Liverpool moved 19 points clear at the top of the Premier League with a routine win that intensified the pressure on West Ham at the bottom of the table.
Mohamed Salah’s first-half penalty and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s composed effort after the break maintained the Reds’ relentless march towards a first top-flight title since 1990.
The result leaves the Hammers in 17th and above 18th-placed Bournemouth, and Watford in 19th, on goal difference.
Backed by a vociferous crowd inside London Stadium, David Moyes’ side had started in determined fashion, limiting Liverpool to few efforts on target.
However, Issa Diop’s foul on Divock Origi allowed Salah to put Liverpool ahead from a penalty and their first shot on target.
The Hammers did have chances to score in the second period, notably via Manuel Lanzini’s scuffed close-range shot and Robert Snodgrass’ hurried effort.
But Liverpool always looked capable of extending their advantage, with Oxlade-Chamberlain doubling their lead with a right-foot shot into the bottom left corner after good work from Jordan Henderson and Salah.
It ensured a comfortable conclusion to the evening for Jurgen Klopp’s side, who are now unbeaten in 41 Premier League matches.
Moyes’ miserable run continues
For just over 30 minutes at least West Ham gave manager Moyes hope that he could improve on his miserable record against Liverpool.
While his side fulfilled its first brief, to largely stifle their seemingly unstoppable opponents by remaining compact and deep, they offered little beyond that and looked vulnerable whenever they attacked.
And they were eventually punished when Diop was caught slightly out of position to bring down Origi.
From that moment it seemed unlikely that 56-year-old Moyes would avoid a 17th top-flight defeat to the Reds – with the Scot having now won just three times in 28 attempts.
Despite Moyes’ generally concerned demeanour, there were bright spots for West Ham, who recently posted financial losses of £27.26m and stressed that retaining their Premier League status is “an absolute necessity”.
Nineteen-year-old Jeremy Ngakia caught the eye on his debut for the club and showed that their is life beyond veteran full-back Pablo Zabaleta.
The academy product settled after displaying early nerves and played a superb pass for Lanzini to run on to during the first half as he grew into the occasion.
Efficient Liverpool win again
It is now almost impossible to ignore the huge gap at the top of the Premier League between Liverpool and their rivals that this victory only served to enhance.
But if you were, it would be the manner of this Liverpool victory that suggests they appear certainties to win the Premier League.
Like in recent victories against Tottenham, Manchester United and Wolves, Klopp’s side were far from their vintage best.
While they dominated possession they showed little end product until Salah’s penalty but it was still good enough to deliver a 23rd victory from 24 matches – taking them to 70 points before January is out.
Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez were barely troubled in defence while Jordan Henderson provided a controlling presence in midfield.
At times it appeared as though they were playing within themselves, until the moment arose for an incisive break forward, where their greater quality really showed.
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s strike was the perfect demonstration, with Henderson initiating the move from a West Ham corner before Salah’s superb outside of the boot pass bisected a couple of home defenders to send the England midfielder through on goal.
Klopp’s side have now beaten every team in the Premier League this season at least once and were serenaded from the field by the club’s jubilant and expectant fans at the final whistle.
Man of the match – Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)
‘We don’t feel as though anything is done’ – what they said
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp speaking to BBC Sport: “I’m only happy about the three points. We could have done a lot of things better. We could have passed better and defended better.
“These boys have played outstanding football throughout the season. Tonight was a normal performance.
“I have no idea [if anyone will catch us]. The first target is to get the maximum points – there are still a lot of games.
“Yes we have 70 points, an incredible number, but so many things can happen. We don’t feel as though anything is done, I promise you. We take a deep breath and then Saturday it’s Southampton.”
West Ham boss David Moyes, also to BBC Sport: “We are disappointed with the goals we conceded but not disappointed with the players’ performances.
“I hope Tomas Soucek brings us what he brought to Slavia Prague. He scores goals and plays in a couple of positions.”
Klopp’s milestone – the stats
- Liverpool have gone 41 Premier League games without defeat (W36 D5) – the third longest such run in English top-flight history behind Arsenal (49 in Oct 2004) and Nottingham Forest (42 in Nov 1978).
- Liverpool have won their last 15 Premier League games – only the fourth occasion of a team winning 15+ consecutive English top-flight games (Manchester City 18 in December 2017, Liverpool 17 in October 2019 and City 15 in August 2019).
- Liverpool have won 70 points from just 24 games in the Premier League this season – the quickest any English top-flight side has ever reached this total.
- Jurgen Klopp registered his 150th victory as Liverpool manager in all competitions (W150 D58 L39).
- Against no side has West Ham manager David Moyes lost more Premier League games than versus Liverpool (17 – level with Arsenal).
- West Ham have lost six of their last nine Premier League games at London Stadium (W1 D2).
- Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has scored more Premier League goals versus West Ham United than against any other side (3).
- Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has been directly involved in seven goals in five Premier League games against West Ham (5 goals, 2 assists).
Liverpool welcome Southampton to Anfield in the Premier League on Saturday 1 February (15:00 GMT). West Ham host Brighton in their next Premier League game, also on Saturday (15:00).
Article courtesy of BBC Sport