Liverpool maintained their unbeaten streak with a 4-1 dismantling of West Ham on Saturday evening, delivering a perfect attacking performance to add further pressure to Slaven Bilic’s shoulders.
Mohamed Salah broke the deadlock for The Reds before Joel Matip got on the scoresheet for his second goal for the club after some woeful defending from a set-piece. However, the hosts battled back and reduced the deficit through Manuel Lanzini before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain restored a two-goal lead and ensured Jurgen Klopp’s side took all the spoils.
Klopp changes tactics at London Stadium
Despite being heavily criticised for his tactical stubbornness since taking up the reigns at Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp made a series of tactical adjustments for Saturday’s game, bringing in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to the midfield three while dropping Dejan Lovren and handing a surprise start to Sadio Mané.
That saw a far more attack minded Liverpool side on display, with the fluidity in formation clear for all to see. At times it was a 4-2-4, then a 4-2-2-2 and then a 3-5-2 – whatever it was it was a deviation from Klopp’s usual 4-3-3 and it did the job for The Reds. Consistency is the key now.
Mohamed Salah: Signing of the summer?
For all the complaints about how Liverpool don’t have a truly prolific striker in their ranks in comparison to their rivals, Mohamed Salah could well be their 30+ goals a season man. Scoring 12 in his last 17 represents a staggering return for the Egyptian, who’s pace and trickery proved a constant menace to the Hammers defence.
£34million looks a true bargain for Liverpool, with Salah fitting seamlessly into Jurgen Klopp’s setup. Should Liverpool finish in the top four this season, it’ll no doubt be down to Salah.
A matter of when, not if, for Slaven Bilic?
Looking at West Ham’s summer transfer business, you’d have tipped them to have a pretty good season in the Premier League. However, that’s proved to be the complete opposite with Slaven Bilic under increasing pressure with his team just a point above the relegation zone.
Saturday was largely down to tactical ineptitude for the West Ham boss, who’s decision to leave just one defender back to deal with Liverpool’s clear counter-attacking threat of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah proved detrimental to their chances of getting anything from the match. Liverpool were allowed to dictate the tempo of the game and received no real pressure in possession and questions will no doubt be raised about the attitude and commitment of Bilic’s men as a result.
It remains to be seen if Bilic gets the backing of the board or is ousted, but it does seem a matter of when, not if, his time is up.