West Ham shock Liverpool as they continue impressive form

West Ham United's Declan Rice makes a tackled on Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (left) during t

West Ham United's Declan Rice makes a tackled on Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (left) during the Premier League match at the London Stadium. - Credit: PA

The West Ham United steam-roller continues to flatten everything in its path as Liverpool discovered to their cost in this five-goal thriller at a raucous London Stadium, where the Reds’ incredible record-equalling 25-game unbeaten run in all competitions came to a dramatic end.

And to add insult to injury, the Hammers also leapfrogged the Merseysiders into third place in the Premier League table, leaving themselves just three points behind leaders Chelsea going into November’s international break.

With Remembrance Day looming, Sir Trevor Brooking had beautifully read ‘In Flanders Fields’ in honour of the fallen and, once this enthralling, entertaining encounter began, the c

West Ham United's Kurt Zouma (centre) celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game with te

West Ham United's Kurt Zouma (centre) celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game with team-mates during the Premier League match at the London Stadium. - Credit: PA

lub legend saw West Ham get off to the perfect start, when Liverpool ‘keeper Alisson palmed Pablo Fornals’ fourth-minute corner into his own net.

Trent Alexander-Arnold then levelled with an 18-yarder just ahead of the break before second-half goals from Pablo Fornals and Kurt Zouma left the Reds reeling on the ropes and, although substitute Divock Origi pulled one back, nothing was going to deny the in-form Hammers this valiant victory.

Liverpool's Fabinho (left) and West Ham United's Pablo Fornals battle for the ball during the Premie

Liverpool's Fabinho (left) and West Ham United's Pablo Fornals battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the London Stadium. - Credit: PA

West Ham had secured their place in the Europa League knock-out stages with a 2-2 draw in Genk on Thursday night and with his side kicking-off in fourth-spot - just one place and two points behind the Reds – Moyes made seven changes for the return to domestic action.

Fornals, Zouma, Tomáš Souček, Angelo Ogbonna, Jarrod Bowen, Ben Johnson and Łukasz Fabianski each returned in place of substitutes Manuel Lanzini, Vladimír Coufal, Craig Dawson, Issa Diop, Mark Noble, Arthur Masuaku and Alphonse Areola.

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Having celebrated a grand personal milestone on Thursday night, the West Ham United boss could not have asked for a better start to his 1,001st match, when Michail Antonio forced a fourth-minute corner off the retreating Virgil van Dijk.

Floating the subsequent inswinging flag-kick over from the left-hand flank, Fornals had Alisson flapping the ball into his own net under pressure from Ogbonna but with the protesting, red-faced Reds’ ‘keeper clutching at straws, a Video Assistant Referee review ruled out both a foul on the Brazilian and a handball by the Hammers defender.

It had been a dream opening to the afternoon’s proceedings for everyone in Claret & Blue and, with the Hammers now determined to defend their lead at all costs, Stuart Attwell in the VAR studio again came down in West Ham’s favour after Aaron Cresswell’s tenacious tackle on Jordan Henderson was adjudged as legal.

After receiving treatment, the Liverpool skipper did manage to return to action which is more than could be said for poor Ogbonna, who survived an awkward tumble onto his knee only to then retire with a gashed head following a collision with Diogo Jota that saw Craig Dawson step into the Stratford cauldron.

Liverpool had also secured qualification for European knockout competition in midweek and, following his side’s midweek victory over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, Jürgen Klopp had made just one switch as Andrew Robertson replaced substitute Konstantinos Tsimikas.

Certainly, as the first-half wore on, Robertson’s prodding, probing runs were starting to look more and more threatening, while Jota - having escaped scot-free for the flailing elbow that ended Ogbonna’s afternoon – met Henderson’s cross with a looping header that landed on the roof of Fabiański’s net.

With the visitors now enjoying 70% possession, Alexander-Arnold also let fly with an acrobatic 18-yarder that comfortably cleared the Polish stopper’s crossbar but that proved to be a mere range-finder.

