A brace from Mo Salah, and goals from Matip and Oxlade-Chamberlain earned Liverpool a crucial win away at West Ham.

The Reds were far from their scintillating best, but a convincing attacking performance enables them to head into the international break on the back of a comfortable away win and 3 points against the struggling Hammers.

Line-up and captaincy

Sadio Mané made a surprising return to the starting line-up, with the Senegalese forward recovering from his injury two weeks ahead of schedule. Daniel Sturridge dropped to the bench, despite his goal on Wednesday night.

Philippe Coutinho’s absence and a last-minute injury to skipper Jordan Henderson saw Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain being handed his first Premier League start for the Reds.

READ MORE: Mohamed Salah is the ‘signing of the summer’ according to Frank Lampard

Gini Wijnaldum was another notable starter in London, following an early exit from the pitch during the midweek Champions League fixture against NK Maribor.

Jürgen Klopp also made an interesting choice in naming Simon Mignolet as captain of the Reds for the night, in the absence of both Henderson and Milner.

Ragnar Klavan retained his place in defence while Dejan Lovren cleared a late fitness test to make it to the bench.

READ MORE: Mohamed Salah seeking further improvements despite excellent start to life at Anfield

Salah, Mané and Firmino shine; the Ox has arrived on Merseyside

Mohamed Salah opened the scoring and lit up proceedings for Liverpool early on, courtesy of being teed on by the effervescent Mané.

The Egyptian was a thorn in the Hammers’ side all through the night, pouncing on every loose pass and ready to punish them.

The Reds number 11 linked up beautifully with Mané and Firmino, with all three taking turns in tormenting West Ham’s makeshift defence, while operating with tremendous fluidity up front.

LONDON, ENGLAND – Saturday, November 4, 2017: Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s second goal was credit to Matip, who made the most of a ricochet from a Reds corner, which Joe Hart neither cleared not gathered.

Oxlade-Chamberlain started in his preferred midfield position and showed what he is capable of, given time, space and suitable coaching.

Salah’s second – another nod to his Senegalese partner in attack – came from a tight angle and deep in the second half; it sealed the win and three massive points for Klopp and co.

READ MORE: Klopp reveals why he deployed different tactics after Liverpool’s 4-1 win at West Ham

Defence continues to be unimpressive

West Ham started off brightly and could have been ahead if Ayew’s shot had gone in instead of coming off the post. That it came just 8 minutes into the game and once again exposed a fragile Liverpool defence was unnerving.

Manuel Lanzini, André Ayew and Javier Hernández troubled the Reds back-line often enough.

Alberto Moreno was a positive and Matip won some headers; however, Joe Gomez found it difficult to cope with Lanzini and was culpable for the Hammers’ goal.

Player ratings

Mignolet 5 – Captain on the night but did not have much to do. Some loose passing did nothing to get him into anyone’s good books. One occasion especially stood out, where he nearly gifted the Hammers something instead of clearing the ball.

Gomez 5 – Decent first half; bent in the box to gift Lanzini a shot in the box which lead to the West Ham goal. Almost gave away another in a similar area to the same man.

Matip 7 – Finally made the score-sheet albeit off a tap-in and not a header. Put in a good shift at centre-back and made himself tall in the second half, especially after the introduction of Andy Carroll.

Klavan 6 – Kept the ball moving and did not have too much defending to do; struggled with Chicharito’s pace initially.

Moreno 7 – Another game, another solid performance. Took every chance to make an overlapping run alongside Mané on the left flank. Also tracked back and helped with his pace to keep the Hammers attack quiet on his side.

READ MORE: Why Klopp must become more ruthless if Liverpool are to succeed this season 

Can 6 – Made a couple of bursting runs and took a hit to the face from Carroll’s elbow. Aside of that, negotiated the midfield and was not easily bypassed.

Wijnaldum 6 – Silent worker and an excellent shift, given he was almost certain to not start. Covered the length and breadth of the pitch, and retained possession well.

Oxlade-Chamberlain 8 – Announced his arrival in quite the style Liverpool fans would have hoped, scoring in his first Premier League start. Used his pace to nag the hosts’ defenders and almost assisted Salah for a goal with a lovely, lofted ball.

Salah 9 – A brace on the night meant the Egyptian has now scored 12 goals for the Reds. Could have easily had a hat-trick; enjoyed his partnership with Firmino and Mané.

Mané 8 – Two assists on your first start in almost a month – what a way to return to the team! The Senegalese forward has been missed and despite a few soft touches and cheap loss of possession, showed his importance to Klopp’s side.

Firmino 8 – As good as his attacking partners in  possession, flawless work-rate and commitment as always. Provided the ball that eventually Chamberlain scored off. Could and should have been on the score-sheet himself.

Man of the Match: Mohamed Salah

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Social Media Activist, Gym Enthusiast, Liverpool Lover, Travel and Cinema Participator. Very fortunate to be where I am today. Up the Reds!

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