Liverpool came from behind to beat West Ham 2-1 on Wednesday night, with Trent Alexander-Arnold again impressive in his new role.
West Ham 1-2 Liverpool
Premier League (32), London Stadium
April 26, 2023
Goals: Paqueta 12′; Gakpo 18′, Matip 67′
Alisson (out of 10) – 7
Alisson continued what has been a strong personal season for him, producing a typically reliable performance between the sticks.
He could do little about Lucas Paqueta’s shot that took a nick off Virgil van Dijk, and was otherwise strong in his handling and decision-making.
Made one key interception out of his goal after the break.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8 (Man of the Match)
Once again used in his new inverted-midfield role, Alexander-Arnold really enjoyed himself, showcasing his quality on the ball and eye for a pass.
He hardly lost possession and played a big part in Liverpool dictating proceedings, and he also did well in a defensive sense.
The best player on the pitch. His fifth assist in the last four games. Someone’s enjoying themselves again.
“The stuff Trent played, ooof, wow, it was absolutely insane,” praised Klopp post-match, which sums it up.
Joel Matip – 8
Matip was restored to the starting lineup for the first time since early April and it proved to be a very positive night for him.
He was solid overall, despite being fortunate not to receive a yellow card early on, and he powered home a header to earn Liverpool all three points.
There were concerns he wouldn’t be able to cope in the ‘Konate role’ in the new system pre-match, but he survived the test.
Virgil van Dijk – 6
Van Dijk hasn’t been himself at all this season, and while his form has improved of late, Matip was comfortably better than him against the Hammers.
A sloppy early mistake wasn’t punished, summing up his lackadaisical nature this season, and he also allowed Jarrod Bowen to score too easily before it was disallowed.
Somehow did enough to prevent Michail Antonio from scoring at 1-1, though, so not all bad.
Andy Robertson – 7
Robertson has to play a more disciplined role at left-back now that Trent’s job has been tweaked, and he was a reliable performer here.
It wasn’t a display that will necessarily live long in the memory in an attacking sense, but he did his job well and was rarely tested.
He still registered an assist for Joel Matip‘s goal, going past Eric Cantona’s Premier League tally in the process.
Fabinho – 7
Fabinho‘s form has been promising in recent weeks – benefiting from having Trent more central alongside him – with signs that he is over his major slump, and he helped Liverpool boss the midfield battle against West Ham.
One daft shot after a brilliant passage of possession was a frustrating moment, but he kept the ball ticking over and was good defensively.
Not great for Paqueta’s goal, though, allowing the Brazilian a little too much space.
Avoided a yellow and therefore a two-match ban.
Jordan Henderson – 6
Henderson continues to be a problematic presence in Liverpool’s midfield, not providing intensity off the ball or any product on it.
Playing fairly right-sided in order to make up for Trent’s roaming role, he worked hard and made some overlaps, but you were left wanting more.
Didn’t do nearly enough for Paqueta’s opener, arguably proving to be most at fault.
Curtis Jones – 7
Jones started a fifth match in a row, and while more was arguably required in possession, he was a composed figure who fitted in nicely.
There are times when he could have got rid of the ball quicker, but he was press-resistant in general and can feel content with his efforts.
Mohamed Salah – 6
Salah was yet again Liverpool’s match-winner at the weekend but this was a quieter showing from him and quite anonymous.
That’s not to say that his pace and movement weren’t a threat, as he got into numerous positions, but the customary goal evaded him for once.
Lost the ball cheaply at times.
Diogo Jota – 5
Jota has been on fire after a much-publicised goal drought, but he left his shooting boots back in Liverpool on Wednesday.
There was plenty of endeavour from the Portuguese, but he missed two wonderful chances, firing over and heading wide from inches out.
Substituted on the hour mark. Perhaps a game too many after playing so often after long injury.
Cody Gakpo – 7
After a tough start to life in a Liverpool shirt, Gakpo is now starting to look like an excellent signing.
He glided across the pitch at times, showing off underrated pace and power, and he fired home from distance to equalise for the Reds.
Looks like the first choice in the central forward role now.
Thiago (on for Henderson, 59′) – 7
Brought more quality to the midfield than Henderson.
Luis Diaz (on for Jota, 59′) – 7
Looked lively and lashed an effort wide.
Darwin Nunez (on for Gakpo, 77′) – n/a
Didn’t make too much of an impact.
James Milner (on for Jones, 83′) – n/a
No time to do much.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Gomez, Tsimikas, Elliott, Carvalho
Jurgen Klopp – 8
Klopp has rallied the troops in recent weeks, which he deserves big praise for, and this was another display that suggested a big corner has been turned.
Having fallen behind, Liverpool showed impressive resolve, never panicking and overcoming a West Ham side who can be dangerous on their day.
Top four looks too difficult at this point, but fifth looks on the cards on this evidence, with the Reds looking a different team.