Liverpool strike late to end Hammers unbeaten run
Liverpool 2-1 West Ham United
West Ham United’s four-game Premier League unbeaten run came to an end at Liverpool on Saturday, as the Reds overturned an early deficit to claim a 2-1 victory.
Pablo Fornals struck for the second year in a row at Anfield to fire the visitors in front with just ten minutes on the clock, giving his side a platform from which to frustrate Liverpool.
They defended with strength and skill to limit the home side’s chances, and although Mo Salah levelled from the spot three minutes before the interval, it looked as though they would do enough to claim another creditable point.
But five minutes from time, Diogo Jota netted to give the Hammers their first taste of defeat since mid-September.
West Ham were without Michail Antonio for the first time in the Premier League this season due to injury, and Sebastien Haller was his replacement as David Moyes made one change to his starting line-up.
The Hammers took the lead early on against Manchester City last weekend, and they repeated the feat at Anfield to put the champions on the back foot.
Arthur Masuaku was given plenty of time and space to size up a cross from the left. Joe Gomez nodded clear, but only as far as Fornals, who took the ball down on his chest 15 yards out and fired past a helpless Alisson into the bottom left corner.
The Hammers were looking solid in their shape, not allowing Liverpool a shot on goal until the 25th minute, despite their dominance in possession, when Jordan Henderson placed a right footed effort just past the post from outside the box.
West Ham’s gameplan of denying the home side the space to hurt them around the box looked set to take them into the break with the lead, but three minutes before half-time, Arthur Masuaku was penalised for a foul on Salah inside the penalty area, giving Liverpool the chance to level.
Salah took the spot kick himself, drilling down the middle to make it 1-1.
The Hammers created the first opening of the second period, Masuaku streaking away down the left hand side to send a low cross into the centre. Fornals was able to get on the end of it, but had to stretch to make contact and couldn’t find the power to beat Alisson.
West Ham remained solid in their work and were beginning to win more of the second balls in home territory.
From a Haller flick-on midway through the half, it looked as though Fornals was going to make a real chance for himself as he worked his way into the box, but Andrew Robertson was in the right place to make a crucial block.
At the other end, Diogo Jota thought he had given the hosts a 77th minute lead, sweeping home after Lukasz Fabianski had produced a magnificent save to deny Sadio Mane.
Referee Kevin Friend was called across to the VAR monitor and ruled the strike out as Mane fouled Angelo Ogbonna in order to scramble the rebound to his strike partner.
Seven minutes later, though, Diogo Jota did find the crucial second goal, running through unopposed to collect fellow substitute Xherdan Shaqiri’s through ball and finish past Fabianski.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Phillips, Robertson, Jones (Shaqiri 70), Henderson, Wijnaldum, Salah (Milner 90), Firmino (Diogo Jota 70), Mane
Suba: Adrian, R.Williams, N.Williams, Minamino
Goals: Salah pen 42, Diogo Jota 85
West Ham United: Fabianski, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Coufal, Soucek, Rice, Masuaku (Lanzini 89), Bowen (Benrahma 89), Haller (Yarmolenko 74), Fornals
Subs: Randolph, Fredericks, Diop, Snodgrass
Goal: Fornals 10
Referee: Kevin Friend