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Football News: West Ham United v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective

West Ham United v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective
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West Ham United v Liverpool A Liverpool Perspective


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Well that result has been coming, after the highs of Watford and Manchester United, the level has dipped in the league. It does seem that a big result is followed very regularly in football by a team struggling to get the result next time out. Midweek was, of course, a big result which meant a lot in terms of the season, with it meaning Liverpool finished top of their Champions League group. This was a massive comedown from that high, but it was probably needed to get the team to sit down and look at how they have been performing as a group.

Some of the football has been breathtaking but there has been far too much openness at the back and far too many individual errors. What particularly concerns me is the way players are not learning and adapting as they did early on under Klopp. These players should be able to spot problems within the game and sort out most of it between them on the pitch, but they no longer seem to do so. Case in point was the defending on corners, even after a goal was conceded through poor defending, no one made any attempt to change it to fix the massive glaring problem.

That is my biggest worry, that lack of adaption to in-game circumstances that was such a big part of the trophy wins. There seems to be almost an arrogance, a dismissive attitude to any problems that arise. The team just seems to think that they no longer need to adapt as they will just continue how they are and win anyway. Though, to be fair, most of the time they have been proven correct!

In games like this one, a little adaption would have changed the game completely. A simple step such as putting a man between the keeper and Antonio would have allowed him to concentrate and stopped the first error and it is a completely different game. If Matip had adapted to stop pushing out all the time and looked to drop off to protect against the run in behind, the corner never happens in the first place. When Alexander-Arnold's runs into midfield produced nothing, he and Henderson should have reverted to normal and left the right-back to go back to marauding down the outside against a full-back who is not the quickest or best defender.

That is what is costing the points at the moment, the refusal to organise themselves on the pitch to deal with what they face, rather than what the coaching staff had expected before the game. They are turning into robotic players, similar to the ones that Guardiola churns out, that play one way and one way only and just follow instructions with no use of their own grey matter. Unfortunately that is not the way Liverpool have ever worked, success has always come from good players using their heads to adapt and overcome their opposition.

Obviously there were other talking points, in particular the referee who was abysmal. He was giving goal kicks that should have been corners, throw ins the wrong way, gave the free kick Alexander-Arnold scored from, which should not have been given, and also missed the foul by Cresswell, not even giving a foul. Cresswell was lucky that it was not deemed a red, but I can understand the referee not giving a red, however, how can a professional referee not spot the foul at all? He was absolutely shocking, not biased, just consistently terrible throughout the match. I just do not understand how standards can have dropped so low when they are full-time professionals.


West Ham United


Moyes must be loving it there at the moment, not only because he is completely rebuilding a reputation that was destroyed by difficult spells at Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Sunderland, but because he has such a good set of players to work with. The squad is a genuine step up from the one he had at his disposal at Everton. This is not a bunch of freak results, it is an excellent team getting results on merit. The big problem he will face is depth of squad, which is lacking compared to the other teams in and around them.

But having players of the class of Rice and Johnson at his disposal must be a dream come true for Moyes. Rice splits opinion, I know that having seen the arguments raging on the Chelsea site due to their past interest in bringing him back, but for me he is absolutely brilliant. Johnson also always impresses me and then there are players like Bowen, Soucek and Zouma, who are very decent players too. This is a chance for Moyes to actually compete at the top end and not need comments about bringing a knife to a gun fight and so far he is making a good fist of it.

If only Antonio had better technical ability it might have been a much more comfortable win for the Hammers, as he had chances to break through that he messed up with his lack of quality. There are times when he can get away with a poor touch due to his power and pace but this game was one where his technique was shown up. It is such a shame that his touch does not match his effort or he would be one of the best strikers in the game, as he has pretty much everything else. But then he probably would not have been at West Ham in the first place if he had that.

Overall it was a well-deserved win for West Ham and one that could be a platform to launch the club up to the next level or the cue for vultures with full wallets to step in and cherry pick the clubs better players. This is a pivotal moment for the club, do they have the ambition to push on? Only time will tell for sure, but they are at a point where they can move into the top 4 with Man Utd in disarray. It might only be a short term step, with them being unable to compete financially in the long term, or they could continue to benefit from one of the others having a bad run and take the place Leicester City looked to have sewn up.




Klopp - I believe he got his selection all wrong. If ever there was a game for Konate rather than Matip, it was one where the main forward the defence would be facing was Antonio, who would always be looking to run in behind. Tactically it was not working either, with Henderson spending far too much time on the wing while Alexander-Arnold went inside, reducing the effectiveness of both of them. Added to that, Robertson is so off form right now that it is unbelievable he is not sitting on the bench.

