The London Stadium proves a happy hunting ground again as the goals continue to flow for Jurgen Klopp’s side…
Liverpool recorded their third consecutive victory by a three-goal margin on Saturday evening as a struggling West Ham United were shown no mercy in a 4-1 win.
The visitors, deployed in a system that fluctuated between 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1, and surprisingly featuring Sadio Mané from the off despite a month out with a hamstring injury, could have fallen behind early when André Ayew struck a post but they never looked back once the impressive Mohamed Salah rounded off a swift counter-attack in the 21st minute.
The lead was doubled three minutes later when Joël Matip poked home his first goal in a year after West Ham had failed to deal with a corner.
Further goals could easily have followed before the interval as the hosts’ lack of confidence and form became evident for all to see.
Ultimately none did and a positive half-time change by Slaven Bilic helped the beleaguered Hammers to make an improved start to the second half; leading to a clinical 55th minute finish by midfielder Manuel Lanzini.
What should have been a springboard to a period of sustained pressure in search of an equaliser lasted just 60 seconds however as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, making a first Premier League start since his £35million move from Arsenal, restored Liverpool’s two-goal lead at the second attempt.
Once again heads dropped amongst the men in claret and blue and the Merseysiders added a fourth 15 minutes from time when Salah fired an angled drive past Joe Hart.
The Egyptian’s brace means he has now scored or assisted nine goals in his first 11 Premier League outings for Liverpool – no player has previously bettered his tally of seven strikes at this stage.
It would be wrong however to single out an individual after such a fine team showing and Kop boss Jürgen Klopp was quick to compliment the collective at his post-match press conference.
“We will never know how it would have been if we don’t score the first goal,” analysed the German. “I think it was kind of an open game up until then. We had to get used to it a little bit [the new system], it was difficult for the boys to wait a little bit more for the challenge than jump always.
“We scored the first one, fantastic counter-attack. We scored the second one, our second set-piece goal in one week. I don’t think I have had that since I’ve been at Liverpool, so that’s really special. I did have two set-piece goals in one week or more, but on the other side!
“Then, 2-1 after they made a change. Andy Carroll is a threat. Each high ball he is really working hard for it. He is not the only threat, though, and we had the smallest in the box score [Lanzini] but everyone is looking at him [Carroll], so we were a step too late in the other challenge. That was our mistake, but we responded again – outstandingly good.
“It was a fantastic situation from Roberto Firmino; you thought, ‘What will he do will this ball?’ but he thought ‘Let’s run in this direction and pass the ball to Ox’. Ox had two tries and used the chance. Then the fourth one, again brilliant play of Sadio Mané and Mo Salah what a finish.
“That’s the story of the game and so far, unfortunately for us, games have not been like this often enough. But for today and this week, it is a fantastic week.”
The three points keep Liverpool in sixth heading into the international break. They return to action against Southampton at Anfield on November 18.
So that’s what both us and Klopp thought about the game, how about you? Let us know your views below…
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