do, having already fallen behind.
Hendo took a bad tackle early on and thankfully escaped any damage, but his passing wasn’t overly inventive, he didn’t make any aggressive runs into the box in the second half and he was utterly missing in that No. 8 space ahead of the defence for the second goal too.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6
Left the pitch just after the second goal and had mostly been decent, tidy, effective – if nothing like a line-breaking dynamo as he was against Atletico.
Did some decent work breaking up play at times, but couldn’t do the same for West Ham‘s second.
Mohamed Salah – 6
Not Mo’s day. After his great scoring run recently, it’s three without a goal for him now.
That said, he won the free-kick for the first-half equaliser and certainly kept trying, running into the box whenever possible. Effort, but no end product.
Diogo Jota – 5
Barely had a sight of goal after a header which flew over. Not really involved in the buildup play and subbed for Origi in the second half.
Sadio Mane – 5
Like Salah, had plenty of effort and attempts to break the West Ham back line, but not enough moments of space or time to really make it count.
A few frustrating first-half shots blocked, and a shot fired straight at Fabianski after the restart.
His big miss was in stoppage time, heading wide off a free-kick.
Thiago (on for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 68′) – 5 – On after the home side retook the lead. Didn’t do a whole lot.
Divock Origi (on for Jota, 75′) – 6 – Great finish on the turn. A long overdue league goal.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Konate, Phillips, Tsimikas, Williams, Morton
Jurgen Klopp – 5
The boss’ big call was to start Ox in the middle again, but that choice had no bearing on the opening goal of the game and the pattern of the match it resulted in for the first half.
However, it was notable that after 1-1, the Reds didn’t have much control over the flow of the match; it was equal possession and spells of attacking intent, more power for the home team and a little scrappy from the away side.
From set-pieces, something we surely knew all about ahead of the game and for most of the last two seasons, Liverpool were second best all day long.
The changes were predictable but changed little and it felt as though Liverpool were second-best for far too much of this game – the first-half possession was allowed by the home side because they were already ahead.