A goal from Darwin Nunez earned Liverpool a narrow win over West Ham at Anfield, with Alisson among the heroes for saving a first-half penalty from Jarrod Bowen – with a little help from his friend.
Virgil van Dijk’s crafty penalty trick was spotted as Liverpool were given a major let-off by West Ham.
The Reds were looking to build on their brilliant victory over Manchester City and continue to close the gap on the early season pace-setters. And Jurgen Klopp’s side did just that with Darwin Nunez’s header the difference in a 1-0 victory.
But West Ham were more than a match for Liverpool and spurned several chances throughout the nervy encounter. The best of those opportunities fell to Jarrod Bowen after the Hammers were awarded a penalty on the stroke of half time.
The spot kick was awarded after a lengthy delay which saw referee Stuart Attwell advised to check the pitchside monitor after Joe Gomez bundled Bowen over. The decision went the way of David Moyes’s side, with the England international stepping up to take the resulting effort.
Bowen was made to wait an age as the check, subsequent protests and Alisson Becker’s delaying tactics were in play. And that wait proved pivotal as the Brazilian keeper guessed right and tipped it away.
However, it was only in the aftermath of the celebrations that Van Dijk’s role in the miss became clear. Caught on replays, the central defender can clearly be seen walking up to the penalty spot and appearing to scuff it.
It didn’t appear to have too much impact with Bowen striking the set-piece cleanly, but that didn’t stop Liverpool supporters praising Van Dijk’s intervention. “Back to being mentality monsters! We need wins,” one fan said in response. “We’ve needed more s***house for a while,” another mooted, with a third describing the incident as “proper football”.
Last season, Arsenal defender Gabriel was booked for doing the same during a game, while former Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger was also cautioned for an incident vs Liverpool.
However Bowen’s miss transpired, it was one which left West Ham full of regrets, losing a game on another night they would have got a result from. The chances kept coming for the Hammers in the closing minutes of the second half, with Alisson somehow stopping Tomas Soucek’s effort in the final moments of normal time.
Liverpool managed to hold on however and moved just four points behind the Champions League places. As for West Ham, they remained in the bottom half on 11 points from as many games.