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Reds Column V

Premier League 2020-21 Summary: Liverpool vs West Ham United

Goals from Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota helped Liverpool Fc (The Reds) rally from a Goal behind to beat the visitors West Ham United Fc (The Hammers) 2-1 in the Premier League.

In the absence of Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Fabinho; Nathaniel Phillips started alongside with Joe Gomez.

Both Thiago Alcântara and Naby Keïta missed out as they were not declared fit to play.

West Ham United Fc (The Hammers) started the match utilising 5-4-1 Formation to negate the Reds attacking threat. The Hammers stuck to their task and frustrated the Reds attack.

The Front Three (of Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah) particularly were left to work with scraps as they got very little help from the Midfield.

The Visitors took the early lead as a misdirected header from Joe Gomez led to the goal from Pablo Fornals in the 10th minute as the Spanish International struck the ball into the bottom left corner.

Despite dominating the possession, the Reds could not find the equaliser until a moment of madness from Arthur Mausaku led to the Penalty for the Reds. The Hammers defender fouled Salah in the Penalty Box in the 40th minute and with Łukasz Fabiański sprung to the right side, the Egyptian struck the ball to the centre of the Goal.

The Reds should consider themselves lucky. The match headed to 1-1 draw at the end of First Half.

After the Second Half began, the Reds looked to press for the Second Goal but it was the Hammers that nearly scored. Fornals has his shot blocked by Andrew Robertson in the 68th minute. The Reds had a huge Let-off as Jarrod Bowen could have took the chance to strike the ball.

Desperate for the Second Goal, Diogo Jota and Xherdan Shaqiri were introduced (70th minute) to replace Roberto Firmino and Curtis Jones.

Just when the Reds thought to have scored in the Second Half, VAR came to the rescue for the Visitors. The Reds were denied the Second Goal in the 77th minute as Mané was adjudged to have fouled Fabiański before Jota struck the ball into the net. Match Referee Kevin Friend then reviewed the decision and Overturned the Goal Decision.

However, the Reds did not had to wait too long for their Second Goal. In the 84th minute, Mané knew that he was offside, a Clever through ball from Shaqiri (that went under the legs of Fabián Balbuena) found Jota. The Portuguese International had the simplest task to guide the ball past Fabiański and made it 2-1 for the Reds.

To provide more defensive solidity, James Milner was brought on in place of Salah (89th minute). The Reds held their nerves and won the match 2-1.

 

Reds Team Performance Ratings

Liverpool (4-3-3 Formation)

Defence:

Alisson – 6: Relatively quiet game from the Brazilian Goalkeeper and had nothing much to do. Perhaps could have done better to prevent the opening Goal.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7: Looked threatening going forward and defended well.

Nathaniel Phillips – 9: Making his First Reds Top-fight appearance, the Englishman had a near Perfect Performance by keeping things simple and won his Ariel duels.

Joe Gomez – 6: His poor headed clearance from the cross allowed the Visitors to take the early lead but improved as the match progressed. With the Reds due to play their upcoming matches against Atalanta BC (Champions League 2020-21 Group D Match) and Manchester City Fc (Premier League), the young Englishman cannot afford to make such mistakes against quality oppositions.

Andrew Robertson – 8: Defended astutely and repeatedly denied the Visitors particularly in the Second Half. The Scot had a chance to score but his shot went too high.

Midfield:

Georginio Wijnaldum – 6: Very quiet in the First Half but improved from the Second Half. Clearly lacks the creativity to breakdown defences (that Thiago possesses).

Jordan Henderson – 7: Kept things tidy with quick passes and interceptions but could not dictate the game. The Captain came close to scoring in the First Half.

Curtis Jones – 5: Just baffling selection by Jürgen Klopp to name the youngster in the starting XI (instead of Shaqiri or Takumi Minamino). The youngster did very little. Fortunately, the Reds won after the youngster was replaced by Shaqiri.

Forwards:

Sadio Mané – 6: Perhaps left frustrated by the Hammers defending, but improved in the Second Half making better direct runs into the Final Third.

Roberto Firmino – 5: Very quiet game as the Brazilian could not dictate the game and conceded possession quiet easily.

Mohamed Salah – 7: Won and scored the Penalty. The Egyptian was a constant menace to the Hammers Defence.

Substitutes:

Diogo Jota – N/A: Came on as a substitute to replace Firmino. Denied by VAR but scored the decisive Goal few minutes later that sealed the match for the Reds.

Xherdan Shaqiri – N/A: The Swiss International instantly made an impact by providing the through ball that resulted in the Winning Goal for the Reds. Very harsh from Klopp to name Jones ahead of Shaqiri in the starting XI.

James Milner – N/A: Brought on to close out the game.

 

Coach:

Jürgen Klopp – 7: With the Reds facing a serious defensive crisis, lining up Nathaniel Phillips alongside with Gomez was a risk worth taking. Philips defended impeccably and justified his selection. However, naming Curtis Jones in the line up was baffling as he continued to show his ineffectiveness against Defensive Minded Sides.

The Hammers match was reminiscent of the Sheffield United Fc match as both matches the Reds won 2-1 after going down by a Goal.

The Reds are due to play against Atalanta BC in the Champions League 2020-21 Group D on 03 November 2020. The Italian side are an uncharacteristically attack minded and Klopp would be hoping for Matip’s return.

 

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