Flubbed chances from both sides probably delivered a rightful winner as Liverpool beat West Ham United 1-0 in a wide-open match at Anfield on Saturday.
Sadio Mane’s first-half goal was the lone marker of the contest as Mohamed Salah was joined by West Ham’s Pablo Fornals and Manuel Lanzini as players to miss terrific chances on Merseyside.
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The win helps Liverpool put more pressure on Manchester City ahead of Sunday’s monstrous Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium. Liverpool is three points back of table-topping City after both sides have played 27 matches. The rivals have a match remaining next month.
West Ham fails to go above fourth-place Manchester United and its 45 points are vulnerable to Arsenal and Tottenham by virtue of matches-in-hand.
Liverpool vs West Ham final score, stats
Liverpool 1, West Ham 0
Goals scored: Mane (27′)
Shots: Liverpool 22, West Ham 13
Shots on target: Liverpool 5, West Ham 5
Possession: Liverpool 69, West Ham 31
Three things we learned from Liverpool vs West Ham
1. All types of wins count: A neutral without table knowledge will have thought this game to be between mid-table scrappers and not a would-be title chaser and visitors hoping for the top four. Even ignoring the missed chances, Liverpool and West Ham provided plenty to the opposition with sloppy play and poor decisions. That said, the team that came away with all three points would be able to go home and raise a glass to three ugly points.
2. Liverpool’s defending not title worthy: The Reds have gotten to their place in this season’s Premier League title race largely by manufacturing loads of chances and finishing a whole lot of them, but both the midfield and back line were not near title caliber in defense as Fornals, Lanzini, and Michail Antonio has enviable chances to give not just one but three points to the visitors from London. Yes, Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and others contributing big defensive plays — Naby Keita, too — but it’s necessary to note they also opened the door to other chances by switching off or making silly mistakes.
3.Liverpool’s defenders plenty good going forward: Trent Alexander-Arnold is a maestro with the ball at his feet and he had five key passes on the day including the set-up of Mane. Robertson had three key passes during his 90 minutes and Konate completed 5-of-8 long passes while Virgil van Dijk pushed a shot toward the West Ham goal. So even if the Reds were punished for a mistake, their defenders provided plenty of chances to have that mistake be in a 4-1 win rather than a 2-1 loss.
Man of the Match: Trent Alexander-Arnold- With apologies to a solid Sadio Mane, Alexander-Arnold is orchestrating a game like he’s Kevin De Bruyne right now.
Mane times run perfectly, doesn’t miss
There were plenty of misses on Saturday, but Liverpool’s goal was very, very nice.
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