Liverpool vs West Ham result: Five things we learned as Reds produce another comeback win

Karl Matchett
·4-min read
Diogo Jota celebrates a goal for Liverpool (Getty Images)
Diogo Jota celebrates a goal for Liverpool (Getty Images)

Liverpool came from behind for the second time in as many weekends to beat West Ham United 2-1 in the Premier League on Saturday evening.

The Reds dominated the opening minutes but it was the Hammers who netted first, Pablo Fornals scoring off a loose header by Joe Gomez. Despite not creating too many clear openings, the home side responded just before half-time when Mohamed Salah was fouled in the box and dispatched the penalty himself.

West Ham’s packed defence frustrated the Reds for a long period after half-time, prompting Jurgen Klopp into attacking changes.

And it was two of those who combined, Xherdan Shaqiri setting up Diogo Jota, to make it a record-equalling night for the Reds.

Here are five things we learned from the match at Anfield.

Rotating cast of defenders

Liverpool continue to suffer injuries in the deep, central areas of the team, with centre-backs and defensive midfielders missing now tallying at least four.

Jurgen Klopp made the call to bring in Nat Phillips at the back this time, his first-ever Premier League game at the age of 23, and he quickly showed he was up to the task of matching Seb Haller aerially.

He also cut out crosses, played simply from the back and held the line well alongside Joe Gomez, marking a successful step up to this level.

As an overall defensive set-up Liverpool were clearly still vulnerable early on, while a succession of crosses from the West Ham left weren’t stopped, and with the Hammers’ opening goal it produced the strange statistic of the reigning champions conceding more goals this season than any other team in the league.

Haller chance

While it might have been a big opportunity for Phillips, the same could be said for his direct rival.

Haller has been disappointing since moving to the Hammers from Eintracht Frankfurt and is beind Michail Antonio in the order of preference - but the striker faces a month on the sidelines.

For nearly 75 minutes, then, Haller toiled away here…but beyond winning a couple of aerial duels he showed very little to suggest he’s on the verge of rediscovering top form.

Forward thinking

Clearly unhappy with his team’s second-half attacking output, Klopp threw on Xherdan Shaqiri and Diogo Jota with 20 minutes to play, changing to a 4-2-3-1 in the process.

Within minutes the Portuguese forward had the ball in the net - only for a VAR review to see it overturned.

And soon after both those subs combined to more permanent effect, with Jota clipping home yet another goal to win the match for the team and stake his claim for more regular starting chances.

In previous seasons the Reds would not have been able to show such a depth of options, certainly not while keeping the attack at the same level - it’s notable that Divock Origi, for so long the fourth-choice forward, hasn’t even be on the bench in recent Premier League games.

No cause for complaint

West Ham might have suffered defeat here, but it can’t be taken in isolation.

In the last five league games they have played last season’s top two, Europa League semi-finalists Wolves and two more sides in Europe, in Spurs and Leicester.

That’s a tough run and for a team who were down at the bottom last year it might have been a run to take minimal points from, but the Hammers managed eight in total.

It has to be a stepping stone for them to continue showing improvement and attacking intent across the campaign, particularly when they come up soon against sides lower down the table.

Anfield record

By going unbeaten, Liverpool have equalled a club record: 63 matches at Anfield without losing once in the league.

The original was set by Bob Paisley’s team back in ‘78 to ’81 and the Reds can go one better, setting the new club record, if they draw or win against Leicester City on 21 November.

Crystal Palace were the last team to beat the Reds in the league on their turf; since then they’ve won 52 - and a league title - in a run which stretches back to April 2017.

It’s a huge factor in their relentlessness and whether a top attacking performance or a game where they grind out the result, somehow Klopp’s team keep finding a way.

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