West Ham United 1-3 Liverpool
Mohamed Salah scored a second half double as West Ham United’s eight-game unbeaten run was brought to a halt by Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.
The Premier League champions proved too strong for the Hammers at London Stadium, as Georginio Wijnaldum scored a late third to put the result beyond doubt.
Craig Dawson did pull one back in the 87th minute – his second goal in as many games – but it was a case of too little, too late for David Moyes’ men, who will look to bounce back when they travel to Aston Villa on Wednesday night.
West Ham named an unchanged line-up from the side that defeated Crystal Palace in midweek as they sought to extend their fine start to 2021.
The Reds were in no mood to let the Hammers enjoy the kind of freedom they enjoyed at Selhurst Park, however, and Jürgen Klopp’s men dominated the ball in the opening stages.
They didn’t find it easy to turn that possession into clear chances, though, with Angelo Ogbonna and Dawson blocking strikes from Thiago and Xherdan Shaqiri respectively before they could trouble Łukasz Fabiański in the Hammers goal.
The hosts’ attacking moments were limited before the break, although Pablo Fornals did have Liverpool worried with a 24th minute shot that looped up off James Milner and was heading towards goal before Andrew Robertson got in the way to nod clear.
At the other end, Liverpool’s best first-half chance fell to Divock Origi, but he couldn’t find the angle to test Fabiański after Thiago played a well-disguised pass into the near-post area.
In truth, despite Liverpool’s 70 per cent first half possession, 0-0 was the right scoreline at the break, although Aaron Cresswell needed to be alert to keep it that way four minutes after the restart, tracking Salah brilliantly to block the Egyptian’s close-range effort after Origi had crossed low from the left.
Seven minutes later, West Ham’s chance arrived. They broke at pace down the right-hand side through Jarrod Bowen, and Milner couldn’t cut out his ball to the edge of the box on the stretch. Michail Antonio collected and shot on the turn, missing Alisson’s far post by mere inches.
Liverpool breathed a sigh of relief and almost instantly took the lead. West Ham were in trouble the moment Salah received the ball from Curtis Jones in the right channel of the penalty area. Faced by Cresswell, he shifted the ball onto his left foot and found the far corner of Fabiański’s net with precision.
Within eleven minutes, Salah had made the game safe. West Ham scented an equaliser when they won a corner, but Liverpool cleared and seconds later had the ball in the home side’s net.
Salah made a searing run down the middle, and was picked out by Shaqiri’s lofted ball from the left flank. The first touch set him up and the second was the match-clincher, flicking beyond Fabiański before he had the chance to set himself.
It was a reminder of why Liverpool are the champions and the Hammers faced a tall order to get themselves back into the contest from there.
In fact, Liverpool added a late third as Wijnaldum tucked home from close range after being teed up too easily by Roberto Firmino.
Dawson pulled one back three minutes from time, controlling his finish well as Cresswell’s corner dropped to the defender inside the six-yard box, but it came too late to rescue his team’s eight-game unbeaten run.
West Ham United: Fabiański, Coufal, Dawson, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Souček, Bowen (Fredericks 79), Benrahma, Fornals (Yarmolenko 62), Antonio (Noble 79)
Subs: Martin, Johnson, Diop, Balbuena, Lanzini, Odubeko
Goal: Dawson 87
Booked: Rice, Souček
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Henderson, Robertson, Thiago, Wijnaldum, Milner (Jones 56), Shaqiri (Firmino 69), Salah, Origi (Oxlade-Chamberlain 80)
Subs: Adrián (GK), Kelleher (GK), Tsimikas, R.Williams, N.Williams, Minamino
Goals: Salah 57, 68, Wijnaldum 84
Referee: Jonathan Moss