Not the most convincing of scorelines, but some good performances nevertheless to keep in the hunt at the top of the table as Liverpool edged past West Ham 1-0.
Liverpool 1-0 West Ham
Premier League (27), Anfield
March 5, 2022
Goals: Mane 27′
Alisson – 7 (out of 10)
Very comfortable on the ball and helped Konate out on a couple of occasions.
Made a good save from Pablo Fornals’ second attempt after Trent had cleared the first one off the line.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8 – Man of the Match
Showcased some great delivery once again, not least the cross for the goal for Mane.
Sent a free-kick just wide in the first half and also made a key clearance off the line.
Set up Diaz for a good chance but Lukasz Fabianski just got enough on the shot, denying the right-back a second assist.
Ibrahima Konate – 8
He had a lot to do up against Michail Antonio, and though the Jamaican striker got the better of the battle on a few occasions early on, Konate eventually took control in the contest.
Antonio challenged him to a footrace on one occasion, and he more than held his own, getting to the ball first and dealing with the situation.
Played some really nice passes forward, too, and made some more general defensive contributions later on aside from his battle with Antonio.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
Didn’t appear to do much defending but was somehow still in with a shout of being the best defender on the pitch.
One stray header nearly let Jarrod Bowen in, but was faultless other than that.
Won six aerial duels and completed six of eight attempted long passes.
Andy Robertson – 7
Caused problems down the left even against a quick winger such as Bowen who is good at tracking back.
Made an important last-ditch tackle to stop Bowen at the start of the second half when the West Ham man was through on goal.
Fabinho – 6
Unspectacular but very useful. An insurance policy as the full-backs bombed forward.
Jordan Henderson – 7
Played some neat passes in the first half to keep moves going, quickly and accurately. Was less effective in the second but it was a tidy performance from the captain.
Naby Keita – 7
Struggled early on but grew into the game and was important to Liverpool’s control of the game as they hung on for the win.
Losing the ball on one occasion led to a chance for Antonio, but as Henderson’s influence waned Keita came into the game more with some neat touches in tight areas.
Brilliant tracking back, similar to Robertson earlier, to stop Antonio when the striker was through on goal.
Mohamed Salah – 6
Had one of the best chances of the game early on when put through one-on-one with Fabianski. He gave the West Ham ‘keeper a chance to make the save, which he did.
Looked desperate for a goal but Liverpool were generally unable to work it into areas for clear chances, and many of the efforts were from distance and/or blocked.
Looked to tire as the second half wore on and was replaced by Jota with 10 minutes to go.
Sadio Mane – 7
Another outing for the Senegalese up front as he settles into this role in Firmino’s absence.
Moved in the box like a true striker to get on the end of Trent’s ball in to open the scoring.
His hold-up play was decent and was a constant threat if not always an effective one.
Ultimately, it was his movement and goalscoring instinct that secured a very important three points.
Luis Diaz – 8
Ran half the length of the pitch before winning a free-kick – he’ll score one of these one day, and it’ll be the goal of the season.
World-class touch and ball-carrying, but also does the simple stuff well. There are also signs of a good partnership developing with Salah.
Diogo Jota (on for Salah, 79′) – 6
Had a chance to do something on the break late on but skied his shot.
James Milner (on for Keita, 90′) – N/A
Subs not used: Kelleher, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Elliott, Minamino, Origi
Jurgen Klopp – 7
Once Klopp decided to go with a strong lineup for this game after rotation in midweek against Norwich, the team pretty much picked itself.
He left it late to make substitutions, and though it might have been a surprise to many to see Salah taken off, it was probably the right call.
If anything, the subs could have been made earlier, but leaving them late meant they served a second purpose of wasting some time and to see out the win.