Joël Matip was added to the Liverpool lineup due to a late injury to Ibrahima Konaté and Liverpool fans were glad he was Matip headed home the game-winner in the 67th minute off of a corner kick from Andy Robertson as the Reds claimed an important 3 points over West Ham United at London Stadium Wednesday evening.
Liverpool earned three corners inside the first 10 minutes, but the Hammers' defence held firm. It was the home team that got on the board first thanks to a beautiful strike from Lucas Paquetá in the 12th minute. Liverpool brought things back on level terms relatively quickly. Trent Alexander Arnold found Cody Gakpo well outside the box. Gakpo was given several yards of space, so he turned and fired a shot that hit off the post and settled in the bottom corner for the equalizer in the 18th minute.
Diogo Jota nearly put the Reds in front as the ball fell to him in the box off of a pass from Jordan Henderson, but he put the chance high in the 27th minute. Virgil van Dijk mishit a header in the 36th minute and Jota missed by inches on his header in the 39th minute. Antonio also nearly scored in the 42nd minute, but that miss allowed the teams to go into halftime tied at 1-1.
Liverpool successfully defended a corner early in the second half. West Ham United appeared to take the lead in the 55th minute, but Jarrod Bowen was ruled offside by VAR, erasing the goal.
Liverpool found success off of corner kicks later in the match. Joël Matip nearly scored after a corner fell to him in the box in the 66th minute. The Hammer goalie made a great save, however, to keep the game level. The ball went out for a corner and this time Matip did not miss. He out-jumped a West Ham defender and headed the ball in the back of the net for a 2-1 Liverpool lead.
The Reds kept pushing for another goal, as Thiago's shot was blocked in the 73rd minute. For the final 15 minutes or so, it was Liverpool that had to defend against a late West Ham push for an equalizer. Tomás Soucek missed a header and Alisson made a big save in the 86th minute to secure the 2-1 win.
First Things First
The victory marked several first time all season, Liverpool have won 3 consecutive Premier League matches. Matip's maker was also his first goal of the campaign and it is only the second time all year that the Reds have won consecutive games away from Anfield. The others were road triumphs vs. Tottenham and Aston Villa.
European Outlook Improving
Thanks to five straight results, Liverpool have moved to 6th place ahead of Tottenham on goal difference in the table. If the season ended today, they would claim a Europa League spot, though whether or not that is a good thing can be debated.
LFC Globe Verdict
I called it. In the match preview, I said Liverpool would pull out a gritty 2-1 win and they did just that. Matip was the unlikely hero considering that coming into the match, a forward had scored 19 out of the last 20 Premier League goals. I don't think anyone is complaining though. With the way Liverpool are playing at the moment, the matchups for the rest of the season are favourable for the Reds on paper and Europa League qualification seems more likely.
Man Of The Match
This is a surprisingly difficult choice. While Matip scored the match-winner, he was out of position on West Ham's early goal. No one player stood out above the rest. Therefore, I'm going to give it to Liverpool's defence. They did a much better job defending corners and set pieces than last game against a West Ham side that scored two goals off of set pieces in their last match.
Liverpool will return to Anfield Sunday, April 30th for a massive match with Tottenham Hotspur. Kickoff is set for 16:30 BST. As always there will be a match build-up in our Liverpool Streams section.
1. Lucas Paquetá 12'
- Cody Gakpo 18'
- Joël Matip 67'
- Maxwel Cornet for Said Ben Rahma 70'
- Danny Ings for Machail Antonio 70'