Things are starting to look up for Liverpool. A 4-1 win over West Ham, led by Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, puts them level with Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal (all have one match to make up), but mostly calms the turbulent waters around the club and Jurgen Klopp, suddenly with 3 consecutive wins and four in the last five matches.
Playing away to West Ham, a club that’s doing terribly this season, and especially at home, was just what the doctor ordered for Liverpool to keep on picking up momentum, following their double wins over Maribor and 3-0 victory against Huddersfield. Liverpool’s speed up front gave them the lead through Salah, who also scored the fourth goal of the match. In between, Joel Matip added one and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored his first goal for the club, putting in his finest performance for the team, starting to make a physical, quick midfield.
This doesn’t put Liverpool back on the championship contention route, far from it. However, it keeps them in the discussion for third and fourth place, unless the manic run Manchester City and to a certain extent Manchester United are on hits a roadblock. For now, Liverpool are aiming to do well in the Champions League and secure a place there next season. With Adam Lallana still scheduled to return and a comfortable schedule ahead, Liverpool might be in a very good position once the Christmas matches begin.
On an individual note, Salah made it 8 goals since joining Liverpool from Rome, and he’s one of the leading contenders for player of the season. As frustrating as he can be with his decision making around the box, few players in this league have his combination of quickness and speed, allowing him to create surefire chances each match. When he’s able to convert, it’s a joy to watch.
Mane, who has been in and out of action recently, looked good; not his best, but he set up two goals, and gave the same amount of trouble on the opposite wing to Salah. When the two play, it allows Roberto Firmino to drop back and play more like the attacking midfielder he is. He didn’t get any assists or goals, but his passing and movement was crucial in Liverpool’s attacking game.
Finally, back to Ox, who has been almost vilified since joining the team. Arsene Wenger was never able to find out his actual position, but once Klopp doesn’t mess around with it too much and keeps him in the midfield with the option of going forward and wide, he’s a useful player to have thanks to his pace and strength. When Lallana and Coutinho are healthy he’s obviously a sub, but for a club lacking depth in recent years, especially in the midfield, this could be a pickup that ends up making the difference between success (4th place or higher) and disappointment.