Published 31/01/2021 at 15:32 GMT | Updated 31/01/2021 at 22:56 GMT
Mo Salah's double helped Liverpool to a 3-1 victory at West Ham United which suggests their Premier League defence is still very much alive.
Liverpool controlled the first half without creating clear chances but the introduction of substitute Curtis Jones immediately gave the Reds an impetus as he passed to Salah in the right hand side of the box and curled inside the far post in typical fashion.
The second goal was a sublime counter-attack goal as Trent Alexander-Arnold played the ball across the field to Xherdan Shaqiri who first time curled the ball behind the West Ham defence and Salah took the ball down beautifully with his right foot before slipping past Lukasz Fabianski with his left.
In this match, this changed when Curtis Jones came on for James Milner, whose upset at coming off was quickly dissipated within a minute by the youngster’s involvement in their opening goal.
Jones’ driving runs committing defenders is a good foil for Thiago’s sublime passing, making it impossible for defenders to just sit off.
Personnel in top sides often has to evolve for them to remain dominant – midfields like Manchester United at the turn of the century and Barcelona ten years later are probably outliers in their consistent make-up - and Thiago, Jones and Henderson (when defensive availability makes this possible) could be a midfield that helps Liverpool get back to their level of last year.
'Mo Salah, world class' - Klopp raves about forward after brace
Man of the Match – Mo Salah
There was more pressure on him today with Sadio Mane injured and Firmino not fit enough to start and for the first half he was a bit of a frustrated figure as the Liverpool midfield struggled to find a way to get him clear chances.
When it mattered though, he delivered in the manner he has in each of his four seasons with Liverpool.
The first goal was the type he has scored more of than any player in Premier League history. Drawing three men to him on the right hand side of the area, he used the defenders in front of him as a shield for the goalkeeper who then could only watch as his left-footer curler nestles just inside the far post.
The second a marvellous team goal with just four perfect touches needed to bring the ball 80 yards and nestle in the West Ham net, but the third of these, from him, was the best of these bringing down Shaqiri’s forty-yard high curling ball in swirling wet and windy conditions with his right foot, gifting himself the easy task of finishing.
Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates after scoring the first goal during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Liverpool at London Stadium
57' GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Salah cuts in on his left foot and curls an effort inside the far post. Jones was twice involved in the build-up. Good substitution!
68' WHAT A GOAL! As good a counter-attack goal as you will see. Jones plays a cross-field ball for Shaqiri who hits a first time curling ball for Salah who controls sublimely and then delicately slips the ball past Fabianski.
84' GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Fantastic link up between Oxlade-Chamberlain and Firmino who unselfishly squares the ball for Wijnaldum to slot home from the centre of the six-yard box.
87' GOAL FOR WEST HAM! Finally a set piece comes through for West Ham. The corner is inadvertently flicked on by Robertson at the front post and Dawson side-foots home from six yards out.