Liverpool put on a show at Anfield

Liverpool put on a show at Anfield
From ESPN - February 24, 2018

LIVERPOOL -- Three points from Anfield as Liverpool wrap up a comfortable 4-1 win over West Ham.

1. Liverpool wrap up easy win

Liverpool are gaining serious momentum as they enter the business end of the season. A convincing victory on Saturday moved Jurgen Klopp's side up to second in the Premier League, for the time being at least. Manchester City may be out of sight at the top but finishing runner-up, while participating in the Champions League's final stages, remains a very realistic possibility for Liverpool.

Liverpool took their season's goal tally to over 100 in all competitions as the fearsome trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane all scored against West Ham. Emre Can brought up the century when he broke the deadlock in the 29th minute.

The fact that this is a weekend on which Liverpool's rivals either do not play in the league or take points off each other heightened the importance of a win. A slip-up, however, would have opened up the chance of Liverpool being down in fifth by the end of play on Sunday.

Liverpool recently enjoyed a 10-day break, including a warm-weather training camp in Spain, to prepare for this game. Any concerns the gap would lead to a sluggish start were put to bed inside three minutes, when Salah struck the post. From that point on, it looked like West Ham would just be trying to hold on for as long as they possibly could. But against the run of play, the visitors very nearly took the lead with Marko Arnautovic's lovely lofted shot outside the area that was slightly diverted onto the crossbar by Loris Karius.

Liverpool eventually did make their pressure tell. They took a deserved lead close to the half-hour mark in simple fashion when Salah's corner was met with Emre Can's header inside the six-yard box to bring up the 100th goal.

Then, a five-minute period in the second half saw Liverpool race into a 3-0 lead. First, Salah netted his 31st goal of the season with a clinical finish before Firmino rounded Adrian to tap into an empty net. West Ham substitute Michail Antonio made an instant impact as he pulled one back for the London side, but it was not a case of Liverpool shutting up shop and holding onto what they had.

Mane atoned for an earlier miss with a delicate finish over Adrian in the 76th minute as Liverpool remained in complete control until the three points and a night in second place were confirmed.

2. Can Liverpool finish higher than fourth?

West Ham's Patrice Evra would probably have preferred to have been eased back into the Premier League having returned on Feb. 7 with a free transfer. Instead, the 36-year-old's debut saw him have to contend with Liverpool's high-flying forward line that has been the main contributor in the team's three-figure goal tally for the season.

While none of them brought the century up, that front trio have been the main source for this season's goals, and their total will inevitably rise considerably with well over two months of the campaign left.


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