UP TO 40% OFF

LFC END OF SEASON SALE

Top 4, Gakpo’s “spark” and the Thiago ‘handball’ – Last word on West Ham 1-2 Liverpool

Liverpool’s 2-1 win at West Ham was enough to get supporters enthused about what is to come for the rest of this season and next.

It hasn’t been often this year that the Reds have given us positive points to talk about – with notable exceptions, of course.

However, a third consecutive win has left Liverpool fans upbeat and debating what the short-term future could hold for Jurgen Klopp‘s side.

Here, Sam Millne (@sam_millne), Patrick Allen (@P_Allen21) and Tom Eves (@TomEvesJourno) discuss Cody Gakpo‘s development and more talking points from Liverpool’s win at West Ham.

 

After 3 wins in a row, is top 4 possible?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 26, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp reacts during the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sam: Unfortunately, this run has come too late.

Even if Liverpool were to win all their matches, the games in hand that Man United and Newcastle hold could put them considerably out of reach.

Tom: Top four is definitely still possible.

It will still be hard no doubt, given Newcastle and Man United still have games in hand on us, but we have three straight home fixtures now so hopefully we can keep racking up the wins and finish strong.

Patrick: I wouldn’t go as far as to say top four is possible.

We still need a lot of other results to go our way while winning our remaining games, so I think it’s still unlikely.

However, finally finding consistency and stringing a few wins together will do us no harm. I just think we’ve left it too late.

 

Were you happy with the performance?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 26, 2023: Liverpool's Cody Gakpo (2nf from L) celebrates after scoring the his side's first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sam: I would say I was happy because we won.

If Joel Matip hadn’t powered home his header, we would have been talking about a Liverpool team incapable of creating clear-cut chances in the final third.

However, when we won the league the Reds weren’t fantastic every week. And if we win every game 2-1, that’s fine by me!

Patrick: West Ham have had a little upturn in form of late and, after losing there last season, I think we played relatively well bar the first 15 minutes of the second half.

It was a little too open, reminiscent of Klopp’s early days, but after Diaz and Thiago came on we really exerted control.

Tom: I was pleased with the performance.

Obviously, we could have been a lot better, but a win is a win and that’s all that matters, especially at a time like this when we cannot afford to drop any points.

The London Stadium is also sometimes not the easiest ground to play at, so I have no complaints.

 

What aspect of Cody Gakpo’s game has pleased you most?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 26, 2023: Liverpool's Cody Gakpo during the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Patrick: The thing about Cody that’s surprised me is just how strong and powerful he is.

You can already see he’s being moulded into a Roberto Firmino-like player, but Bobby never had that explosiveness about him.

Cody does and has shut a lot of critics up in recent weeks.

Sam: Considering he has only been at the club since January, I’m also very pleased with how Gakpo is playing.

It is clear that he is Klopp’s preferred choice in Firmino’s old position, and he is improving within the role every week.

If he can bring the end product to match his tireless work rate, we could have a real player on our hands.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 26, 2023: Liverpool's Cody Gakpo celebrates his side's 2-1 victory after the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Tom: I love how he has been playing the Firmino role, especially against West Ham.

He was playing deeper in the middle and spearheading the attack, winning the ball back loads and creating an abundance of chances.

He was the spark for us in this game and was the standout performer of the front three.

 

Was David Moyes right to be frustrated with the handball decision?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 26, 2023: West Ham United's manager David Moyes reacts during the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Patrick: I think he’s more right to be fuming about the inconsistency of referees in this country.

The penalty given against Antonio at Forest a few weeks ago was never handball so, going off that decision alone, we got away with one.

But neither were handball in my opinion.

Sam: I agree with Paddy. Neither should be handball but, to use a common phrase, we have certainly seen them given.

Tom: I can definitely understand the frustration and why he’d want his side to be given a penalty, but I’m not sure it was one.

Thiago‘s going in for the tackle and his arm is in a natural position; no penalty for me.

 

Would you keep the same team against Tottenham?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 26, 2023: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson walks out through a shower of bubbles before the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Patrick: I don’t see any reason why not. The only thing Klopp will have to think about is the Ibrahima Konate/Joel Matip situation.

In fairness, there’s no point risking the former if he’s not fully fit, especially at this stage of the season and because Matip did so well.

Tom: I think the only changes I’d possibly make would be Luis Diaz starting on the left for Diogo Jota and maybe bringing Ibou back in for Joel.

But after Joel’s performance against West Ham, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing him starting against Tottenham either.