Premier League: Liverpool trash West Ham 4 – 1 as Salah scores twice

Mohammed Salah scored twice for Liverpool against West Ham United
Mohammed Salah scored twice for Liverpool against West Ham United

Mohamed Salah scored twice as Liverpool won comfortably at West Ham to increase the pressure on Hammers boss Slaven Bilic.

Salah put his side ahead in the first half, firing beyond keeper Joe Hart after the Hammers were caught out by a quick counter-attack.

The Reds doubled their lead soon after when Joel Matip slotted home from a corner.

Manuel Lanzini’s deft finish briefly gave the hosts hope but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s first Premier League goal for Liverpool restored their two-goal advantage before Salah’s powerful finish sealed the win.

Liverpool’s fifth Premier League win of the season keeps Jurgen Klopp’s side sixth in the table, while West Ham are 17th and just one point above the relegation zone.

West Ham’s points total of nine after 11 games matches their total over the same period in 2010-11 when they were relegated from the top flight.

Consistency key for Liverpool challenge

An inconsistent start to the season had threatened to end Liverpool’s title challenge before it had even started.

The Reds won just three of their opening nine games and a thumping 4-1 defeat at Tottenham on 22 October left them down in ninth, 12 points behind leaders Manchester City.

Liverpool’s attacking play has been outstanding at times this season but during those early games they lacked the clinical touch in the final third to round it off.

However, successive 3-0 wins against Huddersfield in the Premier League and then Maribor in the Champions League in recent weeks suggested that had perhaps been found.

With Manchester City hosting Arsenal and Chelsea entertaining Manchester United on Sunday, the trip to West Ham offered Liverpool an excellent chance to gain ground on their title rivals before their games.

It was a chance they grasped with both hands.

Against a side who had set up to try to stifle their attacking qualities, the visitors made the most of their few opportunities – something they failed to do earlier in the season – as two of their three shots on goal in the first half resulted in goals.

Sadio Mane, back in the side for the first time since the start of October after recovering from injury, highlighted why he is such an integral player for the Reds as his pace allowed Liverpool to break quickly from a West Ham corner.

The Senegal forward took the ball from the edge of his own area to the edge of the West Ham box before setting up Salah for a simple finish.

Salah the signing of the summer?

That was Salah’s fifth goal in as many games for the club and the winger is proving to be worth every penny of the £34m Liverpool paid Roma for his services in the summer.

The Egypt international’s second of the game, a neat drive across Hart into the far corner, means he has now had a hand in 15 goals in all competitions this season, more than any other Liverpool player.

The win marked the first time since August that Liverpool had recorded back-to-back wins and maintaining that sort of consistency will be crucial to their hopes of finishing in the top four.

Is there any hope for Bilic?

It has been a testing season for the West Ham manager, who on several occasions this season has reportedly been teetering on the brink of losing his job, only to oversee a result that relieved any immediate pressure.

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The Hammers avoided a fourth successive Premier League defeat by beating Huddersfield 2-0 on 11 September and last month staged a stunning fightback to beat Tottenham 3-2 in the League Cup after trailing 2-0 at half-time.

West Ham were arguably the better side for the first 20 minutes against Liverpool but defensive naivety proved their downfall.

Despite knowing the threat Mane and Salah posed on the counter, the hosts left just one defender back for the corner that led to Liverpool’s first before Matip was left unchallenged to tap in a second barely two minutes later.

And even the glimmer of hope offered by Lanzini’s goal early in the second half was quickly snuffed out as a lapse of concentration allowed the visitors to score immediately from the restart.

Against a side who had scored six goals in their previous two games and won 4-0 at London Stadium in May it was perhaps always going to be a tough task for the Hammers, but Bilic knows his situation is becoming increasingly precarious.

“The pressure mounts game by game and at this moment it is big,” Bilic told BBC Sport.

“We will see what the club will do. The club is above everyone.”

Mohamed Salah was declared Man of the match.

No home comforts for West Ham – the stats

  • Liverpool have scored eight goals in their two Premier League trips to London Stadium, the same tally as the Hammers have scored in their last nine there in the competition.
  • Since moving to London Stadium in August 2016, West Ham have lost more games at their home stadium than they have won (W9 D4 L11).
  • In fact, since the move, only Swansea (44) have conceded more goals at home in the Premier League than West Ham (41).
  • For the 14th time under Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool have scored more than four goals in a single Premier League game – only Manchester City (16) and Tottenham Hotspur (16) have done so on more occasions in this period.
  • Mohamed Salah has scored or assisted nine goals in his first 11 Premier League games for Liverpool (seven goals, two assists); only Daniel Sturridge has been directly involved in more after 11 games (10).
  • Indeed, no player has scored more goals after 11 Premier League games than the Egyptian (seven – level with team-mate Sturridge).
  • Sadio Mane assisted twice on his comeback from injury; no Liverpool player has been directly involved in more league goals since his debut in August 2016 (23 – 16 goals, seven assists).
  • Since Dimitri Payet’s departure in January, no player has been directly involved in more goals for West Ham in all competitions than Andre Ayew (16 – 10 goals, six assists); nine more than any other player.
  • Joe Hart has conceded 33 goals in 18 Premier League games against Liverpool during his career; nine more than he has let in against any other side.
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