Liverpool were excellent once again as they earned a third consecutive 3-1 win – and fourth in seven games this season – this time over West Ham.
Liverpool 3-1 West Ham
Premier League (6), Anfield
September 24, 2023
Goals: Salah pen 16′, Nunez 60′, Jota 85′; Bowen 42′
Alisson – 7 (out of 10)
He smothered other half-chances with ease, and will be disappointed to see another clean sheet stricken off, with little he could have done for Jarrod Bowen’s diving header.
Joe Gomez – 8
Proving an able stand-in as Trent Alexander-Arnold nurses his hamstring injury, Gomez’s duties were less confused this time out as he served as more of an orthodox right-back.
A few of his smarter runs were ignored by team-mates but he was still valuable as an overlapping presence, while he was strong defensively, winning 89 percent of his duels per FotMob.
Joel Matip – 7
The surprise starter in a lineup many had otherwise expected, Matip came in for Ibrahima Konate and held up brilliantly to the challenge of Michail Antonio.
There was much less for him to do as the game wore on, but that should be no detriment to his performance; he stepped in and coped excellently.
Virgil van Dijk – 8
Van Dijk was stoic and composed alongside Matip at the back, but found himself on the back foot as West Ham grabbed their first-half equaliser through Bowen.
As the game played out more in front of him, though, he was much more comfortable, dominating in the air – and the captain claimed an assist as Diogo Jota made it 3-1 late on.
Andy Robertson – 7
With his role now more defined, all questions over the failure to sign a new left-sided centre-back in the summer appear to have been answered by an all-action start to the campaign from Robertson.
There could be concerns for the number of fouls he committed – a match-high three – particularly given James Ward-Prowse’s set-pieces are the main outlet for West Ham.
Alexis Mac Allister – 8 (Man of the Match)
He grew into the game wonderfully, though, with his determination to win the ball and his invention when in possession central as Liverpool gained control, not least his sumptuous assist for Darwin Nunez to make it 2-1.
Dominik Szoboszlai – 7
An ever-present in the Premier League, Szoboszlai has made the step up from Leipzig to Liverpool look easy, doing so in both left and right of midfield against West Ham as he and Curtis Jones swapped freely.
He was certainly quieter than in recent games, though he still presided over his battles with poise and skill, with more touches than any other player (102).
Curtis Jones – 7
Alongside Szoboszlai, Jones kept control and structure alternating between central midfield roles, and produced a smart run to combine with the No. 8 for a goal disallowed.
He was heavily involved off the ball, with his tenacity a major factor in Liverpool shifting momentum after half-time.
A deserved starter who is set for a fierce challenge with Ryan Gravenberch, who replaced him with 13 minutes to play.
Mohamed Salah – 8
It is now 13 games in a row that Salah has scored or assisted at least one goal – or 18 including Liverpool’s pre-season friendlies – with the No. 11 in supreme form.
He should have come away with an assist, too, only for Nunez to misfire after a fine show of strength and craft from his fellow forward.
The confidence oozes out of Salah at this point. A magnificent player still at his peak.
Luis Diaz – 6
Bright, bold and direct, Diaz is so often the spark in Liverpool’s attack, and his willingness to chase lost causes and demand the ball whenever possible is reminiscent of Sadio Mane.
His influence faded as the second half went on, which may be no surprise given he played 90 minutes at LASK and was then called up for 80 more three days later.
Darwin Nunez – 7
The popular pick to keep his place up front, Nunez was a handful from the off and it was his touch on the stretch that opened it up for Salah to win his penalty.
Missed a huge chance after great work from Salah soon after the restart but then converted a much harder one on the hour, a cracking finish from Mac Allister’s lofted ball.
Where he may have allowed those failures to affect him earlier in his Liverpool career, Nunez now uses them as motivation.
Ryan Gravenberch (on for Jones, 77′) – 6 – A quiet cameo from a player who shone in midweek.
Diogo Jota (on for Diaz, 80′) – 7 – Only on for 10 minutes but there to grab his second of the season.
Cody Gakpo (on for Nunez, 80′) – 6 – Put himself about and had one solid effort blocked.
Wataru Endo (on for Mac Allister, 88′) – N/A
Subs not used: Kelleher, Konate, Quansah, Tsimikas, Elliott
Jurgen Klopp – 9
Klopp made eight changes from the side that overcame LASK on Thursday night, with Van Dijk, Diaz and Nunez the only players retained at Anfield.
It was closer to his strongest lineup, then, with the decision to reward Diaz and Nunez with consecutive starts a smart one as they build on their incisive form.
There may have been fears over the buildup of minutes for both as the second half ticked by – having played 90 minutes only three days previous – but Klopp used his bench well late on.
Much of that is due to the options available to him, shown as Jota came on and scored to guarantee the three points.