Racy Reds Prove Too Hot To Handle For Hapless Hammers At Anfield

Match Report West Ham United

A barnstorming attacking performance from Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool saw them add to David Moyes’ Anfield misery by thrashing his West Ham United team 4-1 at the ground in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

The Reds seized the advantage in the first period through a rare goal from Germany midfielder Emre Can, a lead that they increased after the break thanks to the red-hot Mo Salah continuing his prolific form.

Roberto Firmino was next to strike for the hosts in quick succession, before substitute Michail Antonio made things interesting by pulling one back, only for Sadio Mane to wrap up the three points for the North-West club 13 minutes from time.

The emphatic triumph was enough to move the home side temporarily up a place to second, in behind runaway leaders Manchester City, while the away side fell a single spot to 13th, level on points with Huddersfield Town below, a mere three points above the drop zone.

From the start on Merseyside, Reds manager Klopp decided on three alterations to his starting Xl in the wake of their impressive away thrashing of Porto in the UEFA Champions League last week.

One of them came in defence with Croatia man Dejan Lovren seeing his pace taken up by Joel Matip, whereas, in midfield, the duo of Alexander Oxlade-Chamberlain and Emre Can came back in to take the places of skipper Jordan Henderson and Dutchman Georginio Wijnaldum.

Meanwhile, Hammers boss Moyes made just two changes to his own team a fortnight after they were last in action, defeating Watford 2-0 at the London stadium in the Premier League.

Veteran defender Patrice Evra came in to make his debut in Claret & Blue at the expense of pacey forward Michail Antonio, whilst despite three goals in four, Mexico man Javier Hernandez dropped to the bench and was replaced by the returning Manuel Lanzini.

Right from the very off in the Anfield sunshine, the hosts enjoyed the better of the play and could have and probably should have led within the first five minutes of action.

They broke down the left side in trademark style, shifting the ball from left to right, Firmino to Salah, who drifted away from James Collins and fired an effort goalward, Adrian San-Miguel somehow getting enough of a touch to push it onto the post and away to safety.

The close-call would be a sure sign of things to come in the affair, although the next to go close wasn’t a forward at all, in fact, world record defender Virgil van Dijk with an effort from a corner that was caught by the Spaniard Adrian.

At the other end, in the wake of a few more half-openings for the Merseyside outfit, the East Londoners started to threaten in an attacking sense themselves and were inches from going one up against the run of play.

A flick-on from Joao Mario played Marko Arnautovic into an excellent position on the right, the Austrian getting a looping shot off that Loris Karius managed to tip onto the bar, both teams striking the woodwork inside 20 minutes.

But, this was a momentary pause from the Liverpool pressure and after Pablo Zabaleta had scuppered a volleying chance and Mane had nodded over a great opportunity with the goal bearing down, the visiting defence were to buckle under it.

The non-stop stacking earned the league’s second-placed side a corner-kick on the right, Salah was the man to deliver and his cross found Can no more than three yards out to nod home with ease.

Adrian had been rooted to his line by the challenge of James Milner, allowing the German a semi-open goal to head into, having lost his marker debutant Evra.

It would have been two in quick succession if it wasn’t for some desperate Aaron Cresswell defender to keep Salah out at the far post in the moments that followed, the entertainers in charge.

Though much like in the early stages, Karius at the other end was kept on his toes, some neat play getting Arnautovic into a promising position, trying his luck with a swerving effort that the German desperately fingertipped over the tip of the crossbar.

That was how things would stay at half-time after an entertaining 45 minutes of end-to-end football, Moyes’ men still had a sniff with their opposition failing to finish them off, this wasn’t the case for very long, however.

He should have netted right at the start of the first-half, instead, Salah decided to do it seven minutes into the second, putting the finishing touches in a trademark Reds attack.

After a string of passes, the free-scoring Egyptian found space in the area, running and firing through the legs of Cresswell past a dumfounded Adrian, thus setting a new PL record for goals with his left foot and getting his 31st of the season in all competitions in the process.

Another “fab three” member in Firmino wasn’t letting him have the limelight for long though, as the hosts threatened to run up a cricket score in the moments that followed.

Mario gave the ball away in midfield so easily, allowing Can to play him in beyond the back four to round the onrushing Adrian and drill the ball home while audaciously looking at his teammate Mane.

Nor the Reds or the Brazilian International were laughing and celebrating for long, however, as it was game back on before the hour mark with thanks to the tactical genius of Moyes.

He introduced Antonio and with his first touches, the Three Lions man received a Cheikhou Kouyate through-ball, raced away from defenders and squeezed the ball underneath Karius.

The strike was something at least for the 3,000 travelling supporters to cheer about, each of them wearing commemorative shirt to remember the late great Bobby Moore, exactly 20 years after his untimely death from bowel cancer.

They did look to be mounting a comeback at one point, but the home defence could hold them off well enough whilst also having opportunities to seal the deal themselves at the opposite end.

Former Arsenal man Oxlade-Chamberlain sparked up the best of these to give Mane the kind of opportunity you wouldn’t expect him to miss, though his short with the goal beating own stick the post and went out of play.

Expectedly, Mane was able to avenge the miss and put any suggestion of a miraculous comeback from the visitors to sleep in the 77th minute of an entertaining encounter.

Klopp’s men threaded the ball out to Andrew Robertson, the full-back’s cross was inch-perfect to pick out Mane to steer the ball over Adrian and in off the post, sending the 50,000 odd home fans home with smiles on their faces and putting the icing on the red cake.

Moyes’ men dug in and managed to keep the score a half-respectable 4-1, his run of never winning at Anfield as a manager duly continued, although that was only his side’s third loss of 2018 in all competitions.

For Klopp, his outfit have netted nine in their last two matches with all of his fearsome front three of attackers on target once more, yet another prolific home afternoon means that they are now firmly in the running to finish second in the PL table.

Next up for them will be the visit of Newcastle United to Anfield in the Premier League next Saturday, before Porto are the visitors to north-West in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.

Meanwhile, the Hammers will have seven days to lick their wounds after this one, limbering up for a key affair in the complexion of the fight for survival in the Top-Flight at the Liberty Stadium next weekend.

Hammer of the Year: Marko Arnautovic.

About the Author

Luke Glanville
Lead Writer and Site Manager of MTJAC, Sub-Editor for the Falbros Media Group.