West Ham United 1-3 Liverpool
Mohamed Salah ended his goal drought in spectacular fashion and avoided an unwanted personal record as Liverpool beat West Ham 3-1.
The Egyptian forward had gone six Premier League matches without a goal, equaling his longest barren spell for the Reds.
But there was to be no seventh successive blank as Salah returned to form with two exquisite second-half strikes to help fire Liverpool up to third in the table.
It was West Ham who possessed the in-form striker going into the match and Michail Antonio must have been relishing the prospect of running at Liverpool’s latest makeshift defensive pairing of Jordan Henderson and Nat Phillips.
But Antonio spurned a glorious chance to make it three goals in four games moments before Salah struck. Georginio Wijnaldum added a third for the champions before Craig Dawson’s late consolation.
It was not just Liverpool’s defence that was patched up. With Sadio Mane out with a muscle injury and Roberto Firmino starting on the bench, Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri joined Salah in attack.
West Ham dealt with all three during a first half in which Liverpool had 70 per cent possession but precious little to show for it.
Salah did well to hold the ball up in the West Ham area before laying it off to Shaqiri, whose drive was bravely blocked by Dawson.
As half-time approached Thiago found Origi bearing down on goal but the forward could only poke the ball wide, before goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski held Salah’s low drive from the edge of the area – Liverpool’s first shot on target.
For West Ham, Said Benrahma had an early chance to open his account from Aaron Cresswell’s cut-back but his shot was blocked, as was the follow-up from Pablo Fornals.
Then Benrahma lofted a cross towards the far post but Antonio could only place his header into the arms of Reds keeper Alisson Becker.
After the break Salah looked primed to score when Origi got to the byline and pulled the ball back, but Cresswell came up with a crucial block.
Henderson then found Salah with a long ball but the Egyptian’s header went straight to Fabianski.
Antonio’s big chance arrived in the 55th minute when Jarrod Bowen crossed from the right, the 30-year-old taking a touch to steady himself before curling his shot inches wide.
Instead it was Salah who made the breakthrough two minutes later after substitute Curtis Jones found him lurking on the right of the area.
Salah wrapped his left foot around the ball, sending it looping over Fabianski and curling into the back of the net.
In the 68th minute Liverpool ruthlessly killed the game off with a lightning counter from a West Ham corner.
Trent Alexander-Arnold’s 60-yard pass found Shaqiri, who sprayed the ball back into the path of Salah to bury first time.
Liverpool grabbed a third when substitutes Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain combined to set up Wijnaldum for a tap-in, before Dawson struck from a corner with three minutes to go.
Today’s other Premier League results:
- Chelsea 2-0 Burnley
- Leicester City 1-3 Leeds United