Added to that, Klopp and his staff did not make alterations to the way corners were defended, even though they were clearly causing problems simply by standing on Alisson and distracting him. Simple job to tell someone to get between them. Then there were the subs, too late for my liking and they were given no real chance to alter the result. We all have off days and this was definitely one for Klopp.


Alisson - he has pulled out some wonder saves this season to save Liverpool in games but he had a stinking game this time. Constantly allowed himself to be distracted on corners by Antonio and should have asked for someone to get between them and keep Antonio clear. That is no excuse for his terrible attempt on the second goal either. Unfortunately for a keeper, a bad game almost always results in goals going in as they have nowhere to hide, but I am sure he will be bounce back.


Alexander-Arnold - I am really not a fan of this tactical ploy of him cutting inside into central midfield, it makes absolutely no sense when his best quality is his crossing. Instead of Henderson constantly being out there, he should have been there. Then he is also in a better position to track runs down the wing. The idea of full-backs drifting inside is an old one, but there is a reason why it has never become a popular one - it does not work. He needs to be out wide where he can do damage. Other than his exceptional free kick, as a result of so often being in the centre, he got little time and space and offered little to the game.


Matip - once again, long, straight balls over the top continually catch him out running the wrong way. When a team has a forward like Antonio, it makes no sense to put Matip in the team, he is quite simply terrible at dealing with the run in behind. Matip's reading of the game leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to when to push up and when to drop, which leaves him absolutely nowhere time and time again. As a result the Hammers were able to get in a number of times with no sign of Matip at all. It was a woeful performance and he should never start, if there is a choice, against a team with a forward who is going to look to run in behind.


van Dijk - looked much more like the van Dijk of old in one-on-one situations. In fact, as an individual performance he was very good, but it is not an individual game and he needs to communicate better with his partner at the back, the midfield in front and the keeper. As the leader at the back, he is the one that needs to organise it on-pitch and it was a disorganised mess, so he has to shoulder some of the blame, no matter how unfair it may seem after a good individual performance.


Robertson - yet again he messed up continually when he got the ball out wide, the only delivery he got right was the most difficult to deal with and he was probably mostly concentrating purely on just ensuring he got his contact right. Defensively he is not playing well either, constantly playing everyone else onside by being yards deeper than the other defenders. I do not know what is up with him at the moment but, for all his drive and determination, he is simply not playing well enough to deserve his place. At least he was in position to put the ball in though and that is something that was badly missing on the other side of the pitch.


Fabinho - while he was still able to break up play to a large degree, he was in need of help to stop him being overrun as the Hammers keep the width well, with players attacking down both sides. That meant he was unable to plug all the gaps on his own and, with Matip caught out so often, West Ham were able to exploit that to get at the backline.


Oxlade-Chamberlain - playing in a much more standard role than Henderson's, only drifting out wide to support Mane and Robertson, meant he was able to offer much more in the centre offensively. His running with the ball might well have opened the Hammers up if there had been more movement for him to play in when he did run. Defensively he does struggle, though never because he is not trying, he simply is always looking to get forward.


Henderson - a poor game, he was constantly out on the right, leaving a space in behind him to be attacked down the flank and space in central midfield as Alexander-Arnold would be immediately trying to get back into position at right-back when the ball was turned over. It was just a mess and failed miserably to help the team at all.


Mane - if it was not for his misses we would be talking about how well he played once more. The biggest problem is that most of his good work came far too deep, when he dropped off to get on the ball. That is credit to West Ham's defensive organisation which left him no space to work in the final third.


Salah - came close to conjuring another piece of magic up a few times, but West Ham just had too many bodies around him for it to happen for a third time this season. Mostly he was crowded out of the game and it was only his personal brilliance which came close to creating something out of nothing.


Jota - not his worst game, but he does not really offer a lot creatively, so if he is not getting on the end of something he can be a bit anonymous. He really needs a Firmino-type alongside him to get on the ball.


Thiago - replaced Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 68th minute. He should have come on a lot sooner, half-time even, but maybe for Henderson or at least Henderson's role should have been altered when he came on to play alongside him. As it was, there was very little for him to pick out with passes and he struggled to make a real impact.


Origi - was brought on in the 76th minute to take Jota's place. He does what Origi does, frustrates and then scores. Usually he scores something that is worthy of talking about for months afterwards as well. For someone who does so little talking off the pitch, Origi certainly creates a lot of talking points on it with very little gametime. One thing with him is that he is an extremely reliable goalscorer no matter the occasion. Nothing phases him. I just wish he could show more aggression and really bully defenders.


Minamino replaced Fabinho in the 80th minute. Needed him on earlier to use his energy and movement to unsettle the packed defence.

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Written by Tris Burke November 10 2021 00:32:46


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