Liverpool fans now have a new fiery player to root for in the £64 million Uruguayan striker who dazzled and was essential in a 1-0 victory over West Ham.‘s Reds career has officially started, as has the current Liverpool season.
The Uruguayan scored the game-winning goal on Wednesday at Anfield. His first-half header helped Liverpool defeat West Ham 1-0 for the second straight game. Nunez scored his new team’s first home goal, and that night, he had a chance to complete a hat trick, but Lukasz Fabianski stopped him twice more. Nunez fired a ferocious shot that struck the post.
The Performing Side:
Darwin Nunez: Whatever you want to say about Liverpool’s £64 million man, you don’t want to look away from him. Since the last time the Reds had a fiery Uruguayan striker to cheer for, Nunez, like Luis Suarez before him, appears to have what it takes to become a fan favorite at Anfield. And here, for the first occasion for his new team, he was the match-winner, settling an at-times tense contest with a spectacular first-half header.
Having been excellently denied by Lukasz Fabianski early on and then clattering the woodwork with another incredible, instinctive left-foot shot, Nunez may have had three or four goals in the first half. His dedication to his work has won him many new admirers, and even if his game ended rather unexpectedly early in the second half when Harvey Elliott took his place, he can look back on a successful evening.
Alisson Becker: The Kop’s yell at the conclusion said it all. They chanted, “Alisson, Alisson, Alisson.” They are aware of the significance of their Brazilian No. 1 and the enormous impact he contributed to this victory. Right before halftime, he stopped Jarrod Bowen from scoring on a penalty, preserving the Reds’ lead and securing the victory.
Alisson has taken 13 penalties in the Premier League, but only seven of them have resulted in goals. Later on in the game, he would make another significant contribution by extending himself to divert Tomas Soucek’s shot. The best goalkeeper there is.
Kostas Tsimikas: In Sunday’s victory over Manchester City, Liverpool’s starting left back was excellent, but Andy Robertson’s backup isn’t all that bad either. Tsimikas has had many chances to shine so far this season, and he most definitely took advantage of this one. The Greek international stood out in the opening period, providing a steady outlet in windy conditions. And when he finally had the chance to make a delivery, it was 22 minutes in, and Nunez scored the lone goal off his curled cross.
There were more risky shots, mostly from set pieces, but Tsimikas’ defensive play was also commendable. He fought Bowen brilliantly the entire night, seldom letting the West Ham forward have his way. Jurgen Klopp must find solace in the knowledge that he can rotate with safety in that position. Robertson came on to complete the task and will likely start at Forest on Saturday.
The Losing Side:
Jarrod Bowen: Liverpool has always been a fan of West Ham’s No. 20, and now they will like him even more. In front of the Kop, the England World Cup hopeful flubbed his lines, which would be costly for his team. To be fair, Bowen should have taken the penalty after Joe Gomez tripped him up, but he telegraphed it and Alisson was able to make a sprawling save low to his right.
His influence was minor overall because he was defeated by Tsimikas and could only muster one more shot on goal. Although Bowen is a good player, he will view this as a squandered opportunity in more ways than one.
David Moyes: This is not his territory at all. The Scotsman has managed Everton, Manchester United, Sunderland, and West Ham on 19 occasions at Anfield, yet he has lost every time. Only Sir Bobby Robson has managed in this situation more times (23 times) without experiencing victory.
Moyes believed his team had chances to win this game, especially in the final 20 minutes, but he will regret their sluggish, timid start. Liverpool had already taken the lead by the time the Hammers had woken up, and Bowen & Co.’s wastefulness left them with few real complaints.
The Defensive Side:
Alisson Becker: Early on, he made a few questionable kicks, but he saved a penalty to maintain his team ahead before halftime, and late on, he made a wonderful touch to stop Soucek.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: More than adequate for 70 minutes, but he lost steam in the final 20 when he appeared to lose his defensive composure.
Joe Gomez: It was clumsy of Bowen to concede the penalty, and it seemed to have an impact on him later. Not terrible, but not as strong as when playing Manchester City.
Virgil van Dijk: Virgil was much in charge and scored some significant headers in his own box late in the game.
Kostas Tsimikas: Excellent delivery of Nunez’s first strike, and firm defense.
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