For match photos, scroll to PHOTOSTREAM above left; for stats click on the stats tab. Manager reaction below.
In-form striker Luis Suarez scored again as Liverpool beat West Ham United 4-1 at Anfield to go second in the Barclays Premier League table.
A Guy Demel own goal put Brendan Rodgers' side in front just before half-time and France defender Mamadou Sakho scored his first Liverpool goal just after the break. Martin Skrtel's own goal gave West Ham hope, but Suarez struck 10 minutes from time for his 14th Barclays Premier League goal of the season. The Uruguayan then saw his shot deflect in off Joey O'Brien to seal the Reds’ fifth successive home win, a run in which they have scored 20 goals. West Ham also had captain Kevin Nolan sent off for a late challenge on Jordan Henderson as their wait for a first win at Anfield for 50 years continues.
Liverpool were without Daniel Agger due to illness, so Sakho made his first start for over a month. West Ham manager Sam Allardyce reacted to his side's midweek defeat at Crystal Palace on Tuesday by bringing in Demel, George McCartney, Modibo Maiga and Matt Jarvis.
Maiga nearly opened the scoring in the 20th minute, when Jarvis picked him out with an inviting cross. The Mali striker's powerful header was bound for the net, but goalkeeper Simon Mignolet produced a fine fingertip save.
The home side dominated the first half, but struggled to break West Ham down, with Raheem Sterling failing with a great opportunity five minutes before the break. Suarez picked the England forward out with an incisive through-ball but Sterling lacked composure and his right-foot finish rolled wide.
However Liverpool did get the breakthrough in the 43rd minute when goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen palmed Suarez's shot against Demel and into the net. Suarez could have doubled his side’s lead soon after, but he shot wide with only Jaaskelainen to beat after great work from Sterling.
The Anfield crowd saw their side double their advantage just a minute into the second half as Steven Gerrard's free-kick was met by Sakho and although the defender scuffed his shot, West Ham defender James Collins was unable to keep it out as he desperately attempted to clear.
The Liverpool captain was forced off due to injury 10 minutes into the second half, but his side were in complete control as the Londoners struggled to cope with the Merseyside team's passing and movement.
Sterling fired over from six yards after Jordan Henderson had picked him out 61 minutes in, and, less than a minute later, Jaaskelainen made an outstanding reflex save to deny the winger. Allardyce’s side were given a lifeline as Jarvis headed across goal and Skrtel turned the ball into his own net with 24 minutes to play.
Suarez gave Liverpool breathing space with a header 10 minutes from time though, and then Nolan was given a straight red card for a foul on Henderson.
A difficult afternoon for West Ham was rounded off when another Suarez shot was deflected in off O'Brien in the 84th minute.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers: "I was delighted with the victory. There were lots of elements with the performance I was very pleased with. You look at the game last year [a goalless draw against West Ham] and we never really created chances, but you look [in Saturday's match] we had 29 attempts and could have easily doubled the number of goals we had.
"We worked our socks off, we had a spell at 2-0 where it could have gone to four or five, we then conceded the own goal but our response from that was brilliant. We had control of the game and had to defend a lot of long and direct balls into the box, but technically we held up and eventually that won through.
"We are not perfect, but we are a team that is still growing an evolving. We are scoring goals, when we came in that was a big issue. We will always want to improve and have that mentality not to concede, but it was a really good victory against a strong and committed team."
"I wouldn't swap Suarez for anyone, I get the chance to work with him every day and what he gives to training and the team is a relentless desire. When you have that in a player you don't want to let him go and it's been an absolute privilege to work with him. It's never always been smooth sailing of course, but it never is but we've got a strong relationship."
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce: "The sickener for us was the way we conceded the first goal. We gave it a good go, but then the third goal killed us off. Nothing seems to be going for us at the moment."
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|12 Jan 2014||v Stoke (A)|