Liverpool took a huge step towards Champions League qualification as goals from Daniel Sturridge – on his first Premier League start since January – and the magnificent Philippe Coutinho helped them claim a comprehensive 4-0 victory at West Ham.
Sturridge had not started a top-flight match for Jurgen Klopp’s side since featuring in a 2-2 draw with Sunderland on January 2, but displayed the clinical edge Liverpool have at times lacked in front of goal with a superb run and finish midway through the first half at London Stadium.
Prior to Sturridge’s strike, it was Reds who had gone closest to opening the scoring when Joel Matip’s header struck the woodwork, though the visitors were fortunate that Andre Ayew did not restore parity on the cusp of half-time.
Ayew’s poor finishing was duly punished, Coutinho taking matters into his own hands with two terrific solo efforts in the space of four second-half minutes, although the second one came with a hint of controversy.
Georginio Wijnaldum, who had hit the crossbar in the build-up to Liverpool’s second goal, clearly handled in his own area – inflicting injury on Winston Reid in the process – but referee Neil Swarbrick played on, with Coutinho netting 21 seconds later.
Divock Origi added a fourth late on as Liverpool ran riot to seal a win that represents the perfect response to Saturday’s victories for top-four rivals Manchester City and Arsenal and moves the Reds up to third, while a difficult debut season at London Stadium for West Ham came to a dismal end.
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