EPL: West Ham United 2-0 Liverpool - Match Report
West Ham romped to a convincing win over Liverpool at home, as goals from Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll gave the Hammers a 2-0 win over the Reds. Christian Benteke had a very poor game, missing a number of chances for the visitors, as Liverpool barely mustered any competition.
Slaven Bilic made three changes to his West Ham side that won their previous game against Southampton. The big news was that Dimitri Payet was once again available for selection, and made the substitutes bench, while Andy Carroll, Manuel Lanzini and Aaron Cresswell came in to replace Mauro Zarate, Alex Song and Carl Jenkinson respectively.
Jordan Henderson’s injury forced Jurgen Klopp to alter the side that beat Sunderland in their last game of 2015, with Lucas Leiva coming in his stead. Jordan Ibe was also given a start, as he replaced Adam Lallana in the lineup.
First Half :
The last two times that West Ham had defeated Liverpool, they took an early lead, scoring inside the first three minutes. The Hammers repeated the trick, going ahead in the 10th minute. As Alberto Moreno was dispossed by a strong tackle by Michail Antonio near the corner flag, West Ham countered quickly with Enner Valencia flying down the right wing. The unmarked Equadorian produced a wonderfully measured cross for Antonio who had run the length of the pitch, to nod home from six yards, giving Slaven Bilic’s side the lead.
The Hammers nearly doubled their lead in the 17th minutes, as Lanzini found himself in space and unleashed a powerful shot that swerved wickedly in the air, but agonisingly ricocheted of the post with Simon Mignolet rooted to the spot. West Ham continued to trouble Liverpool down the flanks, as Antionio found himself on the end of a couple of crosses.
Midway through the half, a slip from James Collins appeared to have put Christian Benteke in the clear, but a poor touch from the Belgian allowed James Tomkins to make a last-ditch tackle and clear the danger. The Hammers were forced into a change in the 39th minute, as Lanzini was replaced by Pedro Obiang, having received lengthy treatment for a thigh problem.
With 5 minutes of injury time added, Liverpool nearly equalised in the first minute of injury time, as good work from Ibe allowed Roberto Firmino to lay off the ball to Emre Can, who struck a side-footed shot from 20 yards that crashed off the crossbar. West Ham withstood a final flurry of Liverpool attacks, thus going into the break with a 1-0 lead.
Second Half :
Jurgen Klopp’s message to a misfiring Liverpool seemed to have been lost in translation as Benteke conspired to miss from a good position in the box, after Moreno had found him with an accurate low cross. The Reds were made to pay minutes later, as Andy Carroll showed Benteke how it’s done, towering over Nathaniel Clyne at the far post to head home a delicious Mark Noble cross from the right wing, giving the Hammers a comfortable 2-0 lead in the 55th minute.
Jurgen Klopp responded to the setback by hooking Moreno, who was missing for both goals, replacing him with Brad Smith, while Adam Lallana came on for Roberto Firmino in the 61st minute. The Hammers faithful were given more reason to cheer minutes later as Dimitri Payet made a much awaited return, replacing Enner Valencia.
The changes didn’t change the pattern of play however, as Andy Carroll almost made it 3-0 in the 69th minutes, Simon Mignolet making an amazing save from a bullet header and saving from the rebound strike by Antonio as well. Liverpool were almost gifted a route back into the game in the 77th minute, as James Collins headed over his own bar from a dangerous free kick from Lallana.
The resulting corner cause futher agony for Jurgen Klopp’s side as a towering header by Lucas was cleared off the line by Mark Noble. Liverpool’s set-pieces were troubling West Ham, and a corner two minutes later created further chaos in the Hammers’ box, as Liverpool screamed for a penalty, mistakenly thinking that Carroll had blocked a Coutinho shot with his arm, while Kouyate and Can clashed briefly in a heated exchange.
Joe Allen and Carl Jenkinson came on for Mamadou Sakho and Michail Antonio respectively, as both sides made changes in the final ten minutes. As 3 minutes of injury time were added, the Hammers had a chance to repeat their 3-0 scoreline from Anfield in August, with Payet sending Koutaye clear, but Mignolet beat his effort clear. Joe Allen had a final chance to make it a more respectable scoreline for the visitors, but his header went over the bar.
As the final whistle blew, Slaven Bilic celebrated his side climbing above Liverpool in the table, rising to 5th in the table on 32 points while the Reds are now 2 points behind in 8th.