Liverpool's Mohamed Salah ended his Premier League goal drought in style by scoring twice as the champions raided the capital again to crush West Ham 3-1 on Sunday; Hammers boss David Moyes: 'I thought we competed as well as we could'
Monday 1 February 2021 08:14, UK
Jurgen Klopp admits the key to Mohamed Salah's return to goalscoring form for Liverpool was his smart decision-making around West Ham's penalty area during the 3-1 win at the London Stadium on Super Sunday.
Liverpool came to life after a first half almost devoid of goalmouth action, with Salah providing two superb finishes as Klopp's side moved into third spot.
In scoring twice, Salah became the first player to score more than 20 goals in all competitions in four consecutive seasons for Liverpool since Ian Rush did so six times running from 1981-82 to 1986-87.
When asked about how the Egyptian had ended a wait of over nine hours without a Premier League goal, Klopp remarked: "He scored a goal against Tottenham... He had nothing to do with the reason it didn't count.
"The goal itself was brilliant so it was a sign that things were clicking again and today he played a super game. His passing and control was brilliant throughout and for the first goal, I don't think Fabianski could see it. It was super smart.
"For the second, there were two passes before Mo got the ball. His touch was first-class and it was a superb finish. Two outstanding goals. I'm not surprised with Mo. I work on a daily basis with him and he will always have a massive desire to score goals.
"He's a world-class player, there's no doubt about that. In the past couple of weeks when we didn't score that many, the only thing you can do when you're not scoring is to keep trying to make better decisions. Tonight, we didn't force it. He scored top-class goals.
"In recent weeks, for the first, we may have tried to shoot through the legs but we didn't force it. We were really smart."
Substitute Roberto Firmino set up Gini Wijnaldum to tap home Liverpool's third in the 84th minute before Craig Dawson replied for the hosts with a consolation goal three minutes later.
Thirteen of Liverpool's last 14 league goals have come in London, including three on Thursday at Tottenham - a victory that ended their January slump.
Klopp's side have 40 points from 21 games, four behind leaders Manchester City who they host next weekend, and the Liverpool boss added: "I'm very satisfied. It was a great game and a very professional, controlled game against a usually flying side.
"We had to be patient in the first half and we made a little adjustment at half-time offensively and in our positioning and it paid off."
James Milner was replaced by Curtis Jones in the 57th minute; a move that paid instant dividends, and Klopp revealed the conversation he had with the veteran midfielder, who appeared slightly bemused with the alteration on the touchline.
"He was not unhappy," Klopp continued. "Mili moved slightly deeper as a six alongside Gini with Thiago slightly higher. Mili's hamstring stiffened up slightly so we told him to be more controlled with more passing than running. It was clear we'd take him off but we waited for Curtis to have a proper warm up.
"I was really worried when he went for a sprint and he said 'you told me to play deeper and now you've taken me off' but then he came back and said 'good point, good decision', so all is fine!"
Jamie Redknapp told Sky Sports:
"Salah's desire, the speed, determination for that goal.
"It's 15 Premier League goals now, top scorer, but it still feels he doesn't get the love we give to some players. Maybe people perceive him as being too greedy? It's incredible. His numbers are phenomenal."
Graeme Souness told Sky Sports:
"Have you ever seen anyone greedier than him, ever?
"I sit and watch that and think that if my mate had been playing with him, if Kenny [Dalglish] had been playing with him, they would have been fighting in the dressing room after every game. He just would not tolerate it.
"But he will say at the end of his career, 'Look at my numbers.' I thought Liverpool were fabulous... they were a bit slow in the first half and there was no sparkle. They only had one of their main men up front and boy did he produce in the second half. They were two truly world-class goals.
"If ever there was a time for West Ham to beat Liverpool, it was today. They went into the game with four wins, but the storm never came. West Ham were just happy to go along with how the game went but with a makeshift team, I thought Liverpool were fabulous."
West Ham's first league defeat in seven leaves them on 35 points and David Moyes is now winless in his last 14 Premier League matches against Liverpool, losing each of the last five in a row.
The Hammers boss said: "I thought we competed as well as we could. I don't think we played as well as we could, but we tried to compete with a really good team. They were just too strong for us today.
"Liverpool are not among the teams we're challenging. We want to be challenging them in individual games but their consistency will be much greater as we've seen over recent years. They were better than us today so we can have no complaints. We've been on a great run and the players have done really well.
"We came into the game really confident, feeling that we had a chance to get something from the game, but Liverpool made it very difficult for us. Overall, I'm disappointed with losing the game but I have to move on to the next one very quickly.
"We didn't get the ball down and I thought we gave it away. We had some key players who had to do that better who didn't do it in the moments where we had it which would've given us a better chance.
"Liverpool were very good in pressing and were after us at every opportunity. We needed to show more composure and we didn't do that on enough occasions.
"There are three or four teams in the Premier League that are better than all the rest and Liverpool are in that category. I've been in the job a year now and I feel we're making steady strides. We're in a strong position but we've got a long way to go. It's time you need to build and stability but we've got a good idea of where we want to be in the future."
West Ham are away to Aston Villa on Wednesday at 8.15pm, while Liverpool host Brighton on Wednesday at 8.15pm.