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How Liverpool’s Unbeaten Run Came Crashing to an End Against West Ham

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Given how fragile Liverpool looked when they lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in the Spanish capital back in April, no one would have believed that Jürgen Klopp’s side was about to embark on a run of form that would see them go 25 games unbeaten in all competitions. They qualified for the Champions League after ending the 20-21 Premier League season with five successive victories, salvaging a third-place finish in the table from a campaign that had threatened to spiral out of control.

Heading to the London Stadium to face an in-form West Ham United, Liverpool had a chance to make it a club record 26 games without defeat, but it seemed written in the stars that David Moyes’ in-form Hammers should defy the English Premier League odds and deal Klopp’s men a devastating blow.

From the moment Pablo Fornals’ early corner evaded Alisson and nestled in the net, Liverpool seemed unsure of themselves. There was panic in their performance, even after Trent Alexander-Arnold had sensationally drawn them level with a pin-point free-kick, West Ham’s two second-half goals were the result of a sub-par display in every area of the pitch. The midfield was lacklustre but created enough for Divock Origi to grab a late goal which wasn’t enough to inspire a comeback.

After the match, Klopp railed at referee Craig Pawson for not giving a foul on Alisson for West Ham’s opener, or issuing a red card to Aaron Cresswell for a reckless challenge on Jordan Henderson, but the reality is that Liverpool simply wasn’t good enough on the day. Too often this season they have been exposed defensively, and at the London Stadium, they were out-battled in midfield, and both Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk were dragged out of position.

With the international break offering a chance for Liverpool to regroup ahead of their next match against Arsenal on November 20th, Klopp must make sure that the issues exposed against the Hammers are put right. Following the 2-2 draw with Brighton the previous week, from a favourable position being 2-0 up, it’s been five points dropped in their last two matches, and that won’t be good enough if Liverpool is to challenge for the Premier League title this season.

Credit must go to West Ham. The end of Liverpool’s remarkable unbeaten run is much a result of the Hammers’ fine performance as it is their own inadequacy. David Moyes has found the right formula at the club, and they are riding the crest of a wave at the moment. There was so much hunger, desire and physicality in West Ham’s display, it’s no wonder the London Stadium crowd were in such buoyant mood throughout the match. The Scottish coach is the man of the moment, and the win takes West Ham above Liverpool in the table, with Irons fans dreaming of a potential title tilt.

When Liverpool defeated Moyes’ Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford in 2014, a loss that contributed heavily to the decision to sack him a few months later, the Liverpool supporters held up a banner that proclaimed, ‘David Moyes is a footballing genius.’ Nearly eight years later, this was a semblance of personal revenge for a manager who has never been in a better place — the joyful chants of 55,000 fans ringing in his ears on a fervent East London night.

 

 

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