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WEST HAM UNITED 24-02-20 PL (H)

It seems an age since our last PL home game against Southampton.  Tonight its the Hammers, who are in a spot of bother at the wrong end of the table.  They have some decent players but maybe not the sort who you would want fighting a relegation battle.  They also have Moyes as their manager which doesn't seem a good fit for a Club that used to be known for its good football.  Its only a few weeks since we played them away in a game when they parked the bus and seemed intent only on damage limitation.  It will be the same again tonight.  I saw a bit of their recent game against City and they sat very deep making it hard for City, who nevertheless found ways through their defence.  They only played with one attacker that evening, Antonio, who has only scored one goal this season!  Liverpools next few games are well spaced out and I don't see any need to rotate too heavily, apart from the Cup game at Chelsea.  The only question for me is who replaces Henderson - Keita or Oxlade Chamberlain.  My team would be:

Alisson

Trent Gomez VVD Robertson

Keita Fabinho Wijnaldum

Salah Firmino Mane

My only reason for putting Keita in ahead of Ox is that he needs game time more than Ox and this seems an ideal game to give him some.  I can't see any result other than a Liverpool win.  The only question for me is whether it will be another narrow one, with West Ham hard to break down, or an easy one, with our attackers exposing the Hammers' frailties.  I'm hoping for a reaction from the Athletico defeat and a strong performance to set us up for the next few matches.

 

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  • I don't think complacency is an issue. I think the current lack of rhythm is more to do with a reaction to the terrific effort the team put in over December and January, which included the World Club Championship. We all wondered whether that competition would affect our January performances but the team kept it going. However, after the short winter break the team has found it hard to reach the same levels. The spacing of the next few games is quite kind and hopefully we can get that missing rhythm back. I do think we have a bit of an issue with teams that park the bus and counter attack quickly and this needs addressing in the next transfer window, either through a creative player or another forward to challenge the front three..
    • I think that winter break definitely upset our rhythm but of course they needed a rest at some stage, catch 22 situation.
      • If you look at the results of the last two seasons you'll notice our best run of results always come around December, when the fixtures are the most congested. I don't think this is a coincidence. If there's two things that have become abundantly clear it's that we play better when we play regularly and we play better at a higher tempo. The winter break had interrupted our regularity of play and Henderson's absence seemed to affect our tempo so in retrospect perhaps it wasn't that surprising we struggled for sixty minutes against West Ham.
  • The next few games may be a lot more tougher. Playing bottom teams fighting to survive and complacency setting in with other 4 more wins needed. And they all want to be the first to beat Liverpool
    • Nobody said it would be easy Red and yes the next few games can be very tough, we could even lose our unbeaten run in these games but one thing we most definitely will do and that's win 4 of our remaining games and that for me is all that matter's really. Records are nice to achieve but our sole aim is to see Hendo lift that trophy and if we get all the records along with that then fantastic.
  • That game was more difficult than it should have been. If anyone doubted the value of Henderson then they only had to look at the lack of intensity for the first hour to realise what he brings us. We did step up once Ox was introduced but I think those who are writing off Keita are being premature - he still has a lot to offer, though Ox should start the next few games. We are in a run of games against teams fighting relegation and they are bound to be battling hard. Hopefully we can learn a few lessons from that game and give a better performance against Watford on Saturday.
    • In the first half West Ham tried to step up to our level while we allowed ourselves to slip down to theirs. The Anfield crowd didn't help either, there was no energy whatsoever. If I have one gripe about van Dyke as captain (and I don't have many) it's that he's a little too laid back at times. Henderson, and I suspect Milner too, would've been on the verge of combusting during that first half performance and when the tempo falls like it did it needs someone on the pitch to shake up the players, either verbally or through their own performance, like Ox did when he came on. I thought the fullbacks had a good go at injecting some energy into the game and Wijnaldum had some bright moments but we are setting ourselves up for a fall if we start that slowly in the next half a dozen games. We've been given a couple of warnings, now is not the time to take the foot off the gas, there's still a lot to play for.
      • For a team that is just about to win the Lge title for the first time in 30 years the crowd were bloody awful, iv'e heard more noise in a graveyard, it was a bit embarrassing i have to say.
        We miss hendo a hell of a lot more than some think, i say he was the main reason we didn't win the 14-15 title when he got injured, never mind Gerrards slip. Hendo is my player of the season, a fantastic captain and dare i say in the Gerrard mould?
        I also agree with you about setting ourselves up for a fall, i think a defeat is just around the corner if we carry on with the attitude we had last night, they were very laxidaisy about the game, very laid back, somebody needs to tell them they haven't won this title yet, i'm sure Klopp has.
        • Klopp's got a dilemma now. It looks like he'll use Henderson's absence to give Keita a much-needed run of games but the stats show neither Wijnaldum or Keita are providing a great deal at present in terms of assists and goals (although admittedly Wijnaldum has been chipping in with the occasional goal lately). They contribute a lot in winning the ball and tackling but in terms of attacking play they're not as front-footed as Henderson and Ox. Does Klopp continue starting Keita in the hope he'll become more productive in attack or does he start Ox who obviously gives the team more forward momentum (something needed with Henderson missing)? I'm not sure whether, on current form, a midfield of Wijnaldum, Fabinho and Keita is the best starting option against the teams we'll be facing in the near future, the stats would suggest it's not creative enough. It'll be interesting to see if Klopp persists with it as a starting three.
          • Maybe he could start with a mid of Ox, Fab and Wini for the first hour or so, try and get the game won and then bring on the likes of Keita and Minamino for some game time which they both desperately need, Milner is also an option for starting some games.
            It's a dilemma indeed but one i'm sure Klopp will sort out.
            I think the first thing he needs to do is get these players re-focused because they seemed to lack a bit of concentration on monday night, maybe that close call to a defeat is what they needed and we'll see the kind of performance that we've become accustomed to against Watford.
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