Reds end Hammers' unbeaten run
Five games unbeaten in the Premier League and five unbeaten in all competitions against Liverpool, West Ham United went into Sunday’s clash against the Reds with plenty of confidence but were beaten 4-0 at London Stadium.
In their final home match of the season, Slaven Bilic’s men were outdone by Daniel Sturridge’s first half goal, two Philippe Coutinho strikes and Divock Origi’s finish as the Merseysiders strengthened their hold on fourth spot.
The first half had an end-of-season feel about it, and a relaxed opening few minutes saw West Ham have the first attempt on goal.
Jonathan Calleri did well to manoeuvre into some space in the centre of the park and, spreading it out wide for Sam Byram, the full-back lashed his effort wide of goal from a tight angle.
From then on, it was the visitors who looked the most likely, and they were inches away from making it 1-0 just ten minutes in.
A Coutinho corner from the left allowed Joel Matip a free jump in the box, but the German could only hit the woodwork as the ball cannoned back off the crossbar.
Although Edimilson Fernandes tested Simon Mignolet shortly after, Liverpool continued to press, and Coutinho was next to go close as he smashed one just over from distance.
The opener did come with ten minutes of the half remaining though, and it was England forward Sturridge who got on the scoresheet.
Floating into some space between the Hammers’ three defenders, Sturridge picked up James Milner’s precise pass and, rounding Adrian in goal, coolly slotted the ball home.
And so Liverpool led at the break, despite Andre Ayew’s chance a minute from the end – somehow, the Ghanaian could only hit the post twice three yards out with the goal at his mercy.
Jurgen Klopp’s men started the second period on top and there was soon a second.
12 minutes into the half, Georginio Wijnaldum lined up a superb volley from 20 yards and though his outrageous attempt came back off the crossbar, Coutinho was able to pick the ball up and sidefoot past Adrian from the edge of the box.
If that wasn’t game over, it soon was minutes later. There was controversy surrounding the Reds’ third goal, however.
A West Ham corner found its way to Winston Reid in the box, and the captain clearly took a whack to the face before Liverpool countered and Coutinho was eventually able to grab his second, skilfully beating two and smashing in.
And it could have been even better for Jurgen Klopp’s team shortly after as Divock Origi smashed goalwards from range and flicked the top of Adrian’s crossbar.
Things went from bad to worse on 76 minutes for the Hammers, and Origi was this time the hero for Liverpool. Adrian made a save before the ball fell to Wijnaldum, who found the Belgian, resulting in an easy finish for the striker.
4-0, and a disappointing way to end the Club’s first season in their new home.
West Ham United: Adrian, Fonte (Feghouli 55), Reid, Collins, Byram, Fernandes, Nordtveit, Cresswell, Lanzini, Ayew (Snodgrass 76), Calleri (Fletcher 55).
Subs not used: Randolph, Ogbonna, Quina, Rice.
Bookings: Collins 62
Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho (Grujic 89), Lallana (Woodburn 89), Origi, Sturridge (Lucas 86).
Subs not used: Karius, Klavan, Moreno, Alexander-Arnold.
Goals: Sturridge 35, Coutinho 57, 62, Origi 76