Building on their 3-1 win at Tottenham in midweek, Liverpool kept up their revival as they put West Ham to the sword with Mohamed Salah shining in another 3-1 victory.
West Ham 1-3 Liverpool
Premier League (21), London Stadium
January 31, 2021
Salah 57′ (assist – Jones)
Salah 68′ (assist – Shaqiri)
Wijnaldum 84′ (assist – Firmino)
In the wake of an injury to Sadio Mane and with caution over Roberto Firmino‘s fitness, Jurgen Klopp switched to a 4-4-2 diamond formation in east London, with Divock Origi joining Salah up front.
Xherdan Shaqiri, in the No. 10 role, laid on an early chance for Origi, but the Belgian was unable to hit his left-footed swipe on target as he found himself off-balance.
Nat Phillips, keeping his place after a bright second-half display filling in for Joel Matip last time out, found himself in a comfortable position as West Ham played to his strengths, but the 23-year-old also showed growing nous on the ball.
There were few chances for either side in a defensive half, however, with Craig Dawson produced a strong block to keep out a powerful effort from Shaqiri.
Unsurprisingly, the half stuttered to an end with the scores poised at 0-0, but with Liverpool having dominated possession and looked the most likely to break the deadlock.
HT: West Ham 0-0 Liverpool
There were no changes for either side at the break, and the second half began with a strong challenge from Declan Rice on Jordan Henderson, with the stand-in centre-back thankfully avoiding injury.
West Ham were growing into the game as the minutes ticked by, and Michail Antonio curved a strike just wide of the post after the home side broke on the counter.
It didn’t take long for Klopp to make his first substitution, and after a frank exchange with James Milner on the touchline the veteran’s replacement, Curtis Jones, swiftly vindicated his introduction, supplying Salah for an excellent opener after a strong, head-up run.
Liverpool’s second goal was a blinder, as they devastated West Ham on the counter; Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s long ball found Shaqiri on the left, and an inch-perfect pass found Salah in the box who, despite the pace of the move, killed it and finished with world-class ease.
The third may have been even better, as a sweeping team move involving Salah, Alexander-Arnold and substitutes Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Roberto Firmino saw the Brazilian lay it on for Gini Wijnaldum to make it 3-0.
What a win that was, only tarnished by a late goal from Dawson. Now onto Brighton, as Liverpool keep putting pressure on Man City ahead of their clash next Sunday.
TIA Man of the Match: Mohamed Salah
Referee: Jonathan Moss
West Ham: Fabianski; Coufal, Dawson, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek; Bowen (Fredericks 79′), Benrahma, Fornals; Antonio (Noble 79′)
Subs not used: Martin, Diop, Johnson, Balbuena, Lanzini, Yarmolenko, Odubeko
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Henderson, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Milner (Jones 57′), Thiago; Salah, Shaqiri (Firmino 69′), Origi (Oxlade-Chamberlain 80′)
Subs not used: Kelleher, Adrian, R.Williams, N.Williams, Tsimikas, Minamino
Next Match: Brighton (H) – Premier League – Wednesday, February 3, 8.15pm (GMT)