Sadio Mane was the latest Liverpool player on the sidelines as Jurgen Klopp was handed yet another injury headache. Mane is suffering from a minor muscle problem and will not be involved in this afternoon’s Premier League clash at West Ham United.

And with Roberto Firmino benched, Klopp has opted to rotate his resources with his team in the midst of a busy run of fixtures.

With Mane and Firmino not in the starting line-up, Mohamed Salah moves to a central attacking role with Divock Origi on the left and Xherdan Shaqiri on the right.

There were three changes from the side that won at Tottenham and as expected, Nat Phillips starts alongside Jordan Henderson at center-back after replacing the injured Joel Matip for the second half at Tottenham.

With Matip partnering Phillips in the center-back position meant that the Reds would receive the services of Jordan Henderson in the midfield alongside Thiago Alcantara and Gini Wijnaldum.

Whereas James Milner was in the role of a floating midfielder with the intention to offer a passion option under pressure, which might hint at a different option of attack by Jurgen Klopp, but with Milner, Klopp tried such options even before.

One could say, the start of the Reds was a tad slow, but let just see it this way – it was part of a build-up for the bigger goals.

Liverpool looked to strike gold when they dared to put the ball in behind – Shaqiri had a shot blocked after a lofted ball over the top from Henderson; Origi slid just wide after a clever pass by Thiago.

But the deadlock was not broken.

After the break, the Reds showed their intent – Trent Alexander-Arnold advanced forward, moving the ball quickly through midfield and generally looking more urgent, less content simply to sit and build. Jones replaced Milner in midfield and almost immediately went on a surge through the center, laying the ball off to his right.

At the center of the park, there was the effective presence of Henderson – his constant inspirational shouting towards his teammates and the waving of hands in front and back always instills the motivating factor and he is someone who is always selflessly willing to do what the team needs the most.

Even today he is learning every day and exploiting them to the greater interest of the team.

From the role of the right-sided midfielder in Sunderland to a more box-to-box role under Brendan Rogers to the right-sided role again under Klopp to deep-lying playmaker alongside maintaining the balance between midfield and back – Henderson has just evolved each season.

Of course, he never stepped back to lead the defence in the absence of big Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, and Fabinho.

Guess, it helped Henderson to evolve more – Nine minutes into the game, Mohamed Salah gave the ball away and West Ham advanced down the left. Salah charged back but couldn’t recover in time.

Michail Antonio was moving and was able to sling a dangerous cross into the box. Tomas Soucek rumbled into the penalty area. He didn’t have to check his stride and positioned to score the goal, but it was cleared by Henderson.

In the Premier League this season, no team has scored more often from the set-pieces, more from crosses or with more headers than West Ham, and for which that first header by Henderson against Soucek was vital to set the tempo and confidence of the Reds.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah was waiting for the gap to appear in the backline of West Ham – Substitute Jones surged through midfield and played a short pass to Salah. He hugged the ball on his left foot, used Cresswell as a screen, and curled a blistering shot into the top corner.

It was a brilliant goal and more to come, perhaps the best of the season so far.

Sixty-eight minutes into the game and Liverpool cleared a corner.

Alexander‑Arnold advanced to the left.

Xherdan Shaqiri swept it instantly to the top of the box.

Salah orchestrated a sublime and deft-touch – Liverpool were leading by 2-0.

16 minutes later, Liverpool suddenly cut through West Ham.

Firmino played a one-two with Oxlade-Chamberlain, who flicked a return pass behind his standing leg to put Firmino through on goal. He dummied to shoot and slid the ball across to give Wijnaldum a simple finish.

It was 3-0 and the match ended 3-1 in favour of the Reds.


Next week, Liverpool would meet the leader Manchester City and Klopp said, “Now we need to keep winning if we want to win the league. It’s been a really big week.”

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