Liverpool FC

Anatomy of a goal: Liverpool's obscene counter-attack against West Ham

Robbie Copeland
Feb 1, 2021, 5:00 PM GMT
Salah finishes off the goal of the season so far
Salah finishes off the goal of the season so far | Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
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The camera didn't cut to David Moyes after Liverpool's second goal on Sunday.

But you can be sure there was a resigned, disbelieving smile on the Scot's face when,13 seconds after his team took a corner, Liverpool doubled their lead.

In roughly the same amount of time it takes Kaveh Solhekol to say 'transfer deadline day', the Reds had cleared their lines, scaled the length of the London Stadium pitch, and stuck the ball beyond Lukasz Fabianski in the West Ham goal.

It was the type of goal that should only really exist hypothetically. The most basic principle of football boiled down and executed with superhuman precision. The antithesis of the way we're told the game should be played, but so fluid and graceful that it took the best tiki-taka football you've ever seen in your life and pulled its trousers down.

Seven touches of the ball, but every one of them was pitch perfect, and taken with intent and purpose.

Andy Robertson's header to clear.

Trent Alexander-Arnold's control to slow the ball down, set himself, and assess his options.

A glorious 50-yard raker into the open space in front of Xherdan Shaqiri.

The best cross you're ever likely to see, curving and dipping into Mohamed Salah's instep with a pace and accuracy that meant he didn't even have to break stride.

One touch to stop the ball, another to nonchalantly poke it beyond the advancing keeper.

Boom.

Don't let anyone tell you that Klopp's Liverpool are defined by high-octane, counter-pressing football. What makes them such a distinctive force is the pace with which they can cover obscene distances without any sacrifice to judgement or execution.

This goal tore West Ham apart to such an extent they looked like a CPU team on amateur difficulty. Every time they thought they'd caught up with flight of the ball, bam, it was on the move to the next player. The attack was moving too fast for them to comprehend; a consequence of the speed of thought that makes Liverpool an unstoppable force in their stride.

The retreating Andriy Yarmoleno and Vladimir Coufal didn't get the chance to decide whether to press Shaqiri on ball or cover the run of Salah. They were completely taken out of the equation - all they could do was run in the general direction of play and hope for the best.

At a time when Liverpool are struggling with their identity, it's moments like this that remind us they are still a force to be reckoned with. They may have lost their way over the festive period, but the ability to come up with moments like this? That is permanent. And more than permanent: it is truly unique to them.

Vintage Liverpool moments have been at a relative premium so far this term, but this may genuinely be the greatest few seconds of football they have produced in the Jurgen Klopp era.

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