Match reportSalah, Nunez and Jota on target to help Liverpool see off West Ham
Liverpool maintained their excellent start to the 2023-24 Premier League season with a 3-1 victory over West Ham United at Anfield on Sunday.
The Reds went in front with 16 minutes gone when Mohamed Salah won – and duly converted – a penalty after being tripped by Nayef Aguerd inside the area.
Jarrod Bowen levelled for the visitors just before half-time, converting with a stooping header that went in off the post.
Darwin Nunez put Jürgen Klopp’s men back ahead with an hour played by deftly hooking an Alexis Mac Allister pass into the net on the volley.
And the result was put beyond doubt in the closing stages when Diogo Jota came off the bench to sweep in a Virgil van Dijk knockdown at a corner and ensure Liverpool made it 16 points from a possible 18 so far.
Liverpool made eight changes from the Europa League victory over LASK in Austria on Thursday night, with only Luis Diaz, Nunez and Van Dijk retaining their places in the starting line-up.
Liverpool: Alisson, Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Mac Allister (Endo, 88), Szoboszlai, Jones (Gravenberch, 77), Diaz (Jota, 80), Salah, Nunez (Gakpo, 80).
Unused subs: Kelleher, Konate, Elliott, Tsimikas, Quansah.
The contest got off to a lively opening at a blustery Anfield – but Liverpool required the world-class qualities of Alisson Becker to prevent them from falling behind on six minutes.
The goalkeeper produced a sublime one-handed save on his line to keep out a close-range header from Tomas Soucek after he’d been picked out in an unmarked position by Lucas Paqueta.
Moments later, Michail Antonio nodded down and well wide of the post, with Soucek himself this time supplying the delivery from the other side.
However, Liverpool went in front with 16 on the clock. Diaz and Nunez linked up superbly down the left, resulting in the former rolling a pass into the latter inside the box.
The ball bounced away from the No.9, but Salah pounced to retain possession before being tripped by Aguerd. The forward took responsibility for the resulting penalty and hammered it beyond Alphonse Areola with aplomb.
Van Dijk prodded over from a corner and Mac Allister dragged a low shot wide of the post as the Reds searched for a second before the half-hour mark.
Then, with seven minutes to go before the break, Salah was presented with a good opportunity to further the advantage when Dominik Szoboszlai and Diaz combined to play him into a shooting position, but the Egyptian swept a first-time strike a couple of yards beyond the base of the post.
At the other end, Soucek had an attempt deflected off target after a Joel Matip clearance had fallen for him inside a crowded area.
Nevertheless, West Ham did draw level in the 42nd minute via the head of Bowen, who stooped to glance a Vladimir Coufal centre in off the post from eight yards out.
Curtis Jones thought he had restored the home team’s advantage when he side-footed in from a Szoboszlai delivery, but it was ruled out following a VAR check for offside.
Nunez then had a scoop towards the near post kept out by Areola as Liverpool pressed before the half-time whistle.
The home side made an assertive opening to the second period – and saw a chance to retake the lead go begging on 53.
Salah did superbly to hold off his man on the edge of the box before rolling a pass into Nunez near the penalty spot. He spun and poked goalwards first time, but sent it wide of the upright.
But the Hammers demonstrated their threat once more when Bowen met a James Ward-Prowse corner, though, on this occasion, he headed straight into the grasp of Alisson.
Nonetheless, Liverpool’s pressure told on the hour. Mac Allister collected possession in the inside-right position of the visitors’ half and floated a sublime pass over the top into the path of Nunez’s run.
The No.9 allowed the ball to come over his shoulder before leaping to nudge the ball past Areola without it ever touching the ground.
Jones then had a deflected shot tipped over by Areola before the goalkeeper saved at the feet of Diaz inside the six-yard box.
The Reds made certain of the points late on when Jota – introduced from the bench just moments earlier – swept over the line from close range following Van Dijk’s downward header at a corner to move them outright second in the early-season Premier League standings.