Jurgen Klopp‘s side did not have it all their own way against West Ham but a 1-0 scoreline proved enough and the media were immediately drawn to the title race.
Liverpool did not have it all their own way against the Hammers, needing to dig their heels in and absorb late pressure to preserve what would be the winner from Sadio Mane.
The victory, the Reds’ 12th in succession across all competitions, applies further pressure on Man City ahead of their derby on Sunday with the gap at the top against cut to just three.
Klopp’s men flexed a different kind of muscle against David Moyes’ side and it required the expert intervention of a handful of Reds to do just that.
With Liverpool’s juggernaut rolling on, here’s what the watching media had to say on the latest Reds victory.
There was a clear focus on the title race from reporters after the win…
The Guardian‘s Andy Hunter was one of many to acknowledge it “wasn’t pretty” from Liverpool but their job was done all the same:
It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t convincing and for Jürgen Klopp that really doesn’t matter. Liverpool made it 12 successive wins in all competitions with a slender victory over West Ham to keep the pressure firmly on Manchester City ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby.
Liverpool had their second half moments too with Díaz curling just wide but this was a day when they simply had to dig in and survive. Klopp’s team delivered.
For Melissa Reddy, writing for the Independent, it was a case of reflecting on what has transpired since that first league defeat of the season:
Since Liverpool’s 3-2 defeat at London Stadium in November, we have witnessed Kurt Zouma’s “catgate”, players past and present shamelessly flog Bored Ape NFTs, John Terry unfortunately join Twitter, former Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa be divorced from his bucket, Roman Abramovich forced to put Chelsea for sale with pressure rising on him following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine…
In that scarcely believable period, the Merseysiders have lost just once in all competitions, with 20 wins to make City seriously uncomfortable at the summit, the League Cup secured at Chelsea’s expense, while the European Cup and FA Cup remain in play.
Saturday’s taxing 1-0 triumph further turned the dial up on the title race ahead of the Manchester derby and solidified the internal idea that Liverpool will not be completing this campaign with just one piece of silverware.
For Paul Gorst, of the Liverpool Echo, it was Klopp’s reaction after the full-time whistle that spoke volumes of what remains at stake:
The shaking of Jurgen Klopp‘s fist said it all at full time. As did the reaction of the Kop.
This was a massive three Premier League points for Liverpool at Anfield.
Klopp knew it. The Kop knew it. And Manchester City, who entertain neighbours United on Sunday, will know it as well.
The Reds aren’t going away in this title race. Not just yet, anyway.
The Telegraph‘s Sam Wallace echoed the assessment of the Reds’ performance as the eye was also drawn down the M62:
It was not the smoothest win for Liverpool but it was enough to put some degree of pressure back on Manchester City.
And with less than 24 hours until a certain Manchester derby, there’s a certain favour that This Is Anfield, among others, are looking for:
In Premier League terms, the gap at the top is now down to just three little points, with the same games played for 24 hours at least.
Go on United, just for a change…do us a favour.
Luis Diaz attracted praise after another eye-catching display…
After proving quite the menace, Wallace placed the “evening’s outstanding player” on the winger after again dazzling the masses:
They had more chances to win the game and in their £37 million new signing Luis Diaz they had the evening’s outstanding player, although it should be said that West Ham had their moments too.
The Colombian is splendidly elusive on the ball, a difficult man to pinpoint with a tackle or a block especially once he has got at least one of his feet goal-side of an opponent.
Here at This Is Anfield, there is plenty of excitement to go around after seeing what Diaz injected into Liverpool’s game once more:
Luis Diaz hasn’t been here long, which naturally lends itself to being a bit of a flavour of the month, but he’s also quickly become a fan favourite because he’s, well, absolutely brilliant.
The Colombian was without doubt Liverpool’s most consistently dangerous and electric attacker during the game, missing a few efforts on goal but also creating more openings with his dribbling and pace.
Keep that going and a place can certainly be won in Klopp’s go-to XI, even after the full complement are back in action.
And for the BBC‘s Simon Stone, Diaz is a player that fits the Reds’ “template perfectly,” with his bag of tricks having quickly endeared him to all those who see him in action:
At times, Liverpool’s attack is so fast and fluid it is impossible for opposition defences to cope. And in Diaz, their £37.5m January arrival from Porto, they have a player that fits that template perfectly.
The Colombian produced a wonderous piece of skill to create an early chance for himself which he drove into Craig Dawson’s face.
Diaz then came close twice in the second half too, with the first of those particularly impressive in the way he manipulated Mane’s pass into a scoring chance that went narrowly wide. When he was replaced in the final minute of injury time, his standing ovation was fully deserved.
But reporters also handed out applause to others…
For the PA‘s Carl Markham, it was Trent Alexander-Arnold that caught the eye in both attacking and defensive transitions:
Sadio Mane scored the goal which saw Liverpool beat West Ham 1-0 but defender Trent Alexander-Arnold was the architect of a victory which reduced Manchester City’s gap at the top to three points.
The England right back was the visitors’ tormentor-in-chief as his varied passing range in the attacking third was coupled with a brilliant goal-line clearance to secure a ninth clean sheet in 13 appearances.
It meant West Ham’s former Everton boss David Moyes left Anfield without a win for the 18th time, a Premier League record for one manager at a single ground.
That was mainly down to the excellence of Alexander-Arnold, who with the pass for Mane’s 27th-minute goal equalled Steven Gerrard’s record of 16 assists in a single season and beat his own previous best from 2018-19 and 2019-20.
And over at This Is Anfield, the overall physicality from the side was a particular highlight after the events of the reverse fixture:
Remember earlier in the season when West Ham went uber-physical on the Reds, bashing us on set-plays and fouling everywhere to disrupt play?
Opposite way around this time. The defence set the tempo and the expectation, clattering into aerial duels and using every ounce of physicality to keep the Hammers at bay.
Konate showed his speed and the fact it’s a 12km trek around him if you want to run on the outside, just to beat Michail Antonio in a couple of one-on-ones.