Liverpool 3-2 West Ham: Wonderful Alexander-Arnold spares lacklustre Reds’ blushes

Liverpool’s hard-fought victory over West Ham United this evening saw the European champions take another step towards Premier League glory, with one player in particular having stood out above all others.

Liverpool get the job done… just

Jurgen Klopp’s men welcomed the Hammers to Anfield a short time ago, for their latest league outing.

The Reds headed into proceedings as clear favourites to emerge victorious, amid a sensational spell of league form to this point in the campaign.

Before tonight, Liverpool had dropped just 2 points all season, a run which, combined with the struggles of champions Manchester City, meant that the Merseysiders entered tonight’s matchup a frankly-ridiculous 19 points clear atop the English top-flight.

West Ham, on the other hand, sat in the relegation zone, amid a 7-match winless streak across all competitions.

As such, a comfortable evening’s work for the hosts was widely predicted.

When all was said and done, however, this proved far from the case.

A thrilling, back-and-forth affair over the last couple of hours eventually saw Liverpool emerge with a 3-2 victory.

The Reds opened the scoring inside the opening 10 minutes, courtesy of Gini Wijnaldum.

After play made its way out towards the end-line at the West Ham end, Trent Alexander-Arnold did brilliantly to wrap his right foot around the ball, unleashing a pinpoint delivery onto the head of the arriving Wijnaldum to nod home.

Just 3 minutes later, though, West Ham were level.

A wicked Robert Snodgrass corner from the right saw Issa Diop beat Joe Gomez to the pitch of the ball, with the stopper’s header having just managed to make its way past the scrambling Alisson at the near post.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 24: Issa Diop of West Ham United celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United at Anfield on February 24, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The visitors stood firm for the remainder of the opening 45, largely restricting Liverpool to half chances and blocked efforts.

And West Ham were rewarded for their impressive resilience early in the second-half, when, incredibly, Moyes’ men went on to turn the clash on its head.

After a fine passage of play on the part of the Hammers, Declan Rice’s low delivery was swept home by substitute Pablo Fornals, who was only on the pitch as a result of the injury picked up by Tomáš Souček 5 minutes prior.

Liverpool, though, as has been the case time and time again this season, soon fought back.

The Reds drew level with 68 minutes on the clock, courtesy of star man Mohamed Salah.

A burst down the left from the irrepressible Andy Robertson eventually saw the Scot pull back to Salah just inside the West Ham box.

The Egyptian’s subsequent strike was far from clean, but somehow managed to worm its way under the body of Lukasz Fabianski, to set up a tense closing 20 minutes at Anfield.

And, with 81 minutes on the clock, Liverpool’s inevitable winner arrived.

After Joe Gomez’s long-range strike was blocked, the ball fell kindly into the path of the onrushing Trent Alexander-Arnold, who calmly lofted a cross beyond the outstretched arms of Lukasz Fabianski.

While Roberto Firmino was unable to nod home into an open net, though, Sadio Mane was on hand, slotting home his 13th of the Premier League season to secure all 3 points for the hosts.

TAA shines

Evidently, as highlighted above, Liverpool were far from their brilliant best at Anfield this evening.

The Merseysiders toiled for long stretches over the course of the 90 minutes, with West Ham deserving of plenty of credit for a gutsy display.

However, when Jurgen Klopp’s men needed it most, one player stood up to take charge, driving the Reds on to a 27th league win of the campaign.

That player was Trent Alexander-Arnold.

English full-back Alexander-Arnold stood head-and-shoulders above the rest of the players on the park tonight, with his lung-busting bursts up and down the right having caused West Ham all sorts of problems.

What was so special about the 21-year-old’s performance, though, was the staggering standard, and consistency, of his delivery.

Time and time again Alexander-Arnold’s devilish right-footed crosses opened up the visitors’ backline, on a night where Liverpool otherwise largely struggled to carve out opportunities.

He also racked up the assists for his side’s 1st and 3rd goals, and could easily have had several more, with Virgil van Dijk’s header from a TAA corner having clipped the bar, and another late Sadio Mane strike having only been ruled out due to offside.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 24: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United at Anfield on February 24, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

This, though, is what makes this Liverpool side such a special one.

Even when the likes of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah aren’t firing on all cylinders, the Reds can still hit you from so many other angles.

And tonight, as Klopp’s men took another huge step towards long overdue domestic glory, that telling contribution came from the club’s wonderfully-talented young right-back.

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