West Ham take Liverpool down
Hammers continue their great season by cutting through Reds defence to send two headers home, leaving the visitors goalless and disappointed
Two strong headers, from Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll, were enough for West Ham to record a relatively comfortable 2-0 win over Liverpool at Upton Park yesterday. West Ham were the better side throughout and took the lead after 10 minutes, when Enner Valencia whipped in a perfect cross for Antonio to head past Simon Mignolet. There were question marks around the goal, however, and Liverpool were furious that play was allowed to continue after Antonio robbed Alberto Moreno of possession with a sliding challenge from behind in the build-up to the goal, but no foul was given.
It was almost 2-0 eight minutes later, when Manuel Lanzini picked up possession on the left flank and cut inside to look for the far corner. His effort had enough outswing to completely fool the stranded Mignolet, but it curved a bit too much and struck the post.
A couple of minutes later and the Hammers were threatening again with a swift counterattacking move that cut through the Liverpool defence. This time it was Antonio who put Valencia through down the left, but Moreno was tracking back and made a crucial sliding challenge to end the danger.
Liverpool had a chance with a clever through ball from Roberto Firmino finding Christian Benteke, but the Belgian’s second touch was heavy, allowing James Tomkins to clear.
A few minutes later and Benteke came close with a header from Moreno’s cross, which bounced off Carroll, but Adrián got down bravely to smother the ball before Firmino could poke it in, earning the Spanish goalkeeper a bloody nose for his efforts.
Liverpool then came closest to scoring in the closing stages of the first half when Emre Can hit the crossbar with a curling effort from just outside the box after some neat work from Jordon Ibe and Firmino, but the Reds went in a goal behind at the break.
Just like they did in the first half, the Hammers struck 10 minutes into the second half, and it was another great cross, this time from Mark Noble, that found Carroll. It was a perfect ball in for the former Liverpool striker, who met it with a powerful header for his third goal of the campaign.
Dimitri Payet returned to action as a second-half substitute for West Ham and was soon involved in making life difficult for Mignolet when he fed Aaron Cresswell down the left flank to cross for Carroll, forcing the Reds keeper into a superb double save from the Englishman’s initial header and Antonio’s follow-up from close range.
Liverpool almost pulled one back in the 77th minute after an Adam Lallana free kick that Collins headed behind. Ibe then took the corner, which Can flicked on towards Lucas for a close-range header, but Noble was on the line and able to clear it away from danger.
The Hammers had a chance to extend their lead in the final minute of the 90 when Payet, who was very impressive since coming on for Enner Valencia in the 64th minute, slipped it through for Cheikhou Kouyaté to blast straight at Mignolet.
Joe Allen then came close to pulling one back for Liverpool at the other end, but his header was off target.
FLYING Former Liverpool striker Andy Carroll flies high as he contests the ball with the Reds’ Dejan Lovren yesterday