Liverpool 4 West Ham 1: Salah nets again as Reds climb to second
Liverpool won an entertaining contest at Anfield to move up to second in the Premier League with a 4-1 victory over West Ham on Saturday.
Both sides struck the woodwork in the opening 15 minutes before Emre Can broke the deadlock with a close-range header, chalking up Liverpool's 100th goal of the season in all competitions.
Jurgen Klopp's side were two to the good early in the second half, Mohamed Salah's cool finish taking his tally for the season to 31.
With David Moyes having never won a game as a manager at Anfield, all the signs pointed towards the contest being over and that seemed to be all but confirmed when Roberto Firmino netted before the hour mark.
The Londoners showed some resolve and substitute Michail Antonio cut the deficit soon after coming off the bench, only for Sadio Mane to have the final say.
Liverpool will watch with interest when fellow top-four hopefuls Manchester United and Chelsea meet on Sunday, with Tottenham also in action.
Goal number 31! pic.twitter.com/QthWOw7C6p
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 24, 2018
The home side – back in top-flight action for the first time in almost a fortnight – threatened to take an early lead when Firmino pulled the ball back for Salah, whose low strike was tipped onto the post by an alert Adrian.
West Ham, for whom Patrice Evra made his debut, were then caught out by some clever movement from the Egypt international, whose touch was surprisingly found wanting as he sought to get the ball under his spell inside the area.
But it was not all one-way traffic and Loris Karius was forced into an excellent fingertip save, deflecting Marko Arnautovic's attempted lob onto the crossbar.
However, the home side – 5-0 winners over Porto in the Champions League last time out – made the breakthrough in the 29th minute when, following a flurry of corners, Can nodded Salah's delivery past Adrian, who remained rooted to his line.
goals for the season. pic.twitter.com/lgVEyw8pVM
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 24, 2018
Salah headed high and wide on the end of an excellent Andrew Robertson cross, with Klopp's men probing for a second.
Karius continued to get the better of his personal duel with Arnautovic, whose dipping strike from long distance was pushed over the top.
Liverpool emerged for the second half in determined mood and doubled their advantage when Salah stroked past Adrian following a surging run from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
A moment of madness from Adrian, who raced off his line and failed to clear the ball, allowed Firmino to slot in the third as Liverpool further asserted their dominance.
Moyes was finally given some cause for cheer when Antonio guided a measured finish into the bottom-left corner within a minute of replacing Manuel Lanzini.
However, after Mane had spurned one golden opportunity to get in on the goalscoring action when he shot against the post, the Senegalese rounded off a fine afternoon for Liverpool by diverting Robertson's square pass into the net 13 minutes from time.
Key Opta stats:
- Liverpool have scored 4+ goals in three consecutive Premier League games versus a single opponent for the first time since doing so against Norwich between 2012-13.
- David Moyes has never won against Liverpool at Anfield in all competitions as a manager (D7 L8), failing to win with Everton, Man Utd, Sunderland and now West Ham.
- Mohamed Salah has been directly involved in 31 Premier League goals this season (23 goals, 8 assists), more than any other player.
- Salah has scored 20 goals with his left foot in the Premier League this season, the most by a player in a single season in the competition's history.
- Roberto Firmino has been directly involved in 19 Premier League goals this season (13 goals, 6 assists) – his best return in a single campaign in the competition.
- Liverpool (103) are the second Premier League team to score 100+ goals in all competitions this season after Manchester City (111).