LIVERPOOL transferred their Champions League dominance to the Premier League on Saturday, seeing off a surprisingly enterprising West Ham side.
David Moyes discounted the idea that this game was in some ways a free hit for his team in a game they weren’t expected to win, but his 5-3-2 formation boasted attacking players such as Marco Arnautovic, Manuel Lanzini and Joao Mario.
“It was a tough day, but we played a good team in form,” said Moyes.
“We’ve done quite well against the top teams since I’ve been at the club, and I thought for periods today we also did quite well.
“Liverpool were creating opportunities and with the players they have got at their disposal, they’re always going to do that.”
West Ham almost took the lead when Arnautovic evaded Virgil van Dijk before attempting an audacious chip over Loris Karius. The Liverpool goalkeeper did brilliantly to get fingertips to the ball and divert it onto the bar.
A set-piece goal gave the hosts the lead when Emre Can headed in Mohamed Salah’s corner, but more free-flowing football was to come in the second half.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain did well to knock the ball through to Salah, who took his tally to 31 in all competitions.
This has led to comparisons with Luis Suarez, whose most productive season at Anfield produced the same number of goals. Salah has plenty of time to surpass it, and looks unstoppable in front of goal.
Roberto Firmino scored the third, taking Can’s pass in his stride before evading Adrian and turning a no-look shot into the empty net in front of the Kop.
Substitute Michail Antonio pulled one back for the visitors, but Sadio Mane restored Liverpool’s three-goal cushion later in the second half.
“To get the points is very important. In this situation we all put pressure on each other with results. That is how it is,” said Reds manager Jurgen Klopp of the battle at the top of the table.
“You have no time to rest. If you waste one point it’s like, ‘wow’. All the others are flying so you have to fly as well. It is really intense for all the teams involved, for all the players involved.
“We play Chelsea late in the season, Manchester United in two weeks. Very decisive” games.
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