Woeful West Ham thrashed by Liverpool
Liverpool produced a formidable display to ramp the pressure on West Ham and Slaven Bilic up to its fullest.
A brilliant counterattack from a West Ham corner saw Mohammad Salah slot past Joe Hart in the 21st minute.
The Red’s doubled their lead two minutes later after Hart palmed a Mark Noble deflection straight at Georginio Wijnaldum.
The Hammers managed to pull themselves back into the game though as Manuel Lanzini produced a sublime chip over Simon Mignolet.
But the one goal deficit barely even lasted thirty seconds. West Ham’s defence failed to deal with Roberto Firmino before he set up Oxlade Chamberlain, who scored his first goal for the club after his initial shot was saved by Hart.
Salah then added his second after being left acres of space inside the box to put the game beyond all doubt.
This puts Liverpool level on points with Arsenal & Chelsea, while West Ham remain one point outside the relegation zone.
West Ham lacking urgency
If you’d only watched the first ten minutes of this game, you’d be forgiven for being surprised at the result. For most of the opening, West Ham dominated procedings, playing some good passing football. They could’ve been ahead after a deflected Lanzini pass found Andre Ayew, but the Ghanaian striker hit the post in agonising fashion.
But as Liverpool grew into the game, the Hammers’ intensity evaporated. Liverpool ran at the Hammers as if they weren’t even there, and they offered little of an attacking threat of their own.
They did up their commitment levels in the second half and were rewarded with the early goal from Lanzini. But the lack of concentration they showed to concede their third goal seconds later was truly laughable, as they let their hard work go to waste after less than a minute.
Their defending for Liverpool’s fourth goal was equally appalling. None of the four defenders managed to pick up Salah on the right side of the box, giving him all the time in the world to take an additional touch.
All this shows the signs of a team lacking desire, organisation, and team spirit. This ultimately has to bring the team’s management into question. Slaven Bilic has been under pressure for weeks now, and you must give some credit to his board for showing loyalty to their manager. However, if his side carry on like this, there could be many a dark day ahead for the Hammers. After tonight’s showing, you feel change is almost certainly necessary if their fortunes are to do the same.
A vintage Liverpool show
It’s certainly good news for Liverpool that they’ve managed to come through against lower opposition twice in as many weeks. This is the kind of performance Jurgen Klopp will be hoping they can keep up.
Despite not coming up against much resistance, Liverpool’s attacking prowess should not be downplayed. The counterattack leading to their first goal was nothing short of sublime, with both Salah and Mane showcasing the pace that makes them such a dangerous front two.
Salah, in particular, was Liverpool’s outstanding man. His pace caused West Ham all sorts of problems and his finishing was equally fantastic. His second goal especially came from a fantastic first touch, despite having a lot of space to take it in.
Despite their positives, though, their defence was familiarly suspect throughout the match. Centre back Joe Gomez allowed Lanzini to escape him before he took a great first touch and chipped Mignolet. They also switched off to allow Andre Ayew through on goal early on, only for him to hit the post.
Liverpool will no doubt be happy with tonight’s result, and with good reason. However, they should be thankful their opponents lacked any real heart, as they could’ve been punished for silly mistakes again. With the Reds still 8 points off league leaders Manchester City, they will need to take advantage of every slip-up. This means producing more attacking performances like tonight’s and fixing their defensive frailties for good if they are to keep their title hopes alive.
Main image credit: