Liverpool dramatically defeated West Ham 3-2 on Monday night to extend their winning run in the Premier League to 18 games.
It was Jurgen Klopp's side who took the lead, with Georginio Wijnaldum heading home superbly from a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross. However, sloppy marking and goalkeeping handed West Ham a quickfire equaliser just minutes later -- Issa Diop with the header this time.
Pablo Fornals then stunned Anfield after 54 minutes, finishing from close range to hand West Ham a shocking 2-1 lead. Liverpool's remarkable unbeaten run looked to be under serious threat until a disastrous mistake from Lukasz Fabianski allowed Mohamed Salah's tame effort to pass through his legs and into the net. With the game delicately poised at 2-2, it was Sadio Mane who once again came to Liverpool's rescue, tapping into an open goal after a lobbed Trent Alexander-Arnold assists, to hand the Champions elect a record-equalling win.
Whatever the outcome, Liverpool's full-backs continue to highlight their enduring importance to the side. On a frustrating evening, it was Andrew Robertson and, in particular, Alexander-Arnold, who threatened West Ham's defence the most. Alexander-Arnold ended the night with two assists, and frankly, should have had a couple of more to his name.
In addition, the grit and determination that his team showed to get back into the game late on will surely please Klopp most of all.
On another night when the European champions flattered to deceive at home, the fact that they missed good openings in the first half will be a source of massive frustration to many. Alexander-Arnold created numerous opportunities from set pieces, but the plethora of wasted chances gave hope to West Ham, who in turn punished lackadaisical Liverpool defending. Tonight's result was a let-off.
Manager rating (out of 10)
7 -- The German boss played close to his strongest XI, weakened only by the injury absence of captain Jordan Henderson. His side did underperform for much of the game, but Klopp's decision to introduce Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after an hour proved to be an inspired choice, as the home side looked much more dangerous after his introduction.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 6 -- Will certainly feel that he could have done much better with West Ham's first goal, as the former Roma man got a hand on Diop's header. He ended the game well after an improved second period, with his save from Jarrod Bowen in the closing stages a particular highlight.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 9 -- From a dead-ball situation, the young right-back is lethal. He once again proved it Monday night with a string of pinpoint corners and crosses. The Englishman ended the game with two special assists but will possibly be aggrieved to have not gotten more.
DF Joe Gomez, 5 -- The young centre-back had a game to forget, with his lacklustre marking of Diop partly responsible for West Ham's early equaliser. That was compounded by another mistake, as a miscontrolled touch almost allowed Michail Antonio to go clean through on goal.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 -- Dominant aerially at both ends of the pitch, after clattering the West Ham crossbar in the first half. However, the stand-in captain was surprisingly unfocused at times Monday night -- as his positioning for the second West Ham goal highlighted.
DF Andrew Robertson, 7 -- While not as impactful as his fellow full-back, Robertson did maintain the intensity and energy going forward that we have all become accustomed to. The Scotland captain also linked up well with Mane and Wijnaldum down the left-hand side, and played some sublime cross-field passes throughout.
MF Fabinho, 6 -- Marshalled the midfield relatively well from a deeper position, helping to control the game with accurate passing and key interceptions.
MF Naby Keita, 7 -- A mixed evening from the 25-year-old, who impressed in spells but was also guilty of conceding possession cheaply on more than one occasion. Going forward he was certainly inventive, but at times frustrating.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 7 -- Gave his side the lead just nine minutes in, heading home wonderfully well from an Alexander-Arnold cross that was played slightly behind him. However, his impact waned somewhat as the game progressed.
FW Mohamed Salah, 8 -- The Egyptian endured a tough time of it in the first half, giving the ball away frequently. Despite the difficult start, he persevered and got his just reward, as Fabianski's mistake allowed him to score yet another vital goal for his side.
FW Sadio Mane, 8 -- Always looked likely to score eventually, fresh from his match-winning exploits at Norwich. Despite missing some early chances, it was Mane who scored the ultimate poacher's goal late on to break West Ham hearts.
FW Roberto Firmino, 7 -- Ever the team player, he was once again crucial Monday night, contributing with industrious hard work and impressive link-up play. For all that Mane impressed, it was Firmino who continuously created space for his fellow forwards with intelligent movement.
MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 7 -- Replaced Keita after an hour, and instantly made Liverpool look like a more dangerous proposition. His crossing and direct running caused the Hammers all kinds of problems.
DF Joel Matip, N/R -- Came on in injury time and conceded one free kick that gave West Ham one final chance for an equaliser.