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

CityPress - - Sport -

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.

PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER LEE / GETTY IM­AGES

FLY­ING For­mer Liver­pool striker Andy Car­roll flies high as he con­tests the ball with the Reds’ De­jan Lovren yes­ter­day

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