Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
Substitute Diogo Jota scored for the third straight game as Liverpool came from behind to beat in-form West Ham and go top of the Premier League table.
In an intriguing encounter, the Hammers took an early lead through Spanish midfielder Pablo Fornals’ smart finish, which clipped the post on its way in after a poor headed clearance by Joe Gomez.
That was the 15th goal Liverpool have conceded in seven games this season – as many as Chelsea let in all season on their way to the title in 2004-05.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were level shortly before half-time, Arthur Masuaku’s foul on Mohamed Salah allowing the Egypt forward to equalise from the penalty spot with Liverpool’s first attempt on target.
But the Reds, who gave a league debut to central defender Nathaniel Phillips in the absence of injured duo Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho, found it tough going.
Jota, a £41m signing from Wolves in September, netted in the 85th minute after a smart pass by fellow substitute Xherdan Shaqiri – moments after Jota had a goal disallowed for a foul.
Liverpool equalled a club record 63 league games unbeaten at Anfield set by Bob Paisley’s all-conquering side between February 1978 and December 1981.
Liverpool are back on top of the Premier League table for the first time since they ended last season as champions but they were far from their fluent best.
They are three points clear of neighbours Everton, who will return to the summit if they win at Newcastle on Sunday (14:00 GMT).
Yet question marks remain over Liverpool’s defence, which has now conceded 27 in 14 matches since Klopp’s side were confirmed Premier League champions in June.
Phillips, whose dad, Jimmy, played against Liverpool for Bolton in the 1995 League Cup final, at least provided an aerial presence, the 22-year-old making a series of headed clearances.
It was his more experienced defensive partner Gomez who was at fault for West Ham’s goal, the England centre-back heading Masuaku’s cross straight into the path of Fornals to put David Moyes’ side ahead.
Salah levelled with Liverpool’s first attempt on target after hitting his penalty straight down the middle before Jota’s introduction from the bench gave the home side a sense of urgency.
The Portugal forward had the ball in the back of the net but it was ruled out for Sadio Mane’s foul on Angelo Ogbonna after referee Kevin Friend watched a replay on the pitch side monitor.
However, Jota was not to be denied as he lashed past Fabianski in front of an empty Kop following a delightful pass by Shaqiri which split the West Ham defence. (BBC Sport)