Liverpool 1-0 West Ham: Player ratings as Darwin Nunez fires Reds to victory

Tom Gott
Nunez fired the only goal of the game
Nunez fired the only goal of the game / NIGEL RODDIS/GettyImages

Darwin Nunez netted his first Anfield goal as Liverpool secured a 1-0 victory over West Ham in the Premier League on Wednesday evening.

The Uruguayan fired the Reds into a deserved lead in a first half which also saw Jarrod Bowen miss a penalty. But Liverpool had to hold on in the second half at times as West Ham eventually grew into the contest.

Liverpool narrowly had the upper hand on proceedings early on and the first real opportunity came from Nunez 15 minutes in. With very few options available, the summer signing unleashed a ferocious dipping volley from the edge of the box that drew an excellent save out of Lukasz Fabianski.

Just over five minutes later, Nunez went one better as he found the back of the net with a nice header following an excellent Kostas Tsimikas cross.

Nunez had a good opportunity for a second almost straight from kick-off and a few more half-chances followed as Liverpool began to stamp their authority on the game, and the front-man was denied a glorious goal five minutes before the interval as he saw another superb volley fly back off the post.

On a rare foray forward for West Ham, Bowen was sent to the ground by a clumsy Joe Gomez tackle, and a penalty was given with a little help from VAR. Up stepped Bowen, but his effort was well denied by Alisson, who ensured Liverpool went into the half-time break level.

West Ham started hot in the second half, flashing more desire inside five minutes than they had shown in the first 45, and they continued to ask some half-questions of the Liverpool defence.

However, Liverpool came within inches of adding a second. Jordan Henderson's cut-back found Roberto Firmino but the in-form Brazilian saw his effort deflected wide by Aaron Cresswell.

The end-to-end second half set up a nervy final 20 minutes at Kurt Zouma nearly turned the ball into the back of his own net as he flicked a cross from Jordan Henderson onto the top of his own crossbar.

Mohamed Salah, who had been quiet for most of the game, found himself one-on-one with Fabianski late on but the Hammers stopper was quick off his line to tidy up the danger.

At the other end, Tomas Soucek found himself facing an open goal but a sensational challenge by James Milner denied what felt like a certain goal as Liverpool held on to secure another victory.

Liverpool vs West Ham player ratings

1. Liverpool (4-4-2)

Thiago Alcantara
Thiago controlled things well / Michael Steele/GettyImages

GK: Alisson - 7/10 - Some woeful passes early on but more than made up for it with an excellent penalty save.

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold - 6/10 - Looked a little uncomfortable at times but didn't do much wrong. All he needs right now.

CB: Joe Gomez - 5/10 - Lost his head towards the end of the first half. A very foolish challenge to give away the penalty.

CB: Virgil van Dijk - 6/10 - Excellent s**thousery as he scuffed the penalty spot for Bowen's effort. Not particularly busy otherwise.

LB: Kostas Tsimikas - 6/10 - An excellent cross for Nunez's opener but had more than a few shaky moments at the back.

RM: Mohamed Salah - 6/10 - Not really in the game out wide. Had the odd moment but was surprisingly quiet.

CM: Thiago - 8/10 - Controlled the tempo of the game perfectly. Some sensational passes and was more than happy to do the ugly work as well. Very impressive.

CM: Jordan Henderson - 6/10 - Guilty of the odd poor pass but was otherwise pretty impressive.

LM: Fabio Carvalho - 6/10 - Did his best to get involved by drifting all over the pitch but just couldn't figure it out.

ST: Roberto Firmino - 7/10 - Some excellent touches to try and bring those around him into the game.

ST: Darwin Nunez - 8/10 - Deserved his goal and nearly had two more screamers in the first half. Such a threat before being taken off before the hour. Would have been Player of the Match if he'd stayed on.

SUB: Fabinho (57' for Thiago) - 4/10 - Offered absolutely nothing after coming on. Found it very hard to keep up despite being the fresh man in midfield.

SUB: Harvey Elliott (57' for Carvalho) - 6/10 - Put in a real shift but joined the game at a tricky time.

SUB: Curtis Jones (57' for Nunez) - 4/10 - Looked exactly like you'd expect a player who has been out for ages would look.

SUB: Andy Robertson (81' for Tsimikas) - N/A

SUB: James Milner (81' for Firmino) - N/A

Manager: Jurgen Klopp - 6/10 - Got the most out of Nunez but now needs to figure out a way to do so without sacrificing Salah. His substitutions appeared to harm the game but they were clearly part of a medical decision.

2. West Ham (4-4-2)

Declan Rice
Rice was his team's top performer / Michael Steele/GettyImages

GK: Lukasz Fabianski - 6/10 - A few nice saves to keep the scoreline respectable in the first half. Quick off his line to deny Salah late on.

RB: Ben Johnson - 3/10 - Didn't get out to Tsimikas for the opener and looked flustered every time Nunez got anywhere near him.

CB: Thilo Kehrer - 4/10 - Uncomfortable in a central role. Nunez and Firmino's quick movement always seemed to be a second ahead of him.

CB: Kurt Zouma - 5/10 - No match for Liverpool's forwards. Looked lost without Craig Dawson next to him.

LB: Aaron Cresswell - 6/10 - Did a decent job up against Salah. A huge block to deny Firmino.

RM: Flynn Downes - 5/10 - Used the entire first half to figure out why he was playing out wide. More impactful after the break but still had a tough time of things.

CM: Declan Rice - 8/10 - Grew into the game after the break. Levels ahead of anyone who played the full 90. Changed the game completely.

CM: Tomas Soucek - 5/10 - A little too slow. Always seemed to be chasing Liverpool's midfielders.

LM: Pablo Fornals - 4/10 - Can't fault his work rate but can fault everything else. Expected so much more up against the shakiest right-back in the world at the minute.

ST: Jarrod Bowen - 6/10 - Could see him putting in a shift to try and score but never really looked like it. Wasn't the worst penalty but couldn't beat Alisson.

ST: Gianluca Scamacca - 4/10 - Got no service from anyone around him but also guilty of some poor decisions in the final third.

SUB: Said Benrahma (61' for Fornals) - 5/10 - Struggled in his position out wide but had the odd threatening moment when he got central.

SUB: Michail Antonio (74' for Downes) - 6/10 - Good energy from his cameo.

Manager: David Moyes - 5/10 - Moyes' weird 4-4-2 setup not only made West Ham look weak at the back but seemed to actively harm them going forwards. Fair play for what was evidently a decent half-time talk but the damage was already done.

Player of the Match - Declan Rice