Despite a late goal from Craig Dawson West Ham were outclassed by a Liverpool side determined to get back to the top of the Premier League. The Reds had already put themselves in a commanding position thanks to Mohamed Salah’s brace and a single goal from Georginio Wijnaldum.
There was no surprise inclusion of Jesse Lingard for West Ham. The loanee from Manchester United was not registered in time for the match against Liverpool. David Moyes named an unchanged side from the one that beat Crystal Palace last week.
A win for the Hammers would mean they would leapfrog their opponents into the Champions League places. Liverpool would have to be careful against the home side as their defence was lacking many first-choice players. Jurgen Klopp formed a makeshift centre-back pairing of Jordan Henderson and Nathaniel Phillips.
Earlier results helped West Ham’s fight in the league as Everton and Leicester City lost their games to bottom-half opposition. Though the closest chasing team, Tottenham, were playing Brighton later in the day.
Liverpool ended West Ham’s six game winning run with a dominant perfromance over the Hammers at the London Stadium.
Liverpool players Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum had the game’s first efforts, but both were way off target. The Hammers, however, did start the slower of the two sides and were giving too much space to the Champions.
The game quickly settled into a rhythm of the Hammers repelling Liverpool attacks. Moyes’ side were struggling to keep hold of the ball up the field. The Reds, however, were struggling to break down West Ham despite controlling the majority of the ball.
It took 23 minutes for West Ham to have their first effort on goal and it almost resulted in the opening goal. Aaron Cresswell reached the byline and cut the ball into the box. Said Benrahma couldn’t get a shot away and played it to Pablo Fornals. The Spaniard’s shot deflected off James Milner and then cleared off the line by Andrew Robertson.
After that chance, the game continued in the same fashion. Liverpool’s players were dominating the ball and West Ham resolutely defending the Red’s attacks. The Hammers did start to threaten more on the counter-attack. Michail Antonio was the target for many long-balls, but many did not stick for long. The Englishman did have a chance but headered straight at Alisson.
Liverpool started the second half the better side and almost took the lead through Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian looked sure to score from inside the six-yard box before Cresswell brilliantly blocked the effort. Moments later, Origi rattled the side-netting from a similar position to his effort in the first half.
West Ham mustered a dangerous effort 10 minutes into the second half. Craig Dawson won the ball brilliantly before setting off the counter-attack. The ball made it’s way to Antonio whose shot flashed wide of the post.
The Hammers would regret that miss immediately. Salah received the ball on the edge of the box and curled his effort through the West Ham defence and into the top corner. The assist for the goal was made by Curtis Jones who had only just entered the field of play.
After going behind Moyes made his first substitute of the game. Andriy Yarmolenko replaced the ineffective Fornals as the Hammers went in search of an equaliser. The change did put some attacking urgency into the West Ham side.
But it was Liverpool who scored next. As the Hammers went forward, they left huge gaps at the back. Following an Irons corner, the Reds only had to play two passes until the ball got to Salah in the box. The forward tapped the ball past Fabianski to double their lead.
After a deflating second goal, Moyes seemed to go for damage limiting move. Mark Noble and Ryan Fredericks replaced Antonio and Jarrod Bowen. A move that did not seem like it would inspire much of a comeback.
The move seemed to neither as Liverpool grabbed their third of the game. After a brilliant passing move, substitute Roberto Firmino squad the ball to Wijnaldum who has the simplest of finishes to kill off the game.
Despite being poor for the whole game, West Ham did at least grab themselves a consolation. Cresswell whipped in a dangerous cross from a corner reaching Dawson via a deft touch of Robertson. The defender then neatly struck the ball into the Liverpool net.
The goal would count for little as the game would end in defeat for the Hammers, the first since before Christmas. West Ham would now be keeping a close eye on Tottenham who could overtake them with a victory over Brighton.