Premier League
Liverpool 1-0 West Ham United 

Saturday, 5th March 2022
by Chris Wilkerson

David Moyes’s dire Anfield record continued this weekend as his West Ham side narrowly lost 1-0 to Liverpool.

West Ham were disciplined and determined, but the profligacy in goal that has blighted games this season continued. Huge chances for Bowen, Fornals and Lanzini were all wasted.

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There was a single change from the win against Wolves last weekend as Declan Rice was forced to miss the game through illness.

The pessimism would have been rife in the West Ham fanbase, and it looked fully justified as Liverpool missed a glorious chance with only 60 seconds on the clock.

A quick freekick deep in the Liverpool half was fired down the right channel by Trent Alexander-Arnold. Chasing it was Mo Salah, the Egyptian in behind Cresswell and Zouma to race into the box from the right side.

Facing up and looking to the far corner, Salah tried to slot the ball home, but instead hit Fabianski's knee. The goalkeeper deserves credit for the save, staying up on his feet well and reacting to just get his leg to the ball as it was flicked toward him.

It set a tone, and Liverpool looked fully ready to take advantage of any anxiety in the West Ham defence.

A couple minutes later, Dawson was the hero. After Zouma stepped out to win a header, Salah exploited the space behind him. Zouma's intervention was weak, only knocking it down to a Liverpool player to immediately pass forward.

Salah took the ball into the box after a flick into his path from Mane. With nine goals in nine games against West Ham, it seemed inevitable a second chance would be one too many. But as he moved left to make space for the shot, Dawson made a sliding challenge to divert the ball wide for a corner.

West Ham looked set to defend, the manager reverting to a 4-2-3-1, but seeing the bolder choice still leave his side playing deep in their own half. Dawson, as he often does, defended his area well and shut down more openings as Liverpool tried to play from the wide areas and then into the centre.

Moyes's side offered threat only on counters and set pieces, which were again aimed at Alisson like they had been at the London Stadium earlier in the season.

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Antonio was lively, springing to action and stinging the goalkeeper's palms with an effort after a clever curling pass through by Fornals.

It was later who forced Liverpool onto the backfoot once more, driving down the left wing and then cutting inside, beating Konat?(C) and forcing another shot from outside the box to be partied wide.

These moments of threat were interruptions in Liverpool's dominance, but having settled into the game and showed the dangers they can pose, they will have been disappointed with the way they conceded.

Just shy of the half-hour mark, a chipped pass from the left to Alexander-Arnold in a bit of space outside the area saw the full back volley at goal.

It flew diagonally across goal and into the gap between the defender and his goalkeeper, and Dawson couldn't deflect it away as it fizzed to Mane. The forward flicked it in a few yards from goal and gave his side the lead. It went across a path Fabianski could have got out to, but he doesn't commit forward and allows it to go on.

The offside call was as tight as could be, but VAR showed the striker to be onside and the goal stood.

It was a blow, the players actually having defended reasonably comfortably for a spell after the early fears.

Instead they were rattled, and Liverpool nearly stretched their lead.

Encamped in the box, Fabinho dinked a ball down the right channel of the West Ham area and Alexander-Arnold was down to the byline. His ball cut across the area was poked at goal by Diaz and rolled beyond Fabianski.

But he was to be denied by Cresswell, the left back running back to goal and stopping the ball on the line. With all the composure in the world, Cresswell turned back around to poke the ball away from goal with no hint of panic.

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Liverpool's confidence was up, which may have been why they were so high up the pitch as Johnson took the ball inside his own half down the right side and clipped a ball over the defence.

The centre backs were split and Fornals sprinted into the space that was opened up. He took it down and went in on goal, but his touches took him close to Alisson and he lacked conviction too. Getting to shoot with the goalkeeper near his toes, he dinked it softly over the Brazilian, but too softly as Alexander-Arnold got around to clear before it could cross the line.

The hosts went in 1-0 up, but West Ham knew they were still right in the game and doing reasonably well at stopping their biggest threats and showing our own.

Only a few minutes into the second half, a looped clearance was flicked on by Van Dijk towards his own goal, completely unaware that Bowen had read his header and made the run to receive it.

The winger looked in behind, but took too long to get his feet together when in the Liverpool box and he was blocked by Robertson.

It was to be his last involvement in the game, the England-hopeful not long after grounded in the West Ham half and unable to walk under his own weight off the pitch.

His chance was another reminder of the way West Ham could shock Liverpool.

It was grippingly tight, Liverpool looking less dangerous with the ball as time went on and West Ham growing in confidence as they found themselves comfortably shutting their hosts down.

