KLOPP’S LAST GAME SOUVENIR

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 27, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp applauds the supporters after the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Strange Diaz sub and Gravenberch promise – 5 talking points from West Ham 2-2 Liverpool

Liverpool continued to stumble toward the Premier League finish line as they were held to a 2-2 draw by West Ham.

West Ham 2-2 Liverpool

Premier League (35), London Stadium
April 27, 2024

Goals: Bowen 43′, Antonio 77′; Robertson 48′, Areola OG 65′


Salah and Klopp clash a terrible look

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 27, 2024: Liverpool's substitute Mohamed Salah and manager Jürgen Klopp exchange words during the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Everybody is fully aware that Jurgen Klopp‘s final season in charge isn’t ending in the manner it had been hoped for even three weeks ago, but do we really need to pile on further negativity in the form of a beloved manager and his best player having an argument on the touchline?

Whatever the reasons for Mohamed Salah‘s spat with the boss before coming on, this disagreement would not have played out so publicly in past seasons.

Perhaps the Egyptian feels his manager’s authority has been undermined by the fact he is about to depart, but his own future at the club under a new coach is hardly secured given his recent performances.

 

Gravenberch shows promise again

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 27, 2024: Liverpool's Cody Gakpo celebrates after scoring hi side's second goal during the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If Arne Slot is to continue Liverpool’s upward trajectory next season, then he will need to make the most of the young core of players at his disposal.

One of those who will surely play a big role is Ryan Gravenberch, who evidenced his immense potential with another fine showing here.

The Dutchman won nine out of 13 ground duels and made seven recoveries to show that he is more than capable of doing the dirty work in the midfield.

He also combined that with completing an incredible seven out of eight dribbles, creating two chances, and taking three shots.

It has undoubtedly been a mixed first season for Gravenberch at Liverpool but he is just 21 and alreayd starting to show that he could prove to be a shrewd acquisition.

 

Diaz sub a strange choice

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 27, 2024: Liverpool's Luis Diaz during the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

For all the focus on Liverpool’s struggles in attack of late, Luis Diaz should surely be given partial immunity for criticism.

As has been the case on several occasions of late, the Colombian was far and away the biggest threat in the Reds’ forward line here.

Three shots, seven chances created, three dribbles completed and the assist for Andy Robertson‘s equaliser – Diaz terrorised West Ham across the 79 minutes he was on the pitch.

In fact, the only downside of his performance was that its ending, inexplicably early, triggered by Klopp’s decision to sub him while needing a goal to win the game.

 

TNT’s lack of self awareness stuns

It was fascinating to hear TNT Sports’ commentary team spend the entirety of the first half at the London Stadium bemoaning the lack of tempo from both sides.

But did Klopp’s favourite broadcaster ever stop to consider that they might have something to do with the complete absence of zip in the play?

TNT’s designated 12.30pm kick-off slot is often a guarantee of a poor atmosphere in the stands and action on the pitch that reflects this, and that is even more true when it pits two sides with little to play for up against each other.

With that in mind, perhaps their pundits should look closer to home when criticising the two sets of players for not serving up a classic after being forced to eat pasta for their breakfast.

 

Fight not entirely gone

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 27, 2024: Liverpool's Andy Robertson celebrates after scoring his side's first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As difficult as it is to grasp the positives after another disappointing result, it is only fair to point out that things could have been worse.

That is because, when Liverpool fell behind after a listless first-half performance, supporters could have been forgiven for fearing on the basis of recent form that another defeat was inevitable.

Yet it is easy to forget that, prior to this game, the Reds had picked up 27 points from losing positions so far this season, and they were clearly keen to show that their fighting spirit has not been completely extinguished.

That desire manifested itself as a much-improved second half performance that should be acknowledged, even if it was undermined by the concession of a sloppy equaliser.