LONDON — West Ham United showed that their place in the Premier League’s top four was fully warranted as they outmuscled Liverpool for a memorable 3-2 victory at a rocking London Stadium on Sunday.
Victory for high-flying West Ham ended Liverpool’s club record 25-match unbeaten run in all competitions and lifted them above Jurgen Klopp’s side into third place in the table.
What always looked like a tough fixture for Liverpool began badly when keeper Alisson, who endured a difficult afternoon, flapped a cross into his own goal after four minutes.
Liverpool were rarely allowed to find their usual fluency but they were level by half time thanks to a moment of magic from Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Those expecting the visitors to find another gear after the break were left disappointed as it was West Ham who took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Craig Dawson hit the bar for West Ham early in the second half as Liverpool wobbled at the back, before Pablo Fornals restored West Ham’s lead in the 66th minute before Kurt Zouma rose to head in West Ham’s third in the 74th minute.
Substitute Divock Origi gave Liverpool a lifeline with a shot on the turn in the 82nd minute and Sadio Mane should have leveled in stoppage time but the hosts clung on for a victory that would be celebrated into the night by the home fans.
West Ham’s fourth consecutive league win moves them to 23 points from 11 games with Juergen Klopp’s side one point behind them and the Hammers head into the international break just three points behind leaders Chelsea.
It was a doubly joyous day for Hammers boss David Moyes who had not tasted a league win over Liverpool for 11 years, losing 10 and drawing four in the interim period as manager of Everton, Manchester United, Sunderland and West Ham.
“I want us to challenge the teams in the top four, I do not know who they will be but I want us to challenge,” Moyes said.
“This result shows that we’re really in with a good chance of challenging.”
It was a day to forget for Liverpool, who have dropped five points in their last two league games, and especially Alisson.
The game was only four minutes old when he flapped at a Fornals corner under pressure from Angelo Ogbonna and the ball ended up in the net. He hoped for a reprieve via a VAR check but the goal was rightly allowed to stand.
Klopp was perplexed by the decision.
“The first they score is a foul on the goalkeeper, the arm goes into Alisson’s arm so how can he catch it? That makes no sense,” he said.
Liverpool were a little lucky not to be down to 10 men after Diogo Jota caught Ogbonna with his elbow, forcing the West Ham player off, although Klopp suggested West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell got away with a reckless challenge on Jordan Henderson.
But they got back into the game when Alexander-Arnold played a short free kick to Mohamed Salah who then stopped it for the English defender to curl past Lukasz Fabianski and temporarily silence the home fans.
Fabianski made a crucial save from Mane’s volley after the break and minutes later West Ham went back ahead as Fornals went clean through and beat Alisson with a low shot that the Brazilian stopper might have saved.
When Zouma headed in shortly after for his first West Ham goal, again with Alisson found wanting, it felt like the roof was coming off the former Olympic Stadium. — Reuters