Noble came on for Vlasic and the Hammers started to break more regularly at the Liverpool defence.

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The big chance came with 20 minutes to go. Soucek was rolled down the right side and played a quite perfect cross behind the Liverpool defence and to Lanzini. He took it down, let Alexander-Arnold slide past him and then let it drop nicely to volley in.

He was six yards out, it looked set, but Lanzini fired over. It seemed unimaginable, the man you'd want in such a situation, but the chance was wasted.

Liverpool looked nervous, and warmed up substitutes for their illustrious forward players as Klopp showed just how well the West Ham defence had suffocated his attack.

That said, Diaz looked to have put it on a plate for Salah as he drove into the area and squirmed the ball between two defenders to put Salah in.

He was six yards from goal and controlled quickly, but with the goal in front of him, in came Dawson from his left to flick the ball away and keep West Ham in the game.

West Ham had time for one more chance. A glorious Noble pass with the outside of his boot clipped Antonio behind the defence. He ran in from wide, looked to drive at goal but couldn't decide between the shot or the pass across goal.

He got into the box, was tackled slightly by Robertson which was enough to give another defender the time to get across and block a shot wide.

There were more glimpses of opportunities, but poor passes wasted any openings and eventually the game petered out.

The side's play had deserved a point, but their finishing couldn't match up.

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Player Ratings

Lukasz Fabianski
Big early save, good off his line for crosses. Makes up for an error of judgement on the first goal where he could have been braver.

Ben Johnson
Solid in defence but not great on the ball.

Aaron Cresswell
The left side of defence did really well on Salah, suffocating his space and defending with great discipline.

Kurt Zouma
Lucky not to be punished twice early on when Salah got away from him in defence. Settled into it after and defended comfortably.

Craig Dawson
Frustratingly just beaten on his shoulder by Mane for the goal, but otherwise made some incredible interventions to halt chances and stop what looked set to be goals.

Nicola Vlasic
The recent system looked perfect for Vlasic to come into in a central attacking role. But he was pushed out to the left as we reverted to a 4-2-3-1. Again, he didn't settle into the wide role. Did his defensive work with real discipline, but couldn't add quality.

Tomas Soucek
A really solid defensive display. Worked his socks off in there, and you couldn't really look at the game and see a big Declan Rice-shaped hole in the midfield, which is of credit.

Pablo Fornals
Dangerous passing, dogged defending and smart runs forward were all over Pablo's display. A seriously good display until the big miss is taken into account. Lanzini took his in an instant and got it wrong, but Pablo overdid it and made it harder.

Manuel Lanzini
Deserved much credit for covering the absence of Rice too. It's a bit easier when you're being almost entirely dedicated to defending, making sure you remained focused. But he did it manfully and didn't look out of place. But that miss?EUR?

Jarrod Bowen
Back to the wider role but didn't really find his form with that. Worked hard but was not sharp enough on opportunities where he needed to be and drifted out of the game otherwise. Looked a problematic injury, could miss Sevilla.

Michail Antonio
The chief threat. The good of West Ham came from Antonio's work one way or another. Off the ball he was smart, did all the hard yards and created chances from very little due to great channel running. Created opportunities for others too and gave Konate and Van Dijk a difficult evening.


Said Benrahma
(Replaced Bowen, 53) Just very poor with the ball. Bad passes, bad choices, confused dribbling. Just completely out of form.

Mark Noble
(Replaced Vlasic 60') Made a difference, Lanzini moving forward made the team better and Noble spotted passes well. One with the outside of his boot was beautiful, and a great goal after the whistle had gone was enjoyable regardless.

Dan Chesters
(Replaced Fornals 90') Didn't touch the ball but was warmed up for quite some while so the manager was ready to use him.

Alphonse Areola
Did not play.

Issa Diop
Did not play.

Ryan Fredericks
Did not play.

Alex Masuaku
Did not play.

Alex Kral
Did not play.

Armstrong Okoflex
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Ben Johnson, Aaron Cresswell, Kurt Zouma, Craig Dawson, Nicola Vlasic, Tomas Soucek, Pablo Fornals, Manuel Lanzini, Jarrod Bowen, Michail Antonio.

Goals: Dawson 0                  .

Booked: Ryan Fredericks 21 Pablo Fornals 90        .

Sent off: None.

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, van Dijk, Konate, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Keïta (Milner 90), Díaz (Jones 90+5), Mane, Salah (Diogo Jota 78).

Subs not used: Kelleher, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Elliott, Origi, Minamino.

Goals: Mane (27).

Booked: Jota.

Sent off: None.

Referee: Jonathan Moss.

Attendance: 0.

Man of the Match: Craig Dawson.