Liverpool 1-0 West Ham: Five things learned as Darwin Nunez silences his doubters


    Darwin Nunez headed home the only of the game as Liverpool recorded a fourth Premier League victory of the season against West Ham. The Reds survived a late onslaught to claim all three points. Here are five things Express Sport took from the contest. 

    Darwin Nunez enjoys best performance so far

    This was Nunez’s best performance in a Liverpool shirt from the start of the game – having previously had his best moments from the bench. The Uruguayan has struggled and been inconsistent in the few months since his £65m switch from Benfica. 

    But an excellent-headed goal set the tone for a bustling performance by the Liverpool front man. He guided home Kostas Tsimikas’ cross midway through the second half. 

    Nunez could have scored a couple more goals. A speculative and dipping left-footed volley was well kept out by Lukasz Fabianski. 

    Much has been made of Nunez’s form in recent weeks but he finally appears to be finding his feet at Anfield. There is plenty of promise in how he went about his work against West Ham before his 58th-minute withdrawal.

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    4-2-2-2 formation works again

    Klopp once again opted to use the 4-2-2-2 formation that worked so well in last weekend’s win over Manchester City. Nunez and Roberto Firmino led the attack, with Salah and Fabio Carvalho in behind as inverted wingers. 

    Liverpool’s manager had endured a frustrating start to the season with his usual 4-3-3 shape. He then trialled a 4-2-3-1 but ditched it after the Reds were beaten by Arsenal earlier this month. 

    The 4-2-2-2, while slightly unconventional, has afforded Liverpool more solidity. Klopp’s side seem far harder to break down and find it easier to press through the middle of the pitch. 

    It could be a tactic that Klopp continues to adopt as Liverpool work their way back up the Premier League table. 

    Liverpool’s defensive frailties still evident

    Despite a third consecutive victory, Liverpool still seem prone to an error in their defensive third. Joe Gomez’s silly challenge in the first half presented West Ham the chance to equalise from the penalty spot – although Alisson Becker saved Jarrod Bowen’s spot-kick. 

    There was also some miscommunication between Liverpool’s defenders that led to half-chances for the visitors. Alisson and Gomez nearly gifted a goal as they both seemed to let the other take control of a cross – with Said Benrahma being allowed to volley at goal. 

    West Ham threatened several times in the final 15 minutes, with Declan Rice frequently driving through the Liverpool team. Ultimately, David Moyes’ side failed to squeeze home an equaliser. 

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    Fabio Carvalho offers excellent alternative to Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz

    Summer signing Fabio Carvalho was handed a start by Klopp due to the long-term injuries suffered by Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz. The Portugal U21 ace started on the left of the attack and performed well. 

    The 20-year-old Carvalho, an £8m arrival from Fulham, has already made an impact at Liverpool. He scored in victories over Bournemouth and Newcastle. The playmaker looks an excellent prospect and could prove to be a bargain. 

    Jurgen Klopp learns touchline behaviour lesson

    Klopp was allowed to be on the touchline for this clash, with the German still having time to respond to his FA charge for improper conduct. The Liverpool head coach was red-carded after abusing assistant referee Gary Beswick during Sunday’s win over Man City. 

    But he was back to his best behaviour against West Ham. In the second half, there was a similar challenge on Salah to the one that enraged Klopp at the weekend, but the former Borussia Dortmund tactician remained calm. 


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