It is another Mo whose brilliance will always be synonymous with the Olympic stadium. Yet while gold medals aren’t awarded for wins in routine Premier League matches, it was Mo Salah, not Sir Mo Farah, who made them happy after 2012.
Liverpool have played here five times since West Ham joined in 2016: four wins, one draw. Salah has played in four of those games and brought his total of goals to five on the site. Coming so soon after the victory at Tottenham, it’s fair to say that Liverpool’s blip is over, with back-to-back wins against the capital’s top-ranked teams.
West Ham were on an eight-game unbeaten, six-game winning streak, but were clearly second here against an exhausted Liverpool side up front and back. No injured Sadio Mane and with Roberto Firmino paused on the bench, Liverpool were superior nonetheless. West Ham created little and once Liverpool’s goals started coming in just before the hour mark there would never be just one winner.
Mohamed Salah (C) celebrates with his teammates after scoring Liverpool’s first goal against West Ham on Sunday
Salah broke the deadlock with a nice finish after receiving the ball from Curtis Jones on the right side of the box
The Egyptian withstood a challenge before cutting inside and finding the far corner with a well-placed left-footed strike
Salah is congratulated by teammate Jordan Henderson after breaking the deadlock in the middle of the first half
MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS AND LEAGUE TABLES
WEST HAM (4-2-3-1): Fabianski 6, Coufal 6, Dawson 6.5, Ogbonna 6, Cresswell 5, Soucek 5, Rice 5, Bowen 5 (Fredericks 79, 6), Benrahma 5, Fornals 5.5 (Yarmolenko 62, 5.5), Antonio 6 (Noble 79, 6 )
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Scorers: Dawson 87
Reserve: Soucek, Rice
Director: David Moyes – 5.5
LIVERPOOL (4-3-1-2): Alisson 6, Alexander-Arnold 6.5, Phillips 7, Henderson 7.5, Robertson 6.5, Thiago 6.5, Wijnaldum 7, Milner 6.5 (Jones 57, 8), Shaqiri 7 (Firmino 69, 7), Salah 9, Origi 6.5 (Oxlade- Chambellan 80, 7)
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Scorers: Salah 57, 68, Wijnaldum 84
Director: Jürgen Klopp – 8
Arbitrator: Jonathan Moss
Reviews by Daniel Matthews
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It was a vital victory too, given that the end of this week brings Manchester City’s visit to Anfield. Pep Guardiola’s side are four points ahead with one game less, that’s true, but that’s nothing given how much of the season is left if Liverpool can strike a blow on Sunday. More and more, they also seem to be in the mood for it.
Salah’s merit is also due. He is now the first Liverpool player since Ian Rush to score more than 20 goals in all competitions in four consecutive seasons. He was the only member of Liverpool’s usual forward trinity to start, but his presence was more than enough. His goals were taken beautifully, the difference between contenders and the real deal in the upper echelons of the Premier League, given that West Ham’s recent form had seemingly catapulted them into the mix for Champions League places.
Salah’s first came after 57 minutes immediately after Jurgen Klopp introduced Curtis Jones for James Milner. The replaced man, popularly known as one of the most selfless and helpful players in the league, looked slightly unhappy. Klopp clearly thought he deserved an explanation. So he gave him one, the pair in serious conversation on the sidelines as the manager passed his logic on to him.
Behind him, a more practical demonstration began to take shape. Jones was on a rising run in the West Ham midfielder, ending in a pass exchange involving Xherdan Shaqiri and Trent Alexander-Arnold, before Jones supplied Salah. By the time he got him to his left West Ham was in trouble and Salah gently buckled him past Lukasz Fabianski in the far corner. Klopp and Milner kissed, laughing. No further word was needed.
Salah doubled the lead with a cool finish after brilliantly controlling a Xherdan Shaqiri cross into the box
Forward (R) watches his arrival weave his way past West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski and into the net
Salah walks away in celebration after scoring his second goal midway through the second half of the game
Confirmation that Liverpool were back at their best came after 68 minutes. The Liverpool second started from a West Ham corner, showcasing the former’s fierce counterattacking style, speed and precise passing. A clearance for Alexander-Arnold, a precise cross ball for Shaqiri, a splendid cross at the feet of Salah, a touch to control, the next to push the ball into the net. Simply beautiful and very Liverpool. West Ham had finished.
Now Liverpool were shaping the game as they pleased. After 84 minutes, Alexander-Arnold was involved again before Roberto Firmino – another substitute with a big impact – passed the ball to Georginio Wijnaldum to finish. Craig Dawson ran one into a poorly defended corner soon after, but it gave the score a more balanced look that didn’t reflect the game. Liverpool were in a different class here and it is suspected that those inside West Ham always suspected they might be.
When West Ham manager David Moyes bumped into old friend David Pleat on a screening mission to Tottenham on Thursday, his first ironic request was that Pleat’s Tottenham could tire a few Liverpool players for the meeting. Well, that’s the polished version anyway.
And while everything has been said jokingly, Moyes might have even smiled at the arrival of the squad sheet, confirming an injury to Mane, picked up at Tottenham and with Firmino on the bench, after giving a very energetic during an important victory. Coupled with the makeshift defensive partnership of Jordan Henderson and Nathaniel Phillips, it made this weekend a great weekend to play the champions.
Yet as the season progresses, a very obvious gap emerges between the real title contenders and those who are just having a good time. Manchester City and Liverpool are more beautiful than the others; Manchester United clings to its basques; the rest is either falling apart or too inconsistent. Imagine if Liverpool had the whole squad for this game. It was their national team tied in the Cup, and West Ham still couldn’t participate.
Georginio Wijnaldum finishes at close range after being placed in the box by teammate Roberto Firmino
Wijnaldum watches his shot make its way into the net in Premier League clash finals
The Dutch midfielder (C) celebrates with all his Liverpool teammates after putting the game to bed in the 84th minute
It was like that from the start, really. Liverpool were right the whole game and certainly had the best chance in the first half, in the last minute of regulation. Thiago Alcantara played a splendid pass that almost put Divock Origi at the near post. What a smart player Thiago is. His eyes said “square, across the perimeter of the penalty area,” his feet delivered a dangerous inswinger that Origi couldn’t target.
The striker will always be a cult Merseyside figure, for obvious reasons, and he has put in a relentless performance here occupying the West Ham defenders but, no doubt, Liverpool are dipping a bit when replacing one of their famous top three.
The opening 45 minutes set the tone for play, wit, plenty of possession from Liverpool and sweating West Ham with limited goal action. Salah got a header from a cross from Thiago who passed by after 23 minutes and soon after he held the ball well, but Shaqiri’s shot was blocked by Craig Dawson, who did not watch. back since he broke into Moyes’ side. Aaron Cresswell was equally resilient on the other side of the half, blocking a close range shot from Salah who has always been Liverpool’s main threat.
West-Ham? Their best chance came after 24 minutes when a cross from Cresswell should have been finished by Said Benrahma, but he hesitated and fell in place of Pablo Fornals, whose shot was knocked back by Andrew Robertson en route to the goal.
Moyes said it was a lesson for his players, and he’s right. West Ham’s roster of future players is lopsided, starting with a stretch against the strongest teams in the league, then a respite. They’ve been capitalizing on lately, so here’s the reality. It’s hard to see them as the top four contenders on this evidence. Liverpool have shown what it takes; and very few teams have it.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp shows his joy after watching his side progress 3-0 at the London Stadium
Scroll down to see how it all went with Sportsmail’s live runner.