For, five minutes before the break, the Reds right-back then tumbled to turf under pressure from the vociferously protesting Cresswell and Declan Rice and, upon playing a short free-kick to Mohamed Salah, Alexander-Arnold strolled onto the return and curled an unstoppable 18-yarder beyond the flat-footed Fabiański.

Then, in six eventful minutes of additional time, Antonio was sent clear by the hitherto anonymous Benrahma but the Hammers’ top-scorer got himself caught in a terrible tangle and the retreating Reds rearguard managed to recover the situation.

West Ham United's Jarrod Bowen (left) and Liverpool's Andrew Robertson battle for the ball during th

West Ham United's Jarrod Bowen (left) and Liverpool's Andrew Robertson battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the London Stadium. - Credit: PA

There was still time in the dying moments for Alisson to race out and tackle Benrahma, while Bowen also had a penalty appeal turned aside following van Dijk’s heavy challenge and, with the opening period now destined to end all-square, Souček was booked for felling Jota.

The second period almost had a similar start to the first when Fornals sent another corner into the danger-zone but this time the ball hit the crossbar rather than the net after Rice sent a thumping header onto the woodwork.

In reply, Sadio Mané forced a point-blank save from Fabiański and, after Dawson nodded Benrahma’s left-wing cross tamely into Alisson’s gloves, Salah uncharacteristically volleyed over from a dozen yards.

With the game electrically ebbing and flowing from end-to-end, Alexander-Arnold saw yellow for tugging back the breaking Benrahma, while Zouma brilliantly intercepted as Salah thought he was about to break clear.

Having scored at Aston Villa last Sunday, Johnson again tried his luck from range but this weekend his ambitious 30-yarder would fly wide.

On 67 minutes, though, Fornals showed the Hammers youngster the way to goal, when he collected in midfield and found the bulldozing Bowen, whose run from midfield left a quartet of Merseysiders simply chasing shadows as he carried the ball deep into visiting territory.

Releasing the now supporting Fornals at the exact moment, Bowen’s pass was inch-perfect for the Spaniard who beat Alisson with a low 18-yarder to claim his fifth goal of the campaign as the decibel levels soared throughout Stratford.

With the hungry Hammers now in hunting mode, Antonio outwitted van Dijk before slipping the ball into Fornals, whose low shot was saved by Alisson’s sliding legs and then the Jamaican international again found himself in a head-to-head with the Dutchman but this time the final shot ricocheted behind on 74 minutes.

That merely proved a momentary let-off for Liverpool, though, for when Bowen fired the consequent corner to the far post, neither man nor beast was going to stop the inrushing Zouma from powering his angled header into the net to record his first-ever goal in Claret & Blue.

That was the cue for Klopp to go for broke with two substitutions in the shape of Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi, who replaced Fabinho and Jota in quick succession and the German’s switches would, indeed, give Liverpool hope.

When the ball broke into Origi’s path off Alexander-Arnold on 83 minutes, the Reds’ replacement cleverly spun Dawson and fired a low 18-yarder beyond the diving Fabiański to reduce the deficit back to just a single goal.

Inevitably, that set up a nervy finale as the visitors desperately tried to preserve their seemingly eternal 25-match unbeaten run but with Mané somehow sending his angled, diving-header back beyond the far post and Origi nodding harmlessly into the safe clutches of Fabiański, West Ham emerged unscathed to hold on to all three points and overtake Klopp’s beaten side to go third in the table heading into the international break.

HAMMERS: Fabiański, Johnson, Cresswell, Zouma, Ogbonna (Dawson 22), Rice, Souček, Fornals, Bowen (Coufal 83), Benrahma (Masuaku 85), Antonio. Unused subs: Areola, Lanzini, Noble, Diop, Fredericks, Král.  

REDS: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Matip, Van Dijk, Fabinho (Minamino 80), Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Thiago 68), Salah, Mané, Jota (Origi 75). Unused subs: Kelleher, Konaté, Tsimikas, Phillips, Williams, Morton.

Booked: Souček (45+4), Alexander-Arnold (55).

Referee: Craig Pawson.

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