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    West Ham 0-4 Liverpool Match Report


    Liverpool moved to within three points of securing a spot in next season's Champions League after they recorded an emphatic victory over mid-table West Ham at the London Stadium.

    Two goals from Philippe Coutinho all-but sealed the vital win after Daniel Sturridge had given the visitors a half-time lead, while Divock Origi rounded off the victory with his first goal in six matches.

    It had promised to be a difficult afternoon's work for Liverpool, whose 10-point lead over Arsenal was cut to a single point the previous day, and they knew any more slip-ups would give Arsene Wenger's side the initiative in the race for the top-four.

    Sturridge, who was making his first start in the Premier League since January 2, calmed the away side's nerves after 35 minutes when he rounded West Ham goalkeeper Adrian to slot into an empty net having been spotted by Coutinho's clever through-ball.

    The Reds should have taken the lead earlier in the half when Joel Matip was found by Coutinho's pinpoint delivery from a corner but the Cameroon international headed against the underside of the crossbar from five yards.

    West Ham also had their chances, with Sam Byram nearly giving his side an early lead when he dragged an effort wide from 12 yards after his over-lapping run was picked-out by Argentine striker Jonathan Calleri.

    Despite their dominance, Liverpool only remained ahead at half-time courtesy of Andrew Ayew's candidate for miss of the season when he struck against a post from a yard out before hitting it once again when the ball rebounded to him.

    The Reds seized the initiative once again at the start of the second-half, with Adrian making three quick-fire saves to deny Divock Origi, Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum from doubling their team's slender lead.

    Jurgen Klopp's side were not to be denied a second goal, even despite Wijnaldum's thunderous effort hitting the crossbar as the hour-mark approached, as Coutinho regained possession seconds later to score a trademark virtuoso goal.

    The 24-year-old weaved past three West Ham defenders on the edge of the penalty area before finding the bottom left-hand corner of Adrian's goal with an unerring strike from 20 yards.

    There was a touch of fortune about Liverpool's third goal as referee Neil Swarbrick failed to spot Wijnaldum's handball inside his own penalty area in the build-up, which should have resulted in a West Ham penalty.

    Wijnaldum cleverly picked-out Coutinho from the subsequent counter-attack, with the Brazilian strolling past James Collins in nonchalant fashion before rifling the ball beyond Adrian from nine yards.

    Origi was initially denied a fourth goal when he struck against the crossbar from 30 yards but he finally managed to put his name on the score-sheet when he tapped home from close-range, 14 minutes from time, after Lallana's effort had been saved by Adrian.

    The emphatic victory puts Liverpool on the brink of Champions League football for the first time since 2014-15, with only three points required against Middlesbrough on Sunday in order to achieve that objective.

    The Reds could even pip Manchester City to third position if the Sky Blues lose to Watford, while a three-goal victory for Jurgen Klopp's side, coupled with a draw for City, would also guarantee the club direct entry into the Champions League.

    West Ham, meanwhile, remain in 12th-place ahead of Sunday's trip to Burnley and can realistically finish the season anywhere between 11th and 16th-position in the table.
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    Item Reviewed: West Ham 0-4 Liverpool Match Report Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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