Jurgen Klopp’s team were known to perform better away from home, but poor results in December and at the turn of the year, has changed that.
West Ham took the lead as early as the ninth minute. Moreno was dispossessed far down the left flank, allowing West Ham to break away on a blisteringly quick counter-attack. Valencia flew down the wing before curling a wonderful cross over to the far post, where Antonio beat Clyne with ease before sending a bullet header into the top left-hand corner of the net.
It was a great cross from Valencia, but questions have to be asked of the Liverpool defence, who failed to close down the Ecuadorian and looked at sixes at sevens inside the penalty area.
Liverpool were then controlling the possession, and working the ball around inside the West Ham half of the pitch, but the hosts were finding it easy to sit deep and defend against the visitors, who were failing to turn their dominance of the ball into chances on goal.
This has indeed been the story of the last two seasons for the Reds, as they lacked that quality since the departure of Luis Suarez and the injuries of Daniel Sturridge.
After 27 minutes, a slip from Collins allowed a bouncing pass from Firmino to find the Belgian just outside of the West Ham penalty area. He controls the ball well before trying to penetrate the box, but his final touch was poor and takes it away from his feet, allowing Tomkins to dive in and dispossess the striker with an excellent, and vital, sliding tackle.
In injury time Can hit the crossbar! Ibe twisted and turned on the right flank before cutting the ball into the feet of Firmino. With his back to goal, the Brazilian tees up the aforementioned German, who immediately unleashed a rocket of a shot that beat Adrian before ricocheting off the crossbar.
In the second half West Ham continued to sit back, inviting wave after wave of Liverpool attack. Coutinho found the run of Moreno down the left and the Spaniard’s cutback found Benteke, who sliced his effort well wide.
On 55 minutes a proper header from Carroll did the job, as he climbed highest at the back post to thunder home Noble’s superb cross from the right. Liverpool started the second half strongly, but it’s West Ham who lead 2-0 thanks to a former Red.
West Ham should then be confused how they didn’t score when Cresswell was forward again down the left, and his cross was met by Carroll. Mignolet kept it out on the line before Antonio fell to beat the Belgian with the rebound.
Liverpool then had two good shouts for hand-ball but in real-time it wasn’t conclusive and the referee game West Ham the benefit of the doubt. Klopp took even more risk, removing Sakho at the back and pushing Lucas there.
Despite a radical change Liverpool couldn’t improve the quality from the bench since Benteke was the only available striker. Substitute Joe Allen had a free header with two minutes to go but only managed to head it over the bar.