Diogo Jota's third straight Anfield goal in the Premier League got Liverpool out of jail with a 2-1 comeback victory against a stubborn West Ham.
For the third time in four Premier League games at Anfield this season champions Liverpool conceded first, as Pablo Fornals capitalised on a sloppy Joe Gomez clearance to guide in off the post from 12 yards (10).
But Liverpool's leveller was equally as cheap as Arthur Masuaku's needless nibble on Mo Salah in the box earned the hosts a penalty, which Salah duly converted (42).
Liverpool huffed and puffed as sub Jota saw his rebounded effort chalked off by VAR for Sadio Mane's foul on Angelo Ogbonna (77), but Jota got his chance again and converted fellow sub Xherdan Shaqiri's brilliant through ball to give Liverpool the win (85).
The win, helped over the line by a man-of-the-match performance from debutant Nat Phillips at centre-back, means Liverpool are now 63 top-flight games unbeaten at home, equalling their record from 1978 to 1980.
Liverpool: Alisson (6), Alexander-Arnold (6), Gomez (6), Phillips (8), Robertson (6), Wijnaldum (7), Henderson (6), Jones (6), Mane (6), Firmino (6), Salah (6)
Subs: Shaqiri (7), Jota (7), Milner (NA)
West Ham: Fabianski (6), Coufal (6), Balbuena (6), Ogbonna (6), Cresswell (6), Masuaku (5), Rice (6), Soucek (6), Fornals (7), Bowen (6), Haller (4)
Subs: Yarmolenko (6), Lanzini (NA), Benrahma (NA)
Man of the match: Nat Phillips
How subs helped Liverpool crawl over the line
Fireworks could be heard around Anfield during the game, a reminder of the night they lifted the title here in July, but there was little cause for celebration for the majority of the first half.
West Ham's opener was easily avoidable and came from a "catalogue of Liverpool errors", said Graeme Souness on Sky Sports, as Masuaku was handed too much space to cross on the left, before Joe Gomez's poor header clear fell kindly to Fornals.
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- How Liverpool and West Ham lined up | Match stats
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After taking a touch, the Spaniard guided a side-footed effort in off Alisson's right-hand post from 12 yards.
West Ham's compact and organised 5-4-1 kept Liverpool at bay for a large chunk thereafter, restricting them to a Jordan Henderson shot wide from range, but the hosts levelled with their first shot on target, via a gift from Masuaku.
With his back to goal on the corner of the box, Salah went down after feeling a slight kick from Masuaku, with Kevin Friend duly pointing to the spot. The in-form Salah made no mistake, smashing low down the middle for his seventh Premier League goal of the season, but West Ham boss David Moyes said after the game he was "amazed" the spot kick was given.
But it was more of the same for Liverpool for the majority of the second half as they struggled to move through the gears, and the next best chance fell to West Ham as Fornals' shot was blocked by Andrew Robertson when Jarrod Bowen was in a better position.
The introduction of Jota and Shaqiri on 70 minutes eventually swung the game in Liverpool's favour, however, but only after Jota had seen an effort ruled out for offside. After smashing home from close range following Lukasz Fabianski's save from Sadio Mane's shot, VAR recommended that Kevin Friend go to the pitchside monitor, where he spotted a foul by Mane on Ogbonna in the build-up.
But eight minutes later Jota did have his goal, found through on goal on the left of the box by Shaqiri's sublime through ball, nutmegging Fabian Balbuena on the way, as the summer signing tucked past Fabianski for the win.
Nat Phillips was preferred at centre-back, coming in for the injured Fabinho for his first Premier League appearance, while Curtis Jones also started in midfield, replacing Diogo Jota for his second Premier League start.
There was one West Ham change as the injured Michail Antonio was replaced by Seb Haller.
As limp as Liverpool were for large chunks, there were positives for the champions, particularly the performance of Phillips, who kept Haller extremely quiet and made more clearances (nine) than any other player.
What the managers said...
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp: "The way we defend - Nat Phillips, wow. I couldn't be more happy. Before the game I asked him if he's nervous, he said no, I said: 'I would be!'. Because it keeps you awake from the first second. He was confident, did his stuff, and played a really good game.
"100 per cent [on Jamie Carragher's MOTM award]. Jamie was a defender, maybe he can remember his first game for Liverpool, it's a big thing, and for a guy like Nat who is exceptionally intelligent, and was already on his way to America three years ago to study at college, now he plays tonight for Liverpool, it's really nice for him."
West Ham boss David Moyes: "I'm amazed a penalty was given for the action in the first half. I'm getting disappointed that we're going to be allowing those penalties to be given. In my eyes it's not a penalty. I'm really disappointed to be 1-0 up and for that penalty to be given.
"I thought we looked as though we could get something. I thought we did a lot of good things tonight. We weren't clinical enough two or three times. But we're doing some good things. I think we're going into games feeling as though we're in with a chance."
- Only Aston Villa in 1897-98 (17) have conceded more goals in their first seven league matches as a reigning top-flight champion than Liverpool this season (15). The Reds took 23 games to concede 15 Premier League goals last season.
- Since David Moyes' first game back in charge of West Ham in January, the Hammers have dropped more points from winning positions than any other side in the Premier League (16).
- Liverpool have conceded the first goal in three of their four home league games this season - as many times as they did in all 19 league matches at Anfield last term. Indeed, the Reds have fallen behind in three consecutive home games in the Premier League for the first time since May 2012 (four in a row).
- Only Fernando Torres in 2009-10 (eight) scored more goals in Liverpool's opening seven matches of a Premier League season than Mo Salah's seven this campaign.
- Diogo Jota is just the second player to score in all of his first three Premier League appearances for Liverpool at Anfield, after Luis Garcia in October 2004.
Live Renault Super Sunday
Liverpool now go to Atalanta in the Champions League on Tuesday night at 8pm, before going to Manchester City in the Premier League at 4.30pm on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League.
West Ham host Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday night at 8pm.