West Ham United vs Liverpool. Premier League.
Free match highlights and report as West Ham leapfrog Liverpool into third in the Premier League with a stunning win; Alisson (OG), Fornals and Zouma score for West Ham; Alexander-Arnold and Origi for Liverpool; Liverpool beaten for the first time since April
Monday 8 November 2021 06:06, UK
West Ham outfought and out-thought Liverpool to leapfrog their opponents into third in the Premier League with a 3-2 victory, ending the Reds' 25-game unbeaten run.
It was the archetypal West Ham performance, punctuated with potency on the counter-attack and physicality at set-pieces, in what is turning out to be another outstanding season for David Moyes' side.
West Ham took the lead with their first attack as Pablo Fornals' corner skimmed off the glove of Alisson and into the net (4), going down as an own goal despite a VAR check for a potential foul. Moments later, Aaron Cresswell was fortunate not to see red for a studs up challenge on Jordan Henderson, also checked by VAR.
After the game, Jurgen Klopp disagreed with both decisions, saying it was a "clear foul" on Alisson for the goal, and a "reckless challenge" from Cresswell.
Liverpool dominated the ball and equalised just before the break, however, as Trent Alexander-Arnold sent a stunning free-kick into the top corner from 20 yards (41), the first-half's only shot on target.
The game opened up in the second half as Fornals put West Ham ahead again, slotting under Alisson after brilliant work from Jarrod Bowen to put him through on goal (67), although questions will be asked again of Liverpool's high defensive line.
West Ham's power was too much for Liverpool as they grabbed a third through Kurt Zouma's header from a Bowen corner (74), and although sub Divock Origi made for a nervy finish with a turn and finish (83), West Ham held on.
It is their fourth straight league victory, moving them to within just three points of leaders Chelsea, while Liverpool were beaten for the first time since early April, and the first time since March in the league.
West Ham: Fabianski (7), Johnson (7), Zouma (8), Ogbonna (6), Cresswell (6), Soucek (7), Rice (7), Fornals (8), Bowen (7), Benrahma (7), Antonio (7)
Subs: Dawson (7), Coufal (NA), Masuaku (NA)
Liverpool: Alisson (4), Alexander-Arnold (6), Van Dijk (5), Matip (5), Robertson (5), Henderson (5), Fabinho (5), Oxlade-Chamberlain (6), Jota (4), Salah (5), Mane (5)
Subs: Thiago (5), Origi (6), Minamino (NA)
Man of the match: Pablo Fornals
West Ham were ahead within just four minutes at The London Stadium as Fornals' corner looked to go straight in, over the head of Alisson. A closer look showed Alisson had in fact diverted into his own net as the ball skimmed his glove, and though VAR had a look at a potential shove by Angelo Ogbonna, the goal was given.
Jurgen Klopp looked displeased, and his mood wa not improved moments later when Cresswell went in high on Henderson. "Cresswell might have a problem," said Jamie Carragher on co-commentary, but despite another VAR review, the West Ham defender escaped without even a booking.
Liverpool were camped in West Ham's defensive third for the remainder of the first half, although the hosts left little room for manoeuvre, reducing Liverpool to half-chances.
But, after Mo Salah cleverly won a free-kick from Declan Rice on the edge of the area, Alexander-Arnold curled a fantastic effort past Lukasz Fabianski into the top corner. The one-two with Salah in the build-up was crucial, sending Fabianski one step in the wrong direction, and leaving him rooted to the spot.
There were clear chances at both ends at the beginning of the second half as Hammers sub Craig Dawson hit the crossbar from a corner, before Sadio Mane forced Fabianski into a point-blank save from a wonderful first-time volleyed ball from Andrew Robertson. A yard either side and Liverpool would have had the lead.
West Ham were unchanged from the 4-1 win against Aston Villa a week ago, with neither Vlasic nor Yarmolenko rejoining the squad.
Liverpool made four changes from the 2-2 draw with Brighton as Joel Matip, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho and Diogo Jota came in for Ibrahima Konate (bench), Naby Keita, Curtis Jones and Roberto Firmino (all injured).
As West Ham attacked, gaps appeared in their rearguard. Salah skied a half volley, but it felt like the game could go either way approaching the final quarter.
It was West Ham who got their noses in front as Bowen wriggled free of three Liverpool men, then slipped Fornals through with the visitors' high line exposed. Fornals shot early, creeping under Alisson and into the net.
By now, West Ham were counter-attacking every other minute, and despite some last-ditch Liverpool defending as they back-pedalled, the third came from another corner as Zouma headed past Alisson at the back post, unmarked from Bowen's delivery.
Since Moyes' first game back in charge of West Ham in January 2020, they have scored 32 Premier League goals from set-piece situations (excl. pens), five more than any other side.
Sub Origi halved the deficit with a fine turn and finish from the edge of the box, just seven minutes after coming on for Diogo Jota, and Mane should have equalised in stoppage-time, heading wide Alexander-Arnold's free-kick.
"David Moyes really has created something here," said Carragher on Sky Sports, with West Ham seemingly determined not to make last year's top-four challenge a one-off. They proved again they are incredibly difficult to beat, playing to all their strengths against one of the most in-form sides in Europe.
West Ham boss David Moyes: "It is a brilliant victory against a really good team. We played Thursday night too and to put in a performance with the energy to hang in at the end is great for the players.
"Liverpool have been so good with the ball, I think they have improved. We tried to shore up a bit, I didn't like a bit how we played in the second half so we did a little change and it worked. We played so well in the second half. We got three goals and on another day maybe could have got more.
"Last year we tried to get at them and they picked us off sometimes so we had to be a bit patient.
"I remember when I came everyone said the London Stadium was not the same. Everyone in football knows if you can get a team winning and trying every game you will get supporters backing you wherever. The supporters backed us today."
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp: "The first goal is a foul on the goalie. The arm goes against Alisson's arm so how can he catch the ball when someone pulls his arm away? It makes no sense. It's the typical excuse that VAR says it's not clear and obvious but then what do you need?
"What can [Alisson] do? That's why the goalie is protected in moments. If a player goes up with his arm for a goalie that's an important position of the body and if that's in the way how can he make a save?
"People will say I'm looking for excuses, I'm not. I accept we're not too good to lose football games. Today we lost it, that's not nice but I accept it. But when we speak about situations in a game you just need normal decisions from a referee. He didn't do that.
"Cresswell? For me it's a reckless challenge. Even though he touches the ball, you can't go in like that as anything can happen. You can say he touched the ball but you have to control your body.
"Those two situations were influential in the game but in the end West Ham fought for the three points. They are not responsible for the decisions the VAR made."
West Ham go to Wolves after the international fortnight at 3pm on Saturday November 20, while Liverpool host Arsenal on Saturday Night Football on November 20, live on Sky Sports Premier League.