Venue: London Stadium
Liverpool visited West Ham for the first time since their convincing 4-0 victory at London Stadium back in May. Klopp’s Reds have been trying to kickstart their season again after a dismal run of results in September. October was an improvement but Spurs took Liverpool apart at Wembley to put a bit of a dampener on the ‘revival’. Sadio Mané also returned to the starting eleven, ahead of schedule after his recent injury.
West Ham entered today’s game after an inconsistent start to their own season. Slaven Bilic has to be worried for his job by now. Another defeat today was sure to push him even closer to the door.
West Ham lineup (3-5-2) – Hart; Reid, Kouyate, Ogbonna; Fernandes, Obiang, Lanzini, Noble, Cresswell; Ayew, Chicharito
Subs: Adrian, Sakho, Rice, Masuaka, Haksabanovic, Carroll, Arnautovic
Liverpool lineup (4-1-2-3) – Mignolet(c); Gomez, Matip, Klavan, Moreno; Can, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Subs: Karius, Grujic, Alexander-Arnold, Solanke, Milner, Sturridge, Lovren
Liverpool came flying out of the blocks. It only took two minutes before Joe Hart was first called into action. Firmino got on the ball at the back post and tried to finish from close range, between Hart’s legs, but the England goalkeeper managed to stop it with his trailing foot. Almost the perfect start for Liverpool.
West Ham almost opened the scoring themselves in the 9th minute. A Lanzini pass from midfield took a very fortunate deflection right into the path of Ayew on the right. Mignolet was slow to close Ayew’s shot down and he lifted his effort over the ‘keeper’s body but it hit the post.
The game entered a scrappy and quiet period then until in the 21st minute when West Ham won a corner on the right. Liverpool cleared their lines and Mané broke at speed with Salah alongside him. Mané waited until the perfect moment to play Salah through on Hart’s goal and the Egyptian speedster kept his head to finish low at the near post. 1-0!
Three minutes later, it was two for the Reds. Liverpool’s corner deflected off of Noble, Hart saved it but the rebound went straight to Matip who finished into the empty net. 2-0!
Liverpool comfortably played out the rest of the first half with no real concerns. West Ham were not creating anything themselves.
Half-time: West Ham United 0 – 2 Liverpool
West Ham came out with a better attitude after the break. Bilic must have had some choice words to say in the dressing room.
In the 55th minute, they pulled one back, too. Ayew put in a cross from the right. Joe Gomez should have done better at the back post but Lanzini was able to take it down on his chest and dink a beautiful finish over Mignolet into the far corner. Great strike from Lanzini. 1-2.
Surely, West Ham were going to make a game of it now? Nope.
57 seconds, that’s what it took from the time of Lanzini’s finish before Firmino broke at West Ham, played in Oxlade-Chamberlain, his shot was saved by Hart but Ox scored the rebound. 3-1!
Lanzini almost grabbed a second goal in the 59th minute. Andy Carroll, on as a half-time sub, created trouble for the Liverpool defence and got the ball to Lanzini. His shot beat Mignolet but went just over the bar.
The atmosphere at London Stadium had improved since half-time and the fans were starting to get behind their team as they felt a glimmer of hope of a comeback.
In the 69th minute, Firmino created space for himself brilliantly, beating Ogbonna & co but he dragged his shot wide of the post.
Six minutes later, Gomez, Can and Mané combined before Mané then played a pass to Salah who had space on the left. He took aim and finished a bullet of a left-footed shot low and into the far corner. Hart hadn’t a chance. 4-1!
Milner, Solanke and Lovren all made appearances from the bench as Mané, Firmino and Oxlade-Chamberlain were rested late on.
Salah had a shot saved, Milner pulled an effort wide, and so too did Solanke. It didn’t matter. The Hammers were well and truly finished by that stage.
A 4-1 victory for Liverpool was the result as the boos rang around London Stadium at the final whistle. Another nice three points for the Reds.
Final Score: West Ham United 1 – 4 Liverpool
(xG stats by fivethirtyeight.com)