West Ham v Liverpool

West Ham United boosted their Barclays Premier League survival hopes with a marvellous 3-1 home victory over Liverpool.

The Reds arrived at the Boleyn Ground in admirable form, having gone eight matches unbeaten in the league and UEFA Europa League and conceded just three goals during that span.

However, with Demba Ba leading the line with quickness, desire and no little skill, Scott Parker and Thomas Hitzlsperger working like Trojans in the midfield and Matthew Upson and James Tomkins standing firm at the back, West Ham simply overwhelmed their opponents during an outstanding first half.

With visiting skipper Steven Gerrard largely nullified by the dynamic Hitzlsperger and Ba causing untold problems for Liverpool's central defensive trio of Jamie Carragher, Martin Skrtel and Danny Wilson, Avram Grant's side dictated the tempo of the game with an imposing display featuring both patient, passing football and non-stop harrying of the highest order.

Germany international Hitzlsperger fired the first warning shots across Liverpool's bows, twice working goalkeeper Pepe Reina with well-struck efforts from distance.

It was midfield partner Parker who opened the scoring, however, with a goal of truly stunning brilliance.

The home side maintained possession in a measured manner before Upson swept a pass wide to the left touchline. From there, Parker played intricate one-twos with Lars Jacobsen and Hitzlsperger before poking an inch-perfect shot past Reina's right hand and into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

A goal to the good, confidence oozed through West Ham as the half wore on and it was something of a surprise that it took until the 45th minute for their second goal to arrive.

Ba was both creator and finisher, flicking Robert Green's long clearance to Gary O'Neil before bursting into the penalty area and diving to head the midfielder's cross powerfully beyond Reina and into the top corner.

Liverpool finally emerged from their collective inactivity after an hour when the previously anonymous Gerrard fed Luis Suarez, only for the £23m Uruguayan to see his rising shot finger-tipped wide of the post by Green.

Dalglish's side sensed an opportunity to get back into the game, spending much of the next 25 minutes camped inside the West Ham half. However, Upson, Tomkins and company repelled everything the visitors could throw at them until six minutes from time.

Frederic Piquionne had earlier passed up a clear opportunity to make it 3-0 when he headed Mark Noble's corner wide from just six yards, allowing Liverpool to dream of a late fight back.

That fight back seemed more of a reality when Suarez turned on a sixpence before seeing his low cross flick off Tomkins into the path of Academy graduate Glen Johnson, who made no mistake from close-range.

Instead of crumbling, however, the Hammers showed admirable spirit and wrapped up what could be a vital victory in added-time.

Substitute Carlton Cole was the scorer, out-muscling Skrtel before tricking his way past Carragher with a nifty step-over and blasting a low shot between Reina and his left-hand post.

The Boleyn Ground erupted with noise as Grant as his players celebrated a famous victory, but not before Green had produced one final stupendous save to deny Suarez.

"We had a good, solid game on Sunday," said captain Upson, who hailed defensive partner Tomkins. "We had a good understanding and worked off each other well. I thought in the first half we really did press them well and didn't give them opportunities to create too much space.

"If you look at our fixtures, we're going to have to beat team that people don't expect us to beat. We're running out of teams to play who are in and around us. Our points have got to come from elsewhere and we've achieved three of them."