Liverpool Light Up London Again In West Ham Win

Liverpool Light Up London Again In West Ham Win

Liverpool moved to third in the Premier League table after a 3-1 win away to West Ham United at the London Stadium.

A brace from Mohamed Salah as well as a Georginio Wijnaldum goal sent the Reds into a 3-0 lead before Craig Dawson pulled a consolation back for the hosts with only a few minutes remaining.

Jurgen Klopp elected to make three changes from the victory away to Tottenham in midweek and Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Nat Phillips came in for the injured duo of Sadio Mane and Joel Matip and the rested Roberto Firmino respectively.

The opening of the game was played in a manner telegraphed well before the match. Liverpool were in the ascendancy in terms of possession and territory and the Hammers — who started the game near the Reds in the table — sitting deep and primed to hit the visitors on the break and with set pieces.

The away team, with Jordan Henderson offering a playmaking thrust from centre half, were neat and tidy with the ball, weaving pretty patterns without ever hurting West Ham, whose disciplined 4231 formation saw them largely unthreatened as the half went on.

The closest the Reds came to working the largely redundant Łukasz Fabiański was when Salah, showing the strength of a target man, flicked a ball into the path of Shaqiri and the Swiss left fire in the box only for Dawson to deflect his effort behind for a corner.

Thiago, once again starting in a more advanced role ahead of Wijnaldum and James Milner, was influencing the game with his vision and ambitious passing and he almost manufactured a goal for Origi on the cusp of half time. The Spaniard spotted the Belgian’s run and sublimely darted a through ball into his path, but, under pressure, the forward couldn’t divert it at goal and the teams went into the break level.

West Ham started the second half in a physical fashion and Declan Rice and Tomáš Souček both picked up yellow cards for wild challenges on Liverpool players.

This approach almost bore fruit for them, though, when Dawson slid in on Origi — taking both the ball and the Belgian — and launched a counter-attack. The ball was worked wide and eventually found its way to Antonio in the box, with Milner’s attempt at an intercept just falling short. The Englishman had time to control and pick his spot, but he contrived to fire wide and squander the Hammers’ best chance.

Perhaps unnerved by the chance, Klopp hooked Milner — who wasn’t best pleased with the decision and let his manager know on the touchline — for Curtis Jones. The youngster made an immediate impact with his marauding run bringing him to the edge of the box where he worked the ball to Salah. The Egyptian took a touch and deftly lifted the ball into the opposite top corner with a finish of sublime proportions.

Looking for an equaliser, West Ham committed more men forward to a corner than they might have otherwise. When the set-piece was cleared, the home team were exposed on the break and Liverpool duly filleted them on the counter. A wondrous Trent Alexander Arnold pass found Shaqiri just over the halfway line. Then the Switzerland international went one better and curled a spellbinding cross into the path of Salah. With a gorgeously soft first touch, the number 11 set himself for a shot and then coolly lifted the ball over Fabianski for 2-0. It was as good a counter-attacking goal as you will see anywhere.

With their tails up, the Reds were playing with a swagger and this was seen in all its glory in their third goal. A patient attacking move saw replacements Firmino and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain combine beautifully in the box. The former Arsenal man deftly backheeled a pass into the path of the Brazilian who then squared for Wijnaldum to tap into the net. It was exhibition football from the visitors, whose goal drought feels like a million years ago.

West Ham did pull one back through Dawson, whose low strike from a corner beat Alisson, but Liverpool deservedly claimed all three points.

Liverpool team: Alisson; Alexander Arnold, Phillips, Henderson; Robertson; Wijnaldum, Milner, Thiago; Origi, Shaqiri, Salah.

Replacements: Oxlade Chamberlain for Origi, Firmino for Shaqiri, Jones for Milner.

Subs not used: Adrian, Kelleher, Tsimikas, Williams, Williams, Minamino.