To say it’s been a topsy-turvy season is an understatement but for the second game running and for the first time since December 2018, consecutive 1-0 wins were recorded.
A clean sheet and three points, we can’t be too unhappy with that!
And on Wednesday night there were two particular standouts that are worthy of some more attention.
Nunez is just a brilliant ball of chaos, isn’t he?
SAM: There is something about those Uruguayan strikers… we might have another one on our hands.
I think getting a red card very early in the season combined with the superhuman performances of Erling Haaland and our own poor form have cast Nunez in the shade somewhat.
The good news is I think we can all see he is going to be a fantastic player for Liverpool for a long time. Even in his first few appearances, he was getting plenty of chances and now you can see he is beginning to gel with the other attackers as well.
He still has plenty of growth, both as part of the team and as an individual player, which is exciting, but you don’t want to lose the chaos entirely!
BEN: I totally agree, Sam. I thought he was brilliant and starting to show signs that he’s adapting to our style of play.
His performance reminded me of when we played Benfica in the Champions League and he gave our defence all kinds of nightmares.
Mad volleyed attempts, pressuring their defence into mistakes, seriously quick and, of course, that clever-headed finish. He was simply electric.
When it clicks, when it properly clicks for Darwin Nunez, he’s going to be unstoppable. He’s already doing everything you’d want from a frontman, he just needs to become more clinical.
JOANNA: Chaos is just the word for Nunez but in all the best ways.
You feel at times even he doesn’t know quite what is going to come next when he’s on the ball and as you said Sam, you don’t want him to lose that but he’s certainly capable of controlled chaos.
He has an energy about him that strikes a chord with the supporters and as a confidence player, he will only feed off it and put it back into his game.
A bit of an enigma right now, much like his No. 27 predecessor, but Nunez’s underlying stats and performance hold plenty of promise and it’s about giving him the time and opportunities to take his rawness and carve him into a gem.
It’s going to be some ride irrespective of the direction he’s headed!
Tricky in places but we can’t complain about consecutive 1-0 wins, can we?
SAM: I think we should have scored another goal before halftime given our chances and that would have made it less tricky, but no, we can’t complain!
These are the kinds of wins we picked up consistently last year. Mid-week games are tricky and a bit disjointed sometimes, as evidenced by the low amount of goals in other fixtures.
Take the win and run with it I say.
BEN: It really did get a little nervy. I was watching through my fingers at times!
I’m sure Sam agrees from what he’s just said, but I’d happily take another 28 nervy 1-0 wins.
I’m over the moon we’ve stopped conceding sloppy goals, to be honest, and we’re now gaining confidence and momentum game by game. We won the Premier League with lots of close victories, so keep them coming!
Victories like that are huge for confidence and momentum, we were class in the first half and sloppy in the second but seeing the game out is all that matters.
Points on the board first and foremost and the performances will come, we’re getting both now and long may that continue!
BEN: On the performance itself, I think Thiago was sublime and orchestrated the midfield perfectly, with Nunez constantly occupying the heart of their defence.
Once they were substituted, the gaps slowly appeared and the game was difficult to control, although I understand the need to manage workloads with such a hectic schedule.
JOANNA: I was definitely surprised by Klopp’s substitutions but as you say Ben, completely understandable considering the need to ensure Nunez and Thiago avoid injury.
It unsettled the team, though, we went from completely controlling the game in midfield to giving West Ham the impetus to attack, and, thankfully, avoided being punished for doing so.
We’re going to see more of these substitutions before the World Cup, though, just need them to be well-timed and well-executed.
And a word on Alisson…
SAM: Amazing performance again by Alisson. He is a special player and such an important part of when we play well.
I just can’t think of another Liverpool goalkeeper in my time who has had so many iconic moments.
However, when we aren’t in the game or playing poorly it is hard for a goalkeeper to shine, so I would link his form to the overall team performances over the last two games. More of the same Ali!
JOANNA: Cool, calm, collected – what a goalkeeper.
You dread to think where Liverpool would be without him but, thankfully, it’s not a reality we have to live and instead we get to see him lashing assists to Mo and saving penalties.
His wastefulness in possession early doors was just to lure West Ham and Bowen into a false sense of security, wasn’t it?
Like you say Sam, struggle to think of another ‘keeper that I’ve seen who so readily rises to the fore at the exact moments you need him to – he’ll easily go down as one of the best, if not the best, goalkeeper at Liverpool and surely across Europe too.
That fact he makes his work look so effortless speaks volumes.
BEN: Ooohhh Alisson Becker. What a fella.
An assist one game then saves a penalty the next! What more could you want?
As you say Joanna, how many times has he single-handedly saved us from conceding; he’s just there when we need him, he’s always there.
Genuinely starting to think he might be one of, if not the best Liverpool keeper, ever. It’s games like these that you end up drawing or losing with an Alisson Becker. He’s absolutely pivotal to our success